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Living in the UAE, from Switzerland

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Safety and Security in the UAE

Expats who are concerned about their safety will feel right at home in the UAE with its low crime rate and rigorous law enforcement. However, traffic, weather conditions, petty crimes, and even the law itself can still pose a risk. Learn more about local laws, safety measures, and more.

The UAE — and especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi — are quite popular among tourists and expats from all over the world. It is not just the luxurious hotels, the big shopping malls, and the sunshine that attract visitors, but also the safety and security that the country offers which make it an attractive destination.

Common Scams and Local Laws

With this safety also comes a downside, of course. The UAE has put rather strict laws in place which address co-habitation, public decency, alcohol consumption, and even behavior during Ramadan. Some of them you might not expect when you are moving there. You should, however, be aware of what you are legally allowed to do because law enforcement is taken very seriously in the Emirates. While violent crimes are rare in the Emirates and rarely affect expats, scams are still pretty common and often directed at gullible expats. Many scams are just specific ways of begging for money, but some schemes are intended to steal your credit card information or phone credit.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

The UAE likes to pride itself as being a country with a multicultural and open society. That is why anti-discrimination laws have been put into place in recent years to counteract discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, or nationality. Unfortunately, this hasn’t helped to eradicate unequal treatment in the workplace altogether. Moreover, these laws do not extend to cover homosexual expats. They are still running the risk of being arrested and sentenced under Sharia law (although the harsh punishments have largely been replaced with fines, prison sentences, and deportation). While some emirates are more liberal than others, LGBT expats would do well to be discreet.

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