The main attractions for healthcare professionals working in Dubai are the great lifestyle and ability to build up their savings with a tax-free salary.
If you are considering relocating then you may be wondering about the cost of living in Dubai and how this relates to the amount you will be able to save from your salary.
Lifestyle in Dubai
In a recent Expat Insider survey from InterNations, Dubai came second in the overall rankings for the best city in the world for expats. Dubai ranked highly for feeling welcome in the city, availability of services and quality of life. Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world with a low crime rate.
Dubai has a lot to offer including year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and deserts, great infrastructure and cutting-edge architecture. There is also a thriving arts scene with influences from both Eastern and Western cultures.
Dubai offers a wide range of shopping, entertainment, leisure and dining options depending on your budget and lifestyle expectations.
Cost of living in Dubai
In Numbeo’s Cost of living index 2023, Dubai ranked 182nd out of 540 cities, ranking higher than Madrid, Malmo and Edinburgh but less expensive than London, New York and Singapore.
See Numbeo’s Cost of Living Comparison Calculator:
There is no income tax in the UAE but VAT was introduced in 2018 at a rate of 5% (compared to 20% in the UK).
The cost of living in Dubai varies widely depending on your lifestyle. Here are some factors to consider:
Rent and house prices are generally higher the closer you live to downtown or the beach. You can save by living further away from the coast or city centre.
(Some people live in the neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah where rents are significantly less than in Dubai, but end up spending a lot of time in traffic getting in and out of Dubai.)
Depending on your employer, some contracts may include housing or an accommodation allowance. If you live in a house or villa, your utility and maintenance costs will usually be higher than for an apartment.
Grocery costs vary depending on whether you buy local or imported products and the type of supermarket you choose.
Dubai has many restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. The cost of dining out is often less than in the UK but varies widely depending on the type of restaurant and the location.
Employing someone to help with housework or childcare is more affordable than in Europe or North America, but is still a cost to budget for.
Cars in Dubai are generally slightly cheaper than in the UK or USA, however this will obviously vary depending on the make and model. As elsewhere, you can make savings by buying second-hand. As the UAE is an oil-rich country, petrol isinexpensive (at least half the price compared to the UK) and maintenance costs are reasonable.
If you are coming with school-aged children, school fees are a significant expense to consider. Some doctor’s contracts may include an allowance for children’s school fees. Fees increase as a child moves up through the school, so are highest for senior years. School fees were frozen or discounted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but are now increasing for 2023-24. A lot of schools offer sibling discounts of around 5 to 10% for younger sibling(s). Corporate discounts may also be available, so check with your employer.
Entertainment and leisure:
There are a wide range of leisure activities available, according to your budget. The more touristy attractions can be on the expensive side, but there are plenty of beaches, parks, and inexpensive or free museums and galleries. You can also take the opportunity to get out into the desert or visit a nature reserve.
Dubai has a lot to offer healthcare professionals and their families, including the ability to build up savings for the future.
At Allocation Assist we connect in-demand specialists with the right skills and experience with the best hospitals in Dubai and the wider UAE.