Dubai is a global city and home to one of world’s fastest growing economies. It has become a hub for expats working abroad and there is a high demand in the city for qualified medical professionals. Dubai is a great place for doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals to advance their careers and enjoy immersing themselves in a new culture and working environment. But there are some things to look out for when considering medical careers in Dubai:
Around 80% of the UAE’s population is foreign-born, which makes the country very appealing to and accepting of expats who move abroad to work. The majority of expats in the UAE are originally from the USA or Europe, but there are many other nationalities living there. While the Middle East is conservative in nature, the UAE is much more liberal than its neighbors. Dubai is particularly welcoming of foreign cultures and beliefs.
The UAE has a highly developed healthcare infrastructure. Medical facilities are modern and accessible. In Dubai, the public hospitals offer a high standard of care, however there is also a rapidly growing private sector. Dubai has an extremely large medical center, Dubai Healthcare City, which has more than 90 medical facilities including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, research facilities and so on. Many foreign-trained expats are employed in both the public and private healthcare sector, and English is commonly spoken in hospitals and medical centers.
To be eligible to work in a medical job in Dubai, you are required by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to have the relevant qualifications and licensing from your home country. After providing this information, medical professionals are subject to an assessment by the DHA.
Visa requirements vary substantially between different nationalities. The visa requirements for entering Dubai can change without warning, so it’s important to have up-to-date information. For US and European nationalities, the residency process is quite straightforward. However, for other foreign nationals the process may be more lengthy.
To work in Dubai, you must first gain an entry visa, which is issued on entry to Dubai. Secondly, a health card which states that you are free from infectious diseases is required for anyone wishing to live or work in Dubai. Thirdly, a labor card will be given provided that you are in possession of a valid health card, an entry visa and a written employment agreement. The labor card grants you permission to work within the UAE. Finally, a residency visa, which gives the holder permission to stay in Dubai for a period of longer than 30 days, is also required. You can always find the latest updates and regulations regarding visa laws on the official portal of the UAE government.
Expats should ideally secure a job before moving to the UAE, as residence depends upon sponsorship, which is tied to an employment contract. If you do secure a job before you leave your home country, some companies will pay towards relocation costs. Gaining an offer of employment before entering the UAE is therefore desirable.
The Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) website is a government-run resource which can be used to search for medical job vacancies in Dubai. Reputable job boards listing are another common way to find jobs in Dubai. Niche medical or healthcare related job boards can produce more targeted results and allow you to search for specific roles within the healthcare industry.
Salaries for employees in the medical and healthcare sector vary depending on the job role, job level, qualifications and whether a hospital or clinic is part of the public or private sector.
Jobs within the healthcare sector will frequently include an accommodation allowance, although this is dependent on the job. A general practitioner in Dubai can earn an average annual salary of 243,805 AED, while a Staff Nurse in Dubai can expect an average annual salary of around 87,764 AED. A Medical Technologist earns an average salary of 111,289 AED per year in Dubai.
One major draw for many expats considering working in Dubai and the UAE is tax-free income. Depending on your home country, salaries in Dubai can be more substantial. However, the dirham is considered to be weaker against the pound sterling and the euro. Many healthcare positions also include benefits such as paid annual leave of up to 40 days for full-time staff, health insurance, travel expenses and other benefits.
Property prices in Dubai have risen over the years, but there are plenty of accommodation options available to expats. Many expats will also receive a housing allowance as part of their benefits package.
The Dubai government has allowed foreign nationals to 'purchase' certain properties under a 99 year lease since 2002. However, many expats look towards the rental market. Apartments and studios are more expensive and can cost around 4,000 AED per month in a good area. The cheapest and most popular option for expats is to rent a room in a shared villa.
To rent an apartment in Dubai, expats must present a residence visa, passport and proof of income from their employer when signing a lease. It is common practice for landlords in Dubai to ask for a security deposit and the rent for the year up front.
Relocating to work abroad isn’t a decision to be taken lightly and there are lots of factors to consider. It’s important to do your research and see what opportunities are available to you before making a final decision.
Ron Stewart is CEO of Jobs4Medical, a medical job listings website with opportunities in Dubai and the UAE.
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