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Expat kids in Dubai have no access to free or government-sponsored schools. There are more than 130 private schools in Dubai, many of which specifically cater to the large English-speaking expat community that has moved to the emirates.
A lot of schools follow the British education system and teach the National Curriculum of England in primary school, At the senior level schools offer IGCSE and A Level qualifications. Even for international schools in the UAE, expat kids will be required to study Arabic and follow Islamic studies or UAE social studies. In some cases only a basic level in Arabic is required, while at others an A Level is required.
Almost all the schools in Dubai adhere to high standards, but there approach can be very different Expats must consider what kind of learning environment will best suit their child and what their priorities are in choosing a school. That said, many private schools in Dubai offer a level of education to prepare students for any university in the world. The Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau publishes annual reviews of all private schools in Dubai, and reports published on its website are a good place to start when choosing a school.
Popular choices for expat primary education are;
Top choices for expat secondary school in Dubai are;
For those expats with kids intending to study at tertiary level, there are several international universities in Dubai offering degree-level studies.
School admission requirements in Dubai:
Finding houses or rental accommodation in Dubai can be quite a challenge because of the ever increasing demand for good properties. The best approach to finding a house or an apartment to rent in Dubai is to visit a serious real estate agency. Here are a few real estate agencies you could visit:
Most leases and rental agreements are for one year in length renewable each year, or if you prefer, you can opt for a shorter lease resulting in a more expensive monthly rent. Water and electricity are usually paid separately from the rent. A deposit between 5,000 to 10,000 DHS is compulsory. This must be paid either by the tenant or his sponsor to cover any potential damages. Note that you will have to pay a finder's fee to the real estate agency. Finally, whilst 5% local tax is applied to the annual rent a facilities maintenance fee (service charge) is usually included in the rent.
If you intend to live and work in Dubai, a work visa is essential. You must get a work contract or a valid job offer before applying for your residence visa
The work visa is a multiple-entry visa: you can always leave and re-enter the country without extra formalities. You must get a work contract or a job offer from a local company or a foreign company based in Dubai to qualify. Your employer in Dubai (the sponsor) has to start the procedure by requesting a work visa for you at the department of immigration.
When you have your labour card, you have to apply for a residence visa which is valid for 3 years and it is renewable. A residence visa is essential for foreigners settling in Dubai. The residence visa is issued by the immigration office in Dubai and it is not related to consular services of your country. To get a residence visa, you must prove that you live in Dubai (lease or rental agreement). Note that your residence visa will allow you to sponsor your dependants.
With the mission entry visa you can stay in Dubai for up to 14 days. The visa is often used by businessmen, company representatives, engineers or doctors sent on an urgent mission to the UAE, and may be delivered to a local sponsor at the immigration services at the airport. Fees apply.
Visitors that are asked to proceed for eye screening are required to present a hard copy of their visa or a printed version of the visa number confirmation page at the screening counter. If you don’t have a copy with you, you will get a charge of AED 30 and you can only pay it in AED.Please note that visa, transit and entry requirements vary from country to country, and can change in a short amount of time. The resources listed on this page are intended as a guide, but please refer to the relevant embassy or consulate for the most recent information.
The cost of living in Dubai depends on your individual circumstances. The prices between different brands of food or different transport for example are very different. They range from very expensive to very cheap so you decide on what de cost of living in Dubai is for you.
If you live or have lived in a major European or North American city, then Dubai won’t have too many nasty surprises in store for you. And the surprises are likely to be of the pleasant kind, both culinary and financial.
Dubai has a number of big supermarket chains that you will quickly become familiar with. There are names like Carrefour, Spinneys, Waitrose, Choithrams and Géant wich will soon become second nature to many and feel like home. You’ll quickly establish your own particular favourite and the merits of who does what best are standard topics of conversation amongst expats.
The range of possibilities and costs can differ a lot. For example when you go to a high-end restaurant, and then drink a bottle or two of wine with the food that you have ordered, and then do the responsible and sensible thing and take a taxi home after your dinner and the bill for your night out could easily be AED 2000+. A number like that can be very expensive for some people, but for others it can be surprisingly cheap.
When it comes to gasoline prices, then get ready for a nice surprise. Normal petrol only costs AED 1.72 a liter.That is really cheap compared to major European countries. But now the car how much does that cost. Well many of you will be pleasantly surprised again about the prices.
You must have insurance. Some companies will allow you to choose your own medical insurer and they also will offer a set amount as a contribution. Others insist on employees using their group scheme.
There probably will be a company policy that you will have to follow. There may be different ranges of policy with the same insurer that you can choose from, and of course, these different policies range in there prices.
According to labour laws, you are entitled to a health card that gives you access to a limited range of hospitals and clinics that together make the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) facilities. This provides healthcare for the worker on lower salaries. Those who earn more can join a health insurance scheme offered by their employers.
Dubai has set up a health insurance requirement for all residents that will provide basic insurance for everyone. The new system will include current DHA facilities.
This new system will replace the health card system, and it will approximately cost AED 500-700 per year and it is estimated that it will provide health cover to a maximum of AED 150,000. This will be a benefit for lower paid workers, but for many people, this does not represent sufficient cover. Whether or not the cost of this health insurance is the responsibility of the employer or the employee is not yet entirely clear.
At the moment, if you do not have a health card, you will still have your health insurance provided by your employer. Companies provide this health insurance as part of your salary package, but not all companies do that. In some cases you will find that your employer will pay a contribution but the remainder is taken out of your salary, even though this is happens less often. Your best option is to check what any prospective employer is offering you and who funds the health insurance costs.
There are two ways to get a driving licence in Dubai.
If you already have a driver’s license. You can directly convert your license to a UAE driver’s license without having to take a road test. The approved list of countries can be found here.
Canadians require a letter from their Consulate in Dubai authenticating the driver’s license before it can be transferred.
People that hold a driver’s license from Greece, Canada, Turkey, Cyprus, Poland, Japan or South Korea have to have their licenses translated from their own consulates. All applicants will have to take an eye test.
You will need the following documents for conversion of the driver’s license:
Applicants have to make sure that there driving license from their home nation is valid and that the sponsor is a company based in Dubai. You can find transfer services at the Traffic Department driving license section in Al Qusais, which is only open from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Then you will have to fill in the application form, then get the relevant documents signed and make the payments after that, all approved paperwork will be sent to the Data Entry Counter. You will be called for your photo and after a short wait, will receive your new UAE and Dubai driver’s license.
If you don’t have a license from one of the countries that are approved, or you don’t have a drivers licence at all, you will need to take a driving course from one of the accredited driving schools in Dubai and take a test before you can get your driver’s licence.
Dubai will never resort to taxation to relieve debt, so in the years to come it is unlikely that we will see any income tax levied. But, if you are a tax resident of another country and you live in Dubai, you may be accountable to declare your income and pay taxation on it. For example, if you own a property in Dubai and you are a tax resident of the UK that you earn a rental income from, you will need to declare this income on your British tax returns and then you may have to pay tax on it. Also if you move to the UAE for 6 months to live and work here but you are still a tax resident of the UK; in this case you probably will have to pay UK taxes. Alternatively, if you move permanently to the UAE and are out of the UK for a full tax year, you may be able to earn a 100% tax-free salary in Dubai
Foreign gas or oil producing companies dealing in oil or hydrocarbon production within the UAE. The tax rates are generally 55% of the company’s operating profits, but they can vary based on individual agreements between the company and the emirate in which it is located. These agreements are usually secret and the rates can range from between 55% to 85%.
Offices of foreign banks operating in each emirate have to pay corporate tax, despite the fact this law is not enforced in all emirates. In Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah, foreign banks have to pay tax rates of 20% on their taxable income. From emirate to emirate there may be slight variations in the rate.
Additionally, there are no withholding taxes charged on companies who remit income outwards whether it is dividends, royalties or interest.