Moving to Middle East to Grab the Big Bucks: Would You?

 Hi Skint pals,

Would you up sticks and move to the Middle East for a couple of years if it meant you could earn serious money and build a nest egg for the future?

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself, after a pal of mine announced her decision at the weekend to move to the Middle East for work. My friend has been out of luck recently finance-wise, having been made redundant from her job and now, with no luck finding a new post in the recession-hit  UK, she’s turning her attention to the Middle East as a possible solution to her money woes. Countries like Dubai in the United Arab Emirates are known for paying higher salaries, which are also  tax free – meaning you get to keep just about every penny of what you earn. Imagine that – pocketing your gross salary every month, watching the cash roll in, then tucking it away in a savings accounts in the UAE . . .

working in dubai - pic of skyline

Don’t think I’d mind working late in Dubai if the office had views like this . . .


The Money Low-Down

So, just how much can you earn in UAE? Well, on average, salaries are 10% higher than the UK, which isn’t tons, BUT, because  income isn’t taxed you can actually add 25-35% to your take home pay. 

And, even more amazing, if you stay and work in UAE for two years or more, a mandatory 15% lump sum of the your yearly salary is paid on departure!

Not bad eh? Getting a 15% bonus in your hand at the end of a couple of years . . .  it’s worth putting up with a lot for, even with that 50 degree heat in summer. And that bit about no tax? How amazing would it be to see no deductions coming off your salary? Even if you’re a homebird at heart, it would be tempting to work there for a couple of years and put the money into savings, a deposit for a house or just start building for retirement. (Today, I was inspired by this story of working hard and retiring early from my fellow blogger Pauline Paquin)

Is It Worth It?

But, would earning a UAE salary like that make up for leaving your family and friends behind? Or are you the go-getting sort who’d jump at the chance to start afresh somewhere else? As well as the money on offer, another intriguing aspect of living in UAE is the chance to mix with so many different nationalities: more than 85% of the people living there are not Emiratis but expats who have moved there from across the globe to enjoy the lifestyle and salaries on offer. Imagine living in such a diverse place with so many nationalities all coming together.

If you joined them, you’d only be doing what big business is already wise to. Every day, according to HSBC whom I’ve worked with to bring you some of the stats in this post, huge companies ping  billions of pounds worth of investments back and forth between UAE and the UK – by 2015, trade between the two countries is predicted to hit a staggering £12 billion. Makes the eyes go all funny.

Wile doing some research into working, playing and saving in UAE I found this Q & A from a twenty-something expat really helpful for giving more info on what it’s really like to up sticks and work so far from home.

Could you ever do it? Or have you? How much did you manage to squirrel away, if so? We’d all love to know!

Skint xxx

PS: In Dubai there are no street addresses and everyone gets their mail delivered via a PO Box. But how do you find your way around? I’m intrigued! 

Photo credit: deviantart


About Skint in the City

Skint in the City provides stylish, practical tips and advice on how to live the high life on a shoestring budget.

6 thoughts on “Moving to Middle East to Grab the Big Bucks: Would You?

  1. Sometimes its just about what you are willing to sacrifice to get where you want to be or just to be in a lot better situation. If it weren’t for the kids wanting to finish high school with there friends the wifey and I would totally already be abroad. For 2-5 years to make a world of difference for the rest of my life would be worth in my opinion. No taxes, increase in pay, and a bonus when I leave, put me down.

  2. As a young, strong woman, I definitely don’t think I’d want to live in the middle East where women aren’t treated very well. I’d love to visit though.

  3. One of the many things about Dubai that attract me is the “tax-free” salary. I have so many friends who have been working in Dubai for so many years and they are happy.

    • Good to know, Marissa. And do they manage to save a lot whilst working there or do they prefer to blow it all on city living?

  4. If it was only for a couple of years and that would make a real difference on my nest egg I would totally do it. They even have great international schools so you can move with your family without too much trouble. Not my first choice of destination but the tax free income and lump sum at the end is pretty tempting.

    • I agree Pauline – with a package like that on offer it’s hard not to be tempted! Especially I think for people who don’t have children and are starting out in their careers.

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