What it’s like to work in the Middle East as an Expatriate

May 21, 2018 1:19 pm Published by


No one can deny the rapid development of the Middle East as an enticing place to both live and work. Looking at the opportunities it has been providing to grow, this doesn’t look like changing in the very near future.

The job market is buoyant with the UAE labour market creating jobs for more than five million people in 2017. Moreover, in 2018 so far we have seen the number of advertised job vacancies in the Middle East increase 25% between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018, according to the latest Middle East Jobs Index by recruitment firm Robert Walters.

Plus, as a region there has been increasing support offered and great investment made into the development of services, facilities and amenities specifically for expatriates who continue to arrive each week.

Whilst the high salaries and tax benefits are often the initial reason people move to the Middle East, it is the sunshine, beaches, safe living environment and the easy access to both Asia and Europe that makes them stay.

However, moving to work and live in the Middle East is not without its challenges. However, if you have the right information, are prepared well and are flexible in your thinking then being an expat in the Middle East can be the opportunity of a life time. According to the annual Mori/HSBS Expat Explorer Survey, children are more well-rounded and confident and with a wider and more diverse circle of friends.

So, what do you need to consider when residing in the Middle East as an expatriate?

The Middle East is an area of vast geographical, religious, cultural and ethnic diversity and the norms and practices vary greatly from the rest of the world. Therefore, it is essential that you take the time to educate yourself on the unique details and business practices.

It is vital to remember that although middle eastern regions share a common history and culture, there are also many differences in terms of their social outlook and approach to life, including work. Treating all Arabs the same will only show your arrogance and will get you nowhere.

Learning about the religion and culture of the area you are relocating to is very important as religion plays a very big role in every area of life in the Middle East and there are many religious differences area to area. In addition, learning at least a few words of the language is beneficial and shows a level of respect, and your efforts will be greatly appreciated.

Education is a key consideration for those with children and the Middle East offers some of the best standards of international education in the world. However, as expats need to enrol their children in private international schools; it is expensive, although salaries offered to expats often reflect this. Plus, whilst the schools can develop enhanced language and communication capabilities due to their international nature, they can create a ‘bubble’ existence for your children.

There are strict rules on behaviour, for example dress code and drinking of alcohol and punishments for any crime can be extreme compared to other areas of the world. Whist this strict culture can in many ways be a blessing as it makes for a very safe environment, it does mean following the rules at all times.

The weather has to be a consideration for expats as although the winters are lovely and mild; the summer heat in the Middle East can be oppressive with temperatures of 118°F/48°C.. The summer temperatures can make it impossible for children to play outside and it can feel like you are living in an air-conditioned world for a number of months a year.

Looking at the increasing opportunities and growth in Middle East, we can see more companies seeking to expand their operations and requiring more expats for the same. However, migrating to Middle East can be challenging if no expert assistance is provided prior and after the migration.

At IMS one world, we care about your business and to ensure that your business expats have smooth and hassle-free migration to Middle East, we hand hold them until they are settled in their new role.

To learn more about our Expatriate services and how we can help your business, go through our Expatriate services page for more information. To get started with our services, contact our manager at: info@imsoneworld.com

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