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DH has been offered a job in Dubai. What do I need to know?

(9 Posts)
ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Mon 18-Mar-13 12:49:48

We have two DC, 12 and 9, and a dog. What is the cost of living in comparison to the UK? How much rent can we expect to pay on a 3 bed place with a garden? Can I walk the dog anywhere? How safe is it (crime etc)? Sorry, lots of questions and no real clue where to start.

Isthiscorrect Mon 18-Mar-13 13:35:08

Ok. Don't panic. Do a search on living overseas there is plenty of info on here. Firstly you need a school. Secondly a villa, do you know where exactly dh will be working? Also when will you be moving over? Summer includes Ramadan (no eating or drinking in public), short hours in public offices like water elec, phones etc.
Does dh package include housing allowance? Is it paid to you or the landlord, some ll still ask for 1 years rent upfront. Don't move into one of those, generally they are money grabbers and you could have maintenance issues.
Will dh company give you an advance visit? The services of a relo agent? We can help with ideas or locations and schools but need more info from you. Also nearly everything requires upfront payments.. Check out for loads more info.
It's not too scary, in fact we have lots of fun ;-)

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 19-Mar-13 06:07:23

re the dog, that can be an issue. Dogs not allowed on the beaches or in many of the parks - this may have changed but check. They are really not allowed off the lead in many places at all. A lot of people drive out into the desert if they want to let the dog off for a proper run.

It's very safe in that there is very little street crime/ burglary etc. You don't need to worry about getting attacked/ you could leave your car unlocked and it's highly unlikely it would get nicked/ I used to leave my front door unlocked and go to Starbucks if I couldn't find my keys. There are quite a lot of RTAs because some people (esp. taxi drivers and locals) drive like maniacs.

What would you do in the summer? Would you return to the UK or stick it out (most expats head back but some do stay). If you go back, where will you stay?

Schools are fine- poor value by comparison with the UK private sector- but fine. Main complaint from parents is that the kids arent in them enough grin as they do seem to take every opportunity for a holiday. Massive uproar a few years back when it was decided that the schools might as well just stay shut for September due to timing of Ramadan.

JoandMax Tue 19-Mar-13 06:14:31

Lots of good points made above.

We have just rented a 3 bed villa with garden for 150k AED a year - it's nothing fancy, fairly standard size and design. That's in the Springs area which is a large residential area quite popular with expats.

Schools can be pricey and a faff to apply - you need to pay a 500 AED registration fee to even express an interest. These can really rack up with 2 kids so its best to get the company to agree these costs!

We had a relocation company provided to us who have sorted all shipping, found houses, sorted utilities, advised on visas etc which has been brilliant and I think we'd have struggled without it.

Mondrian Tue 19-Mar-13 06:19:28

Living expenses are quite high, I'd even say more than UK, schools are pretty expensive for what you get in return too. Weather is great for 6 months or so, bearable for 3 and unbearable for the remaining 3 but having said that everything is air conditioned (hotels, bars, restaurants, pools, malls) so just outdoors that becomes unbearable. Arabic year is shorter by some 10 days so all local holidays are brought forward by some 10 days every year including Ramadan.
It's a pretty safe place with lots of expats and personally I think you will enjoy it for a few years, just make sure you have something to go back to in UK when the time comes.

LadybirdsAreFab Tue 19-Mar-13 06:20:20

We are in Dubai, 11 years now. Came for 2 and still here. We are here for at least another 3 years.

On the matter of your dog, please check to see if it is on the list of allowed dogs. There was a list of dogs not allowed into the country. I will try and find the list.

There are companies that will help with bringing your dog into the country.

Schools are a priority, check if your children can get into a decent school. There are lots of schools but of varying quality. Try and get school fees included in his package, at senior level they can be about GBP 10,000 + per year and additional fees.

Once schools are sorted and you know where DH will be working, you can work out where you want to live.

We are in Mirdif, a 4 bedroomed villa with a decent garden & shared pool will be about GBP 25,000 (and more). This is considered one of the cheaper areas. On top of that you will have utilities, we pay for a 3 bedroom villa about GBP 150 per month for water & electricity. We are frugal with it and we (DH, me and DD) are out all day and we don't have a garden with grass. I know some people budget around GBP 500 per month.

There is also a 5% Municipality fee (like council tax) on the rental amount of your villa. This is split into 12 months and paid with your utility bill.

A great site to help with things is

Mondrian Tue 19-Mar-13 06:21:30

.... And you can still save a decent amount out of your salary.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Tue 19-Mar-13 07:48:32

Thank you for all the replies. So much to think about <head explodes>

Caulkhead Sun 28-Apr-13 11:45:14

Hi can't help with housing. We have two dogs and walking them on lead is no problem Dubai Cattery and Kennels brought they out from UK for us. expatwoman is full of good advice too.

Schools are heavily subscribed to, and fees not cheap - especially in 6th form. There's not much point if constantly converting back to sterling, because you're earning in Dirhams, so work it out more as a proportion of your salary than trying to compare with UK, same goes for shopping. Its a great place for children and we're very happy here after 6 years and two children of 14 and 12. Good luck with your choices.

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