Quick Guide for Expat Women relocating to the UAE
Relocating can be a difficult challenge, whatever the locale. At Cavendish Professionals we recognise that moving to an entirely new country can present some interesting challenges, and that a helpful guide can go a long way to making the transition as smooth as possible.
The UAE is known as a region of endless opportunity, people are enticed by the beautiful weather, the tax free salaries and a great work/life balance. Though many expat women are excited about the change moving will bring to their lives, they sometimes have concerns about living in a Muslim country. This is why it is essential to understand the Arab Culture and how it influences working women. If you are a professional woman looking to move to the Middle East, then this guide is for you!
Known as one of the most liberal of the Gulf countries, the UAE openly embraces different faiths and cultures. In 2014, the total population numbered 9.5 million people, with expats from over 150 countries making up to 85% of the population. Multi-national diversity is considered to be one of the region’s biggest strengths. Local people are kind, pleasant and interested in other cultures just as you would expect from any metropolitan country.
The UAE is one of the most secure countries in the world with a crime rate of 1.5%. It has been announced twice as the world’s safest holiday destination by the international travel industry. It is not surprising that most of the expats we speak to feel safer there than they did back in their home countries. The police force may also surprise you, with Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bentleys forming part of the police convoy!
3. Respect for women
The UAE ranks first in the world for treating women with the most respect, according to a study comparing development and well-being among all 132 nations of the world. As reported by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, women in many sectors have been able to contribute more than men because UAE society gives women a supportive environment to achieve their full potential.
4. Dress Etiquette
Expat Women are not expected to wear a traditional hijab, cover their faces or hair except in mosques. It is considered respectful to cover the shoulders and knees while in public as these are parts of the body which are sensitive to Muslim culture. Revealing, short or very tight clothes are not appropriate and you risk offending the local Emirati residents. When visiting government facilities, you are expected to dress more conservatively. Beach and night clubs are another matter – you can wear your one or two piece swimsuit at the beach or by the pool. In case you are dressed inappropriately, you may be approached by a guard, a local lady or even an expat to advise you – in which case, it would be best to apologize and pop into a nearby shop for something to cover up with. Remember that respecting local sensibilities/ values shows your understanding of the culture – it will be appreciated.
5. Night Life
There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the UAE nightlife. You can select from sophisticated champagne lounges to western style saloons. Purchasing and consuming alcohol in a licensed restaurant, club or bar is legal for Non-Muslims, but it is illegal in public. An exception to the latter is Sharjah, the only “Dry Emirate”, where alcohol consumption is not permitted. You will have the chance to enjoy the lively, sociable atmosphere in a number of piano and jazz bars or in a local night club with local singers, belly dancers and musicians.
Did you know?
- Women in all 7 Emirate countries are allowed to rent and drive vehicles.
- Administration buildings have special ‘’ladies’’ areas
- English is the principal business language.
- The weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.
- If you use the underground, there is a special carriage for ladies and children.
- You can come across ATMs which dispense gold bars!
- Only Dubai has more than 70 shopping centres, along with the world biggest shopping mall, consisting of 1,200 shops.
- The UAE has sunshine all year around.
- The UAE boasts the first ski slope in Middle East which produces 6,000 tons of snow a day and features 5 ski runs.
- The UAE is home to most of the date palm trees on the planet. According to the Guinness World Records, they hold about 42 million date palm trees
Get in touch with us today! We will assist you in finding your perfect fit and guide you through the whole process.