Moving and Working in Dubai

DUBAI – a once vast desert turned into one major metropolis in the world. It’s the home of the tallest building on earth, the Burj Khalifa and the spectacular seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab. It attracted vast population of tourists and workers for sights of majestic and extraordinary structures and for a venture of a better life.

However, the decision of coming here takes a lot of thinking and discernment. Living and working abroad are never easy. It takes a courageous mind and a willing heart to be here and it demands 101% determination and drive. In my personal side, I was more than decided to come here for personal reasons. My drive was too strong that I was so willing to undertake all possible circumstances that would come my way – may they be good or not, I was more than eager to face them nevertheless.

When I got here in Dubai, I had several observations and personal experiences that I would like to share. Some of which were good experiences yet some of them were inevitably unpleasant. When you are back home, enjoy and savor its comforts and security. It is true that living abroad is super convenient but there can never be any other place like home. Before coming here, consider thinking twice especially if you do not have families, relatives, and friends around.

The ones that I will share don’t necessarily hold true to all. These my own observations and experiences and of my very close friends.


  • Purchases are very convenient, you can pay thru cash or debit or credit cards.
  • Major shops and stores have card machines. You don’t have to withdraw and bring cash all the time.
  • There are so many malls for shopping. The Dubai Mall is huge that I have to walk a lot and I need days to fully visit the shops.
  • There are a lot of tourist attractions and packages to choose from. They are usually found online and in newspapers. I usually browse Groupon, Cobone, and HittheDeals.
  • If you like to buy something, almost everything’s online, you can pay online and items are mostly delivered at home or at work – It is hassle-free!
  • When you open accounts in banks, agents are the ones coming in the office. I remember when I was still working back home, I need to personally go to the bank and open my account. I needed to fill up bunch of papers and sign a lot! I needed photocopies of all clearances and certificates and photos. Here, two signatures and my self are all what it takes.
  • Loan options and interests are better. You can really invest or save if you really want to. I have friends with a minimum salary of 5,000 dirhams who took bank loans and purchase house or lot (in cash) in the Philippines. Payment can also be on salary deduction. If compared to Philippine lending centers, you can only get around two hundred thousand pesos of loan and pay for twenty five years!
  • “Sale” is almost everywhere and it’s happening most of the times.
  • Almost everything’s branded and you can easily get them. High-end brands back home are very expensive but these brands are usually not a big deal here ‘cause they are more affordable.


  • We live in apartments or villas.
  • Generally, Filipinos here are living in shared apartments called as “partitions” or “bedspace”. It is a lot cheaper but privacy may be compromised. These conditions also entail sharing in bathrooms, kitchen, and other common living areas.


  • If you’re lucky, some companies provide company vans or buses as one of the benefits.
  • Others go for “car lift” and pay monthly.
  • Others go for buses and metro (train). Fare is relatively cheap.
  • If you don’t want the congested life in the Metro, opt to ride a taxi.
  • If you’re settled, it’s encouraged to buy a car. License is very technical and hard to obtain but once gained, it is valid not only here in Dubai but in other countries as well.


  • Food is everywhere. Filipino groceries exist. They sell pork, beef and chicken. Here, we can even buy cheese curls, cheese wiz, piatos, tender juicy hotdogs, etc.
  • Varieties of food to try on: Indian, Italian, Pakistani, Arabic, Filipino, Indonesian, name it all!
  • Food is generally available and affordable.


  • Brace yourself! You’ll meet the most ideal person from novels and the worst person ever created!
  • You just have to be here to see for yourself.


  • I say 99% is through online application. Prepare your updated CV (Curriculum Vitae).
  • Companies will either call you thru mobile or send you an e-mail together with their location map for your scheduled interview.
  • Once your interview goes well, you’ll be hired right away.


  • Vacation: It can be annual, 3 months, 6 months, or every 2 years, it depends on the company that you are employed with.
  • Airfare: Round-trip fare can be free. In other companies, only one way ticket is free. For some, no tickets will be provided.
  • Company: In our company, we are provided health insurance which can also be used in the Philippines. For good companies, they are systematic and organized. You only have to work within your description. For instance, in my company, there are six people in Accounts department. All works that concern about finances are divided accordingly. One does the payroll, the other does the payables, the other does the GRN (Good Receipt Notes), and the like. For some other small companies, one person does them all. If you would ask me how did I land on this company, I would say that it was through chance and A LOT of prayers. You can choose while applying for a job provided that you have much money for your daily expenses but always pray to land for stable companies and kind bosses.


For some ambitions which are not granted back home, you can pursue them here. For example, I am in dire of writing. I can go through classes here which will only take 1-3 days or few months. They’ll give me certificates then I’m good to apply as fresher on companies. Of course, I need to present some outputs that prove my skills but the point is I don’t need to study for 4 years. I just have to attend these classes, show what can I do, and I’ll be hired.

Now, I like to share two sides:

The Not-so-good Side


  • Male
  • 26 years old
  • Graduate in Accountancy
  • with MBA
  • 3-5 year-experience as Accountant in PH

Applying for a job:

  • He has 1-month Tourist Visa (not extendable).
  • It took him too long to find a job.
  • He can land into another field like sales (being a salesman in a company or in a mall).
  • For some who wants to stay abroad, they’ll go for low-paid jobs. For those who want to quit, they go back home.

What is “exit”?

  • Once visa expires, he has to leave Dubai (we call it exit). Usually, exit is done in Oman or in other country.
  • In this case, he had to exit in Kish Island.
  • Let’s say he is hired the last minute. His company told him that he has to exit in Kish for 4 days. But it was prolonged for a month. Yes, it happens! Worse, Kish has poor signal and you just can’t contact your friends in Dubai as often as possible.
  • When he comes back to Dubai, he is asked to pay for his exit thru salary deduction.

The Better Side


  • Male
  • 26 years old
  • Graduate in Accountancy
  • with MBA
  • 3-5 year-experience as Accountant in PH

Applying for a job:

  • 1-month Tourist Visa
  • He finds a job on the third week.
  • He will not extend anymore. If ever he extends for another month, his employer will shoulder all expenses.
  • His job is well-paid and is within his field of specialization.


  • He will just have AtoA exit. It means airport-to-airport exit. It is usually done in Kish and Oman. He has his employment visa already so he will just go out from Dubai and come back right after and show his employment visa to the Immigration Officer.
  • All expenses are shouldered by the company.

Imagine others who risk a lot by themselves without any families and friends here. Others did not survive but others became very successful. Coming here takes your CHOICE, WILL, COURAGE and A LOT OF PRAYERS!!! 

“For one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” -Acts 17:26-27

If you are really determined, come and be positive. Greener pasture is promised. For those who doubt, pray and ask God for guidance. If Dubai is for you, it will be for you. If not, then it will never be.

This article is published by MM in Dubai on her personal blog last June 20, 2015.

Published by MM in Dubai

MM in Dubai is a SPED teacher by profession. She is also a Content Writer and Blogger based in Dubai United Arab Emirates.

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