This article was written by Kim Cristian. Kim is a freelance writer specialising in all things expat. Having spent many years living and working overseas, Kim has built up the insights and experience for the expat advice found on her blog. When moving to the UAE from the UK, you need to plan your accommodation, visas, employment and the bigger details of this life-changing move. You can prepare easily for all the above by looking online, checking forums or reading our guide to the cost of living in the UAE as a UK expat. However there are cultural differences that you will only truly understand when you arrive, the funny quirks or norms that you should prepare for when you plan to move to the UAE from the UK.CurrencyFair specialise in being transparent and fair at all times – like when we are sending money overseas. See how much you can save when using CurrencyFair for your money transfers.
Differences to life in the UAE for a British expatThe UAE shares many similarities with the UK. Both are business hubs, home to a host of international companies in a country that boasts beautiful landscapes with diverse cultural attractions and activities. However there are some differences that a British person will have to adjust to if they are moving to the UAE.
I don’t like SundaysThousands of expats in the UAE have moved there for a better salary and to avail of new job opportunities, however the UAE “working week” will also take some getting used to. In the UAE, the working week is Sunday to Thursday. So Sunday is the new Monday and your Friday night out will now take place on Thursday meaning TGIF, is now TGIT. But it does also mean you are off work to drop into the all day brunches held in expat hubs throughout the UAE (which we look at later).
Wear sunscreenEuropeans from colder climes will have a big adjustment to make when they bare their limbs and expose themselves to the UAE sun. A major adjustment to life as a UK expat in the UAE is the heat, as temperatures can climb to above the 40 degrees mark. If it reaches 50 degrees, the labour law states that workers have to stop working. With year round sunshine and temperatures reaching 40 degrees and above, you will have to adjust to applying a generous layer of a high factor sunscreen every day if you move to the UAE from the UK.
Should I stay or should I go nowAn extension period of 5 years has been announced for expat retirees who wish to stay longer in the UAE. Expats who relocated to the UAE mid-career, may not have kept a home in the UK and are now planning to retire. However when they analyse the uncertain condition of the property market in the UK, they might be deterred from moving home just yet. These proposed new visa laws are welcomed by long-term UAE expat residents who can continue to enjoy the life they have built overseas while they plan their next steps. To qualify for the new over-55s visa in the UAE:
- Expats must own a real estate investment of at least AED 2 million
- Have savings of more than AED 1 million
- Or prove income of at least AED 20,000 per month.