12 Pros and Cons of Living in Dubai

Updated On October 9, 2023

Dubai is the capital city of the Emirates of Dubai and the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It is known for luxury shopping, buzzing nightlife, and futuristic architecture. 

The city attracts thousands of ex-pats each year due to the many benefits of living in this metropolis.

This popular business hub is a wealthy state and is an international tourist destination for the rich and famous.

The question is: should you make the move to Dubai, or are there a few things you should consider before making the jump?


The Pros of Living in Dubai

In this article, we will list eight advantages for ex-pats wanting to make the move to this ultra-modern city, and the exciting opportunities that await them.

1. Dubai is tax-free

Possibly one of the most alluring features of the city of Dubai and the Emirates as a whole, is that it is completely tax-free.

This island nation does not produce anything.

Most items are imported and imports are tax-free as well.

The country relies on its oil production to sustain itself and uses its tax-free policy to attract global companies and skilled labor to its shores, thereby diversifying its labor market. 

It is considered to be a tax haven as there is no income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax, or even estate tax.

This is what makes this a true tax haven for foreign investors and those choosing to call Dubai their home.

Keep in mind though, that although you may be able to move here, you will not be able to gain permanent residence.

But you will be able to renew your visa indefinitely, provided that you meet the requirements.

2. There is a thriving and diverse ex-pat community

According to Globalmediainsight.com, as of 2021, the total ex-pat community in Dubai accounted for 8.84 million people.

These ex-pats are made up of both educated ex-pats as well as lower-income migrant workers. 

Dubai attracts ex-pats from various industries that come from all four corners of the globe.

It is estimated that the country attracts approximately 200,000 new expatriates each month.

Many of the ex-pats live in Al Bashara due to its proximity to major highways in the city. 

The country is home to over 192 nationalities, which means that you will more than likely find a few people from your home country living in a close-knit community in the Emirates.

Being an ex-pat has several benefits, such as broadening your social circles and contacts, learning new hard and soft skills, and becoming more cultured.

3. Advanced transportation system

According to Iunera.com, the Dubai metro is considered world-class.

The city has one of the most modern as well as cost-effective public transportation systems in the world.

In addition, the public transit system is the third-largest automated rail system globally.

The rail runs for 74.6 km and is fully automated for the entire trip, stopping at 49 stations.

Nine of the 49 stations are underground. 

The rail system is fully integrated with all other forms of public transport as each railway stop has electric escalators, is connected to a bus system, has lifts, and bicycle stands. 

When it comes to topping the list of what is considered the best in the world, the Emirates spares no expense and invests millions, if not billions of dollars, in the infrastructure of its public transportation system.

The systems are clean, well organized, and efficient. 

Because these systems are so well-established and organized, there is very little, if any, need to own a vehicle. Making this a top destination to migrate to. 

4. International cuisine

The country is a melting pot of cultures with over 192 different nationalities calling Dubai home.

And, as can be expected, you will find a very large variety of international cuisine that will cater to every tastebud. 

Whether you would like to taste Turkish cuisine, Irish food, British pub food, French cuisine, or simply try a world-renowned Gordon Ramsay pizza, you will find a restaurant in this city that caters to that market.

You will find cuisine here from every country in the world.

This is why Dubai is known as the food capital of the Middle East. 

And, with world-famous chefs flocking to the Emirates, you know that you are in for a treat.

The food is fresh, amazing, and tantalizing. 

5. Dubai has a strong economy

Finding work in Dubai is not a concern as the economy is the fifth-largest in the Emirates.

The country has a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$501 billion (AED 1.84 trillion). 

The government has formulated a strategy to secure the flow of income into the country through one of its main sources of foreign income, its tourism sector.

Dubai saw economic growth of 5.5% during the 2021 fiscal year and is expecting a projected growth of 4 – 4.5% in 2022.

Do not be fooled though, the job market is exceptionally competitive and you will want your resume to shine in order to stand out from the crowd, as recruiters typically spend six seconds or less perusing a resume due to the large influx of resumes.

Some of the most in-demand jobs in Dubai include:

  • Accountants
  • Recruitment and HR
  • Social media specialist
  • Engineers
  • Jobs in the legal sector
  • Admin assistants/data entry
  • Hospitality

6. Weather

Dubai is known for its hot subtropical desert climate.

The city has sunny weather for nearly 345 days of the year.

There are two seasons in this city: summer and winter.

The winter is described as mild and warm. 

The summer in Dubai starts during the last week of April and runs through the first week of October.

This period is very humid, hot, and dry.

The coldest month in Dubai is in January when the average temperature is around 68°F (20°C).

The good news about Dubai is that the city has made provisions for tourists and residents during the hot summer months.

The ocean temperature is ideal for swimming year-round, though it may drop, becoming slightly cooler during the winter months, from January through March to 23 °C (73 °F).

There are a plethora of indoor activities in temperature-controlled environments that residents and tourists can enjoy during the sweltering summer months. 

7. Vibrant social life

Dubai is known for having some of the best nightclubs in the world.

In addition, some of the most famous musicians and DJs often play in Dubai.

Social life in Dubai is not only diverse, it can be defined as exceptional as well.

It’s no wonder so many celebrities often go to Dubai to have fun.

The city is host to a plethora of international restaurants that offer some of the highest-rated cuisines in the world.

In addition, there are a variety of bars and clubs that ex-pats can join to meet new people and mingle. 

8. English is widely spoken

In the Emirates, Arab is the official language, but, due to the vibrant ex-pat community, English is also widely spoken in this country.

You will have no problem engaging with other ex-pats or even locals as everyone is fluent in the language. 

The Cons of Living in Dubai

Of course, no city is without its disadvantages.

Here are a few disadvantages to making the move to Dubai. 

1. The heat

While it may be an advantage to have more summer during the year than any other season, it can also get sweltering hot in the middle of summer, to the point where it is almost unbearable.

Dubai is in the Persian Gulf which means that the summer months can get scorching hot. 

Temperatures during the height of summer can easily exceed 43 °C (109 °F), while the sea temperature rises to an average of 37 °C (99 °F).

The warmest months in Dubai are July and August.

This may be almost unbearable for some and being forced to stay indoors as a result of the heat can feel quite limiting and confined to many. 

If you are not a fan of high humidity, you may not be able to adequately adjust to this type of climate, which may make Dubai more of a nightmare than a sought-after destination. 

2. Permits

As ex-pats living in a foreign country, you may find that you are exceptionally frustrated by the level of bureaucracy in this country.

You need a permit for nearly everything from driving a vehicle, purchasing alcohol, and getting/holding a job. 

This can cause all sorts of headaches for ex-pats as there are permits for nearly anything and everything. 

And, while this may still currently be a major disadvantage, the city is working towards becoming a smart city and doing away with bureaucratic structures by introducing a smartphone app that addresses public service needs.

3. Rent

The rent in Dubai can be pretty expensive in comparison to other metropolitan cities in the Emirates and around the world.

The average one-bedroom apartment, outside of the city center will cost you around AED 3,281.72 (USD 893.47).

 And that does not factor in other day-to-day expenses, which may mean that the cost of living in Dubai can accumulate rather quickly. 

In order to live a relatively comfortable life in Dubai, it is advised to earn an average salary of approximately $3,000 per month. 

4. Traffic

Dubai roads can get pretty congested around peak hours.

According to Arabianbusiness.com, Dubai is ranked 265th globally for traffic congestion. 

The cost of congestion may be noticed through lost working hours and the effect on residents through the inconvenience it causes. 


Pros and Cons of Living in Dubai – Summary Table

The Pros of Living in DubaiThe Cons of Living in Dubai
1. Dubai is tax-free1. The heat
2. There is a thriving and diverse ex-pat community2. Permits
3. Advanced transportation system3. Rent
4. International cuisine4. Traffic
5. Dubai has a strong economy
6. Weather
7. Vibrant social life
8. English is widely spoken

Dubai Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Dubai Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there crime in Dubai?

Crime is extremely low in Dubai due to its strict laws.

The city is one of the safest Middle Eastern cities in the Emirates.

What is the most popular tourist destination in Dubai?

Be sure to pay a visit to one of the malls in this city.

You will not be disappointed.

Which area in Dubai should I avoid?

Deira, one of the oldest districts in Dubai, is very poor and may pose a risk of crime.

What food should I try in Dubai?

Try the old-school schwarma, the kebabs, and the Indian food.

Is it safe to travel alone in Dubai?Is it safe to travel alone in Dubai?

Yes, it is perfectly safe.

The laws in Dubai ensure that the crime rate is exceptionally low in comparison to the rest of the world.

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