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A high foreign workforce forms the backbone of the UAE's economy, and it's a wonderful place to meet and work with many nationalities – as well as earn a tax free salary!

Working in the UAE

To work anywhere in the UAE you need to be aged 18 to 65 years, be sponsored by an employer, and have a residence visa.

Employment essentials

Expats can work in either the public (government) or private sectors; many companies in the private sector operate within free trade zones (FTZs), where foreigners can work, trade or establish their business under more relaxed laws. All companies are governed by UAE Labour Law, although there is a noticeable difference in salaries, benefits, holidays, annual leave, and end of service payments between the public and private sectors.

All-inclusive packages with accommodation and education allowances are not as common as they once were, although basic benefits still apply (such as annual flights home, health insurance and around 22 calendar days of annual leave).

The job market in the UAE remains a buoyant one with a continued demand for qualified professionals. Recent figures from recruitment giant Bayt.com indicate that engineering (27%), business management (24%) and commerce (23%) topped the list of most desirable qualifications among UAE employers. Meanwhile, the most attractive industries were perceived to be in banking and finance (34%), construction (33%) and oil, gas and petrochemicals (33%).

Setting up a business

The UAE is an exciting market full of opportunity. If you spot a gap in the market and fancy working for yourself, you can set up a business here.

Becoming your own boss requires meticulous market research, a strict and realistic business plan and responsive action to take advantage of fleeting openings in the market.

Legislation has been amended to aid the start-up process.

You would find all relevant information in Purely Business, an SME support platform.