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UAE - tell me about living there and what is a good salary

(10 Posts)
DebratsEtiquette Tue 29-Nov-16 19:32:37

In very early stages of looking at a role. DH headhunted. Full relocation, housing, schools, health insurance covered. Currently expats elsewhere at moment with no need to move yet. What would a good salary be - just to check we're in right ball park and not waste their or our time. Also, we know absolutely nothing about the area. Is it safe? Will we find it restrictive? We actually know a number of people who have lived there but don't want to put the rumour mills to work as it's such early stages. Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

Vagabond Wed 30-Nov-16 15:18:07

Best advice is to go to expatmums.com - it's a Dubai-focused group but also includes info on Abu Dhabi.

The most important thing is getting your kids into a good school close to where you would live. This seems to be problematic for a lot of people. A good salary is hard to say - it really depends on what is covered by your sponsor. I know people who live on 30k DHS a month up to 110 DHS a month. I'd say anything 50-60 is average.

DebratsEtiquette Wed 30-Nov-16 15:39:31

Thanks for this. Schooling will be a priority focus - do many people choose to educate in the UK and have only DH work/live there or is that unusual?

GreenOranges Wed 30-Nov-16 18:16:23

Nearly everyone I know educates their children here. Depends somewhat on how old your children are when you move I guess. People with teenagers may choose to leave them in the UK at boarding school rather than move them. Secondary schooling is expensive here.

Housing allowances can vary a great deal. There is a huge range of properties and prices here. 2 bed apartment from 80K to familiy villas in the region of 500K. Ideally you would want an allowance of about 200K. Many many companies no longer even give a housing allowance, so if you get one, great.

The UAE is safe and I doubt you will find it restrictive in anyway. Driving isn't much fun, but you get use to it. Try and live fairly near to the school. There are lots of new schools in the newer areas of Dubai and often traffic isn't as bad in these areas.

We love it here, but it's not for everyone. The UAE always gets a bashng on Mumsmet so I know most people don't respond to these threads as they often end badly. If you are on FB there are dozens on groups where people will gladly offer advice and help - British Mums Dubai is a good starting place.

DebratsEtiquette Wed 30-Nov-16 18:43:35

Thanks for the details - esp. Housing costs. We have a good deal at the moment and don't want to end up moving somewhere unless it's better than what we have (that sounds terrible, but it's true). I've heard friends really struggling to get their 7, 8 and 9 year olds into schools and had wondered about living in the UK with kids and DH living in UAE (still don't know where!) to avoid that problem. We could then visit at all the major holidays and he could visit us in between. Is that madness? The thought of being somewhere warm is appealing right now!

GreenOranges Thu 01-Dec-16 03:38:45

School places aren't really a problem these days. There are so many new schools opened (and more next September) that a lot of pressure has been removed. There will always be some schools that you can't places at unless you registered from birth or pay a huge company priority fee. The hardest years are the younger ones. By the time you get to yr 4 and above, more chance of getting a place.

GreenOranges Thu 01-Dec-16 03:45:17

One more thing, you could do split living and visit in the holidays, but you wouldn't actually want to come here in the summer as it's pretty grim. So that would leave you only Easter and Christmas, plus maybe half terms. This is a great place to live for children. Again, depends on age of child, a 14 yr old might not be keen to move, but primary aged children all seem to love it here. Very outdoor living, lots of beach time, swimming year round, friends from all nationalities, multi race/religion/culture is just accepted by children as it's just the norm.

DebratsEtiquette Thu 01-Dec-16 16:02:51

Thanks everyone. Will probably post again if things become a little more concrete. Good to know there are plenty of people there who like it and that school places not such an issue after Y4.

JoandMax Sat 03-Dec-16 06:29:20

There are so many new schools opened up in the last few years it's actually pretty easy to get into a good one now, especially if your DC are older primary and above.

We're getting ready to leave after 3.5 years here, for us it's been a fantastic place and I have felt very very safe and comfortable here. Personally I don't find the driving bad either but think I'm in the minority on that!!

Salary really depends on whether your housing and schooling are completely covered or just an allowance. Our school fees are around 100,000dhs a year for 2 primary DC and housing is just over 200,000dhs - that's for a 3 bed villa with a nice garden in a nice area but not particularly fancy.

If everything is covered I think 40k a month would give you a good lifestyle. It's expensive living here, our water/electric can be 3-4000dhs a month in summer, I easily spend 1250dhs a week food shopping, petrol is cheap but you end up doing a lot of driving!! Public transport isn't great unless you live right by a station so most families will have 2 cars etc. So it's important to factor all that in when looking at salary you're offered.

farfarawayfromhome Wed 14-Dec-16 08:54:52

i've lived in the UAE for ten years and absolutely love it. run my own business so have never benefited from the mythical and wonderful 'package', we pay for everything ourselves. it is an eye wateringly expensive place to live, especialyl when self-funded.

It would help if you could share your DH's industry and level - as we may well know a typical bandwidth for the role?

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