12 - 2012

Setting up Banking, Finding Work & Getting a Visa for the UAE

The seven states that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are a thriving part of the world that play an important role in international business, tourism and finance. Significant investment in regions like Dubai and Abu Dhabi indicates that commerce continues to boom, particularly in cities where skyscrapers and glittering hotels are now the norm.

The UAE attracts a cosmopolitan expat community – apparently almost half of the resident population of Dubai City – who are drawn to the high standards of living, attractive taxes and impressive wages, alongside excellent education services and exciting shopping and entertainment opportunities. In other words, the UAE tends not only to attract a certain age group or income bracket, but people of all nationalities and abilities.

Before moving to the UAE, however, it’s important to plan things like banking, visas and employment. Getting a handle on the climate, language, culture, food and navigating the city is something that comes with time, but it’s important to arrange these essentials before packing up and getting on a plane.

Banks in the UAE:
There is no shortage of internationally recognised banks throughout the UAE that offer standard services. Few banks have global access links, however, and so it’s really important to choose a bank that has branches in your home country, particularly if you’re a frequent traveller or do business overseas. Have a look at the savings accounts with HSBC to find out more about expat banking in the UAE.

To open a bank account, you’ll need a residence visa or be able to show that your application for residence is underway. Getting a visa to live in a city like Abu Dhabi is quite straightforward, although it depends on your nationality and whether you’re moving to the UAE to take up work.

In some cases, employers apply for this visa on behalf of their employees, which can really expedite the process. It’s important to start researching this paperwork long before your flight dates as some nationalities are required to complete it before leaving their home countries.

You can research this information and find answers to your visa questions at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Chunky tax-free salaries are very attractive to experienced professionals, even though the cost of living has increased in the UAE in recent years. Local governments are encouraging companies to employ emirate nationals to white collar positions (this process is referred to as “Emiratisation”), and the influx of professionals to the Gulf has meant that there are fewer jobs than there may have been ten years ago. That said, there remain opportunities for people with diverse skillsets, available

through networking and word-of-mouth, so it pays to keep your eyes open.
Another resource that may be useful is Abu Dhabi, Complete Residents’ Guide, which according to its byline, is suitable for anyone from tourists to residents and can assist with setting up home, finding work and even discovering the best places to have a party!

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