It’s the world’s biggest building site, a tank of petrol costs under a tenner and your salary comes tax-free

Who’s out there

Who isn’t? If you aren’t, you should probably be asking yourself why not.

Who you need to know

Nakheel, Emaar, TDIC and Aldar are the main clients. But in Dubai, anyone with a traditional headdress and a bank account is worth meeting. Middle Eastern clients are as professional as the clients in the UK.

Where the action is

Dubai is the world’s largest building site and Abu Dhabi isn’t far behind. Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah have serious potential – not to mention oil money.

What to do

Eat with your clients – the communal meal is a focal point of Arabic culture.

What not to do

Never eat, drink or smoke in front of Muslims during Ramadan. At best it is considered offensive and at worst it can get you arrested.

Down time

Go shopping, go skiing, go to the beach or go to the gym. Don’t expect much in the way of traditional culture in the city centres.

Fashion dos and don’ts

Dress conservatively in front of Muslim hosts, and more so if you intend to visit a mosque.

How far will your money go

When you’re buying petrol, far – it costs less than £10 to fill your car. But for drinks and food in chic Dubai hotels, expect to pay London prices.

Free and easy

If you’re working in the Emirates full-time, you will do so tax-free.

Going down

Not on Jumeirah Beach you shouldn’t, unless you want to face a sharia court.

Useful phrases

“?????? ???? ??? ??????” (The traffic here is dreadful); “??? ?????? ???? ????? ?????” (I can build one taller).


Vaccinations required
None beyond your routinely recommended vaccinations

Foreign Office advice
Official advice is that there’s a high risk of a terrorist attack in the UAE, but more than a million UK visitors went there last year with few significant problems

Emergency phone number
The British Embassy: 971 2 610 1100 (Abu Dhabi) or 971 4 309 4444 (Dubai)