Job Seeker Alert: Important Things To Consider Before Applying for a Job in Dubai

job search

Just after I came back from vacation, I received a bunch of emails from readers of this blog asking how to go about finding/landing a job in Dubai so I thought I’d share some important things to consider before you hop on that plane!

Do share your job seeking tips in the comments.

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The UAE witnesses the arrival of thousands of expatriates every year. Most of these expats come searching for job opportunities in Dubai. However, before applying for a job an expat must acquaint himself with ways of this dynamic city. The following points will help all job seeking expats get familiar with the region and understand what it takes to apply for jobs in Dubai.

1. The time of the year

desert summer

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Ideally, you should start exploring your options between the months of September and May (barring December). This is the best time for job hunting in Dubai. You must avoid carrying out your search in the months of December, June, July and August as the big bosses, who are also the key decision makers when it comes to recruitment, are usually on vacation.

Important days and events like Ramadan, Moharrum-ul-Haram should also be avoided for job search as most Mu’mineen businessmen would be travelling and will be unavailable to interview you.

2. Duration of your stay

Most expats come to Dubai on tourist visa, seeking to find a good job within a month. This doesn’t always help as one month is not adequate to find a relevant and well-paying job. You should try and visit Dubai on an extendable visa so that if required you can extend your stay (maximum of another 30 days + 10 days grace period before you should exit the country).

3. Medical Tests

In case you have been a patient of a serious infectious disease like tuberculosis, you could be disapproved for a work permit and residence visa. Despite receiving an employment visa, you will be asked to return home once your medical test results are out. The UAE government screen applicants for HIV (Aids), Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis. So, there is no point wasting time, money and energy when you know you will be denied the chance of living and working in Dubai.

4. It is not very easy to switch jobs

It may be easy for you to switch from a banking job in London to a banking job in Dubai. You may even manage to land yourself a better pay package. But switching jobs isn’t a walk in the park in Dubai. The same ease of transition may not be felt when you move from one job to another within Dubai. This happens due to the rules of sponsorship. So before you grab an opportunity provided to you, make sure you consider it for a long term (at least 2 years to be exact).

5. Working on your visit visa is illegal

office work

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Do not try to work when you first arrive on a tourist or visit visa. You may find some traders asking you to work for them just to evaluate your performance. Do not fall for it as even though some of them may be genuine, others could be using you only as a temporary replacement. They will use your services for the time being and will leave you in the lurch as soon as their permanent employee comes back from vacation. You would be left jobless and wouldn’t have the time to find a new job either. To top that, it is illegal in work on a tourist visa.

6. Optimize the available resources

Professional networking sites like LinkedIn have always proved to be useful for job seekers. Use them wisely and you can get in touch with some significant people who may have good leads. There are also some effective job search portals that you can register on to find contextual openings. However, avoid recruitment agencies that demand payment for registration as they are likely to be scams.

7. Enhance your skills beforehand

Every job requires a certain set of skills. Today, the most basic skills for a job in a good company include proficiency in MS Office and email. Make sure you learn these before applying for a job. In case you are not well-versed with them, it would be cheaper to learn them in countries like India or Pakistan or Philippines, if you happen to hail from there. If you do, you can enrol in a proper course back home to brush up your skills. You can do the same to improve your English as that is the business language in Dubai.

8. Contact recruiters in advance

It is wiser to carry out research and activate your network of family, friends and acquaintances way before you arrive in Dubai. Pre-planning gives you an edge over other expats who are unaware and struggling. It will save you precious time and will let effectively search for work from day one. Most job seekers fall into the holiday mode and keep a relaxed approach when they arrive. Do not waste even a single day! Remember to focus on the job search as soon you reach. You don’t want to be making frantic calls a few days prior to your visa expiry.

9. The question regarding your expected salary

job interview

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To answer this question, you ought to understand your skills and put a value to them. Most employees will ask you for a figure of expected salary. Do not demand a package on the basis of your need to lead a good life. You should base it on the actualities of the labor market in the country. So understand the job market and evaluate yourself. A very small figure can decrease your perceived worth to a potential recruiter, while if you quote a very large amount your resume won’t even be considered for the interview.

10. Attested certificates and documents

When you finally manage to get a job, your new company will require attested certificates and other documents to apply for a visa. The attestation process takes up to six weeks or even more. If you are confident that will land yourself a job in Dubai, then remember to keep your documents organized and attested.

Now I have this article to attach in the email for every “how do I go about looking for work in Dubai?” email that I get!


  1. I’ve realized loads of things about job hunting experience in Dubai:
    1.) Sad reality, your nationality counts, in terms of compensation.
    2.) Local experience does too. So if you do not have any local /Middle East experience, you should be open to start from the bottom to try to get a little work experience of the market.
    3.) Make sure you do your homework in knowing costs of living in Dubai as this is part will really help you discern if the job would be worth it.

    Its all about your comfort level and expectations.



  2. I’ve read forums and artices about jobseekers being immediately deported after being found to have lung scar tissue when they had TB 7-8 years ago. Is this always the case? Or is it possible to avoid this by getting an autheticated medical certificate from the UAE Embassy in Manila? Many thanks.



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