Work and Travel in United Arab Emirates
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES FOR TRAVELLERS
The United Arab Emirates includes Abu Dhabi and Dubai, two of the most modern and rich cities in the world, and certainly the two Middle Eastern locales most open and accepting to foreign working travellers.
You’ve perhaps known someone who has gone to the UAE to earn money - and now you’re interested as well. But what should you know before making your way to these “cities of gold” in the Persian Gulf?
Read our travel guide below to find out everything you need to know about the Emirates.
1. Teach English in the UAE
These opportunities in the UEA typically require established qualifications. Unlike different parts of the world, you can’t just walk in and expect to find a job just because you’re a native English speaker. Like in neighbouring countries like Qatar, things are more formal here.
There is a big demand for native speakers, however, and if you apply through the correct channels you can stand to make more money teaching English here than nearly anywhere else in the world.
2. Work in retail or as a customer service professional
A lot of the appeal for tourists to come to Abu Dhabi and Dubai involves shopping and fashion. A lot of tourists find shopping for gadgets and apparel in Dubai less expensive since it is tax-free. Therefore, shopping centres and supermarkets never run out of need for retail associates and customer service professionals.
3. Work in bars or restaurants
This is another industry in which many working travellers already have experience. Like with teaching English, if you bring these skills to the UAE you’ll likely be making more money than you would be for performing the same work in Europe or North America.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Entry requirements to the UAE are in constant flux and can be quite complex depending on what type of visa you require. Always obtain the latest requirements from the UAE embassy in your home country. Free visas on arrival (either 30-day or 90-day depending on country) are available for passport-holders of 60 nations. Lonely Planet has an excellent list of entry and exit formalities and visa information for the UAE.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Spring in the UAE is warm by European standards. March is sometimes accompanied by intermittent rain, but there is little precipitation as the season continues. As one of the busiest seasons in the year, spring in the UAE is filled with events, from trade shows to entertainment and cultural happenings. This is a great time to begin if you are seeking work in event planning, or have skills in catering or theatre and music production.
As the hottest season of the year, midday temperatures average around 42 degrees Celsius. Malls and indoor theme parks often host cultural events and concerts throughout the hot season, but water parks and ice rinks are also popular.
Summer is therefore a great time to work and travel in the UAE if you are seeking to pick up work in retail or customer service, or if you have sports training experience to lead tourists through the water parks and ice rinks.
Autumn in the UAE is the start of the outdoor season, and residents typically use the period to take advantage of the country’s stunning beaches.
If you are in the country as a volunteer, now would be the time to seek opportunities to help with beach cleanups or conservation projects, such as supporting the endangered green turtles that are found along the coast of the Arabian peninsula.
The climate is the most welcoming in the UAE in the winter. Long drives and camping expeditions into the desert are common.
If you have tour guide experience or skills in sand-based sports such as ATV riding or sand surfing, winter will be the busiest season for you as a working traveller.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Rich in cultural heritage, the UAE is a place where tradition meets modernity. Living and working in the Gulf region you'll be able to explore Islamic culture but to avoid getting in trouble with the law you'll need to respect local laws and customs. There can be severe penalties for breaking these.
Also, there’s more severe punishment for skirting the rules when it comes to working “under the table.” So, make sure you are legally registered to work and travel or volunteer in the UAE before you arrive.
Tax-free income, affordability, safe environment, bureaucracy, world-class facilities, and the country’s multicultural approach are just some of the primary reasons that working travellers choose to come to the UAE.
Are you ready for an adventure in the UAE?
- Edited on Jun 15 2021 by Lily