Abu Dhabi – All about Living, Working & Lifestyle

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is one of the popular job destinations for expats. It lies on the borders with the Sultanate of Oman, the Arabian Gulf and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Largest of the seven constituent emirates of the UAE, the majority of its over 2.5 million population comprises of expats. Abu Dhabi creates a wealth of career opportunities in different industries providing its people with tax-free income.

Abu Dhabi’s booming job market attracts expat job seekers from across the world. Therefore, if you are one of them, securing a lucrative job can be highly competitive. To beat the competition, it is always recommended to know about the destination and job opportunities to prepare yourself clear any hurdle in your life as an expat in Abu Dhabi. Read more…


What is it like to live in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi is a land of several nationalities, which represents a thriving expat community. More job seekers are considering Abu Dhabi for living and working due to the numerous career opportunities, tax-free income, vibrant lifestyle, and several other reasons. Abu Dhabi’s culture reflects its commitment to hospitality and respect for others.


Here’s more that can help you take a clearer picture of living in the emirate:


Accommodation & Cost of Living:

Housing in Abu Dhabi can be a bit expensive depending on the location and size of the property. Apart from the sharp increase in rental prices, the cost of living is high especially when factors like private healthcare and International education are considered that take a larger chunk from your budget. In Abu Dhabi, there is a wide range of options for residential apartments, villas, studio apartments and high standard hotel apartments. According to the Abu Dhabi Law, expats can rent a house, but cannot own residential properties.

You can easily check the availability of accommodation on local newspapers or through registered brokers who can help you find a range of residential options at different prices. These options are convenient for expats who are not well-versed with Arabic language and are completely unaware of the foreign location.



Abu Dhabi gives priority to building a strong education system for all. Therefore, expats planning to stay with their families can find several reputed private schools, state and international schools, colleges and universities, and training facilities. In the Emirate, school is mandatory for all children aged between 6 to 12 years and is free for Emiratis up to university level. However, non-UAE citizens are entitled to pay fees for government schools. There are several schools and educational institutions catering to expat communities in the city, such as Germans, Brits, Japanese, Chinese and French.

Talking about universities, most of them are run by the government and monitored by the Ministry of Education, which also supervises private sector schools. However, public universities are open only to the UAE nationals, while expats have private universities as an open option.


Health Facilities:

The public hospitals and primary healthcare centers in Abu Dhabi deliver high standards of care and treatment.  Focused on providing comprehensive social welfare and care to vulnerable segments of the society, the Abu Dhabi Government offers complete medical coverage for all UAE nationals. The city includes a growing private health sector and several government-funded health services that ensure promoting the health awareness among people in the Emirate.


Economic Climate and Employment Opportunities

Expats working in Abu Dhabi get an opportunity to live and work in one of the wealthiest Emirates and enjoy the benefits of its growing economy. Its economy majorly relies on income generated from natural resources, majorly petroleum. Apart from the petrochemical industry, other emerging sectors like tourism, construction, business services and real estate offer ample career options for the job seekers.

Some of the reputed employers in Abu Dhabi include Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Dar Al Riyadh, Sumaco Manpower, Al Raee Recruitment Services, MGR Management Consulting, and Sofomation, among others. Several large corporations have relocated or expanded their businesses in the emirate, thus attracting the skilled employees from around the globe. However, it is always recommended that one should do proper research about the new work destination, the job market and the skills required to get through the job interview.

New vacancies are regularly available in both English and Arabic newspapers in the UAE. Job portals in the UAE also play an important role in finding and applying to relevant job openings. Several career fairs are also held in the city that helps job seekers find careers of their interest. Here’s what more you should know about working in Abu Dhabi:

    • — Workers in the UAE are entitled to obtain an employment contract issued and attested by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE). This contract should be signed by the employer as well as the employee.
    • — You must hold a passport with a validity of minimum 6 months. If planning to take along your kids and spouse, they should also have their passport. You will also need a copy of your marriage certificate.
    • — Certified transcripts of qualifications (high school degree) will be needed.


    Visa Requirement & Work Permit

    Before planning to move to Abu Dhabi, expats need to understand the visa requirements completely. Depending on the country of origin, the visa requirement varies for visitors. For instance, nationals from other GCC countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman do not find any bureaucratic hurdles to get their visa. Hence, it is vital to consult the respective embassies to get complete information.

    Expats planning to take up a job or begin a commercial activity in Abu Dhabi require a work permit which can be obtained through the sponsor (employer) in the country. The employer must submit the work permit application along with the required documents such as the letter of appointment and a copy of passport at the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs – Abu Dhabi (GDRFA).


    Work Visa

    Those planning to visit Abu Dhabi as a tourist for finding any expat assignment require a tourist visa/visitor visa valid for 30 days and a valid passport. This type of visa can be applied for at the UAE Embassy. However, according to the UAE law, to take an employment or any other work in the city, neither a visitor visa nor a tourist visa is eligible. A temporary work visa is valid for 90 days and can be renewed for the same duration of time. However, to get a work visa and then later a residence permit, you should have a sponsor in Abu Dhabi who should complete the process for you.

    There are different types of work permits:

    • — Permits for working with private sector
    • — Permits for working with public sector, including federal ministries, government entities, and the entities that are not governed by the Labour Law
    • — Permits for working as license holders, such as partners and investors
    • — Permits for working for any individual, such as drivers, servants, farmers, etc.


    The type of work permit and visa you may need depends on your nationality, individual situation, and other requirements. Therefore, before applying for the one, the complete information should be obtained from the Embassy or GDRFA.


    Tradition and Modernity

    Life and culture in Abu Dhabi are majorly embedded within the Arabia’s Islamic traditions. Islam governs mainly anything varying from what to drink, eat and wear. The locals mostly wear traditional dresses- women in a long black robe (abaya) with a headscarf, and men in a long shirt-dress (dishdasha) with a red checked or white headdress.

    One can easily find mosques in almost any district of the city. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in the UAE is located here. This mosque is a popular tourist attraction and offers space for around 40,000 worshippers. Abu Dhabi continues to promote its traditional sports and cultural events such as camel racing, dhow sailing, and falconry, thus preserving the rich culture for the future generation.


    Public Etiquette

    With several job opportunities available not only in the oil and gas industry but other sectors also, Abu Dhabi’s economy is flourishing. Therefore, attracting several expats every year, Abu Dhabi allows expats to practice their religion. However, when living in an Arab country, expats should also be aware of the local rules which they should follow, such as dressing up modestly in public, abstaining from using insulting language, avoiding a public display of affection, and respecting the Arab culture.

    Abu Dhabi is a modern place, but there are several rules of the conservative society that prevail in the city. For instance, smoking in public areas and public display of affection is strictly prohibited. What is considered acceptable in your home country might be considered offensive in a Muslim nation like Abu Dhabi. Hence, it is extremely important to be aware of the culture and public etiquette in Abu Dhabi. It is advisable that the expatriates should respect the laws, culture and get a clear idea about the behavior accepted in public in a country they wish to live and work in.


    Geography and Climate

    Coastal Abu Dhabi is located about 130km from Dubai while its city center is located on Abu Dhabi Island surrounded by several small islands connected by three bridges. These small islands are developed with several shopping malls and luxury resorts.

    The summers are mostly hot with maximum temperature reaching above 40°C. There can be sandstorms in summer that sometimes affect visitors in Abu Dhabi City. However, the winter season from October to March remains cool at around 15°C.

    Many job seekers from around the world move to Abu Dhabi to enjoy the unique flavor of the rapidly developing city. Whether it is the tax-free benefits, lucrative career opportunities or simply the desire to experience the mesmerizing Arab culture, Abu Dhabi welcomes all.


    General Facts:

    Religion:                 Islam

    Language:             Arabic (Official), English (widely used)

    Currency:              UAE Dirham (AED)

    Climate:                Tropical, semi-dry climate, with hot summers, warm winters, and scanty rainfall


For Latest Job openings in Abu Dhabi, click here: https://www.naukrigulf.com/jobs-in-abu-dhabi

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Categories: Working in the UAE

About Swati Srivastava

Swati Srivastava is an avid writer who loves to pen down her ideas and career tips for professionals working across the globe. Her blog posts, new career stories, and articles inspire many job seekers.

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