Living in the UAE for ex-pats: Pros and cons


The United Arab Emirates offers immigrants the opportunity to  start a business easily, low taxes, the right to obtain a residence permit for the purchase of the real estate, and other advantages that are associated with life and doing business. Therefore, 90% of the country’s 10.1 million population are foreigners. However, life in the UAE has not only advantages, but also some disadvantages, so it is worth it to study the facts and make a balanced decision to move.

Advantages of living in the Emirates

Living in the Emirates can offer such advantages:

  1. Stable economy. Since the exchange rate of the AED to the US dollar has not changed since 1997, the cost of goods is not subject to fluctuations.
  2. Stable increase in real estate prices. According to data compiled by Reuters, the price of real estate rose 11.3% in the first quarter of 2022. This suggests that all real estate investments will pay off.
  3. Low taxes for businesses. The tax levy system is quite tempting for businesses. For example, the tax on income received from 1 June 2023 will be only 9% for businesses whose profits exceed $102,000 (375 thousand dirhams). Most companies will be charged 5% VAT. By comparison, in European countries, this tax can range from 17% to 27%.
  4. High salaries. The average salary of specialists is $ 5,500 (20 thousand dirhams), and the employment contract may include the provision of a professional car, rent, medical insurance, etc.
  5. The best investments in the UAE for ex-pats. The Emirates creates the most favorable conditions for investment in a business, investment fund units, the stock market, real estate, and government funds. For example, the law “On Foreign Direct Investment” allows foreign investors to own 100% of the business. It’s also profitable to invest in real estate with the possibility of its subsequent letting (income up to 8.4% per year), there are mortgage programs, where the average interest rate is 3.5%.   

The disadvantages of living in the Emirates

The disadvantages of living in the Emirates can include:

  • strict Sharia law, impose a ban on eating in public places, drinking alcohol, hugging and kissing in public, etc. (applies to conservative Emirates);
  • not a simple procedure for obtaining a passport, but the disadvantage is offset by the status of the right of residence;
  • not everyone is suited to the climatic conditions, which are dominated by dry and hot weather.

The presented pros and cons of living in the UAE  confirm the advisability of moving, as the advantages far exceed the disadvantages.   

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