Many job hunters still believe that the streets of Dubai are paved with gold. This may be true to some extent - Dubai is a tax free haven where net income is typically much higher than in other parts of the world. Even so, securing employment is not always easy. Approximately 80% of the population in Dubai consists of foreigners and competition for desired employment positions can be fierce. It is best to have an offer in hand from a company before traveling to Dubai. Of course this may not always be possible and there are certain advantages to traveling Dubai in hopes of finding a job as opposed to searching from one's home country. For example, many employers will give preference to hiring someone actually in Dubai (and thus available for an interview), rather than having to endure the extra hassle and risk of hiring someone sight unseen. However, there is no guarantee of landing a job before expiration of one's visa, making a bit of luck and local contacts invaluable in the process.
Once a job seeker has secured a position, a contract will be signed and the employer will act as the sponsor. The contract should include basic salary, job title and description, length of the contract, and termination conditions among other things. It is vital to negotiate a good package including salary, housing, and school fees if the employee has children. Other allowances may include coverage for medical, transportation, utilities, and / or annual vacation with an airplane ticket to one's home country. (The law stipulates that companies must provide a vacation / airplane ticket at least every two years). Each company is different and packages will vary. The work week also varies from company to company with some working straight shift and some working split shift (with a few hours break in the middle of the day).
The sponsor should handle all paperwork required by the government for foreign workers, including getting the employee an employment visa, health card, and labor card. A company's PRO (Public Relations Officer) will typically handle the logistics, ensuring all paperwork arrives at the necessary government offices for approval. First an employee's application is approved by the Ministry of Labor, then the employee undergoes a health screening, and finally all relevant documents are transferred to the Ministry of Interior who stamp the residence visa in the employee's passport. Employment visas are valid for a maximum of three years although they are renewable. In general, expatriate workers are not granted UAE citizenship or permanent residency. The Dubai government has taken steps to drive Emiratization of the workforce (stipulating that a fixed percentage of workers in certain industries must be UAE nationals and that all companies having 100 or more employees must hire UAE nationals as their PRO and/or Human Relations Manager). However, it is still believed that expatriate employees will make up a major part of the workforce in the UAE for years to come.
For those hoping to find jobs in Dubai, there are various avenues to take. There are several recruitment agencies with good reputations available to assist job hunters in their quest for employment, including long-standing companies such as Claredon Parker and Kershaw Leonard. As there are many recruitment agencies in operation, it is always advisable to do some research into their reputation and methods before using their services. Unfortunately it is not an uncommon occurrence for job seekers from poorer nations to drain their entire life savings paying unscrupulous agents from their home countries who falsely promise visas and jobs. Fortunately, recruitment agencies in the UAE are regulated and must be licensed, so the potential for scams in the UAE itself is greatly reduced.