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Dubai Gold Souq

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Can the current boom be sustained in Dubai? It remains to be seen!

The economy of Dubai is not divorced from the rest of the world.

Ex-pats moving to Dubai to purchase expensive properties need to sell properties in their home countries for good money in order to relocate.

Similarly, for large numbers of tourists to visit attractions such as Dubailand and Wild Wadi in Dubai, they need to be earning good salaries in other countries, in order to afford the vacations or holidays.

Before venturing to work in Dubai, I would recommend that you go there for a short holiday first, so that you can find out if it suits you.

The climate is a major factor. During the summer, especially May to September, temperatures can regularly top 100 degrees Fahrenheit with extremely high humidity.

Many ex-pats choose to leave Dubai during July/August and holiday outside the country due to the suffocating heat. Having said that, the level of air-conditioning in hotels, good offices and shopping malls is excellent.

The Islamic culture must also be respected. Drunkenness and lewd behaviour in public will not be tolerated.

Females must also dress appropriately, without exposing too much flesh.

Since Arab women are generally dressed head to toe in black burkhas, it is obvious that western females should show respect for Arabic sensibilities. It is their country after all!

That does not mean that western women have to cover up totally. Far from it! There are also very many Hindu ladies in Dubai. They wear long saris which are very colourful, in marked contrast to Arab ladies. However, they still do not expose much flesh.

There are no public houses on the streets in Dubai, as in the UK. Alcohol is only permitted within the grounds of large hotel complexes. Fortunately there are dozens and dozens of those!

Many large hotels may have five or six large bars, so there are more than enough locations for ex-pats to enjoy themselves.

The hotels and bars are also very clean and of a high quality in most instances. The 5-star hotels are truly sumptuous venues!

There is a huge community in Dubai from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, so there are numerous streets of shops run by people from the Indian sub-continent.

Many parts of the old town around Dubai Creek, in both Deira and Bur Dubai, resemble towns in India. All sorts of commodities and goods are on sale .....apart from alcohol!!

Many of the tens of thousands of construction workers, working on innumerable large projects, also come from the Indian sub-continent. They can withstand outdoor working temperatures that would make westerners wilt!

There are also many traders there with roots in Iran and other Islamic countries.

Many have been trading in Dubai for several generations, from the time when pearl-trading was the mainstay of the economy. Many of the hotel workers come from various parts of South-east Asia, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Of course, there are also ex-pats from every western world country imaginable working in Dubai. It is truly the most cosmopolitan place on Earth.

Fortunately, people from all over the world, of every race and religion, manage to work and play in harmony in Dubai. It is a noticibly disciplined and law-abiding place.

It is undoubtedly easier to obtain work in Dubai once you are already there. To do so, it pays to get hold of the "Gulf News" appointments supplement, published on Sundays, Tuesdays or Thursdays, or the Khaleej Times Appointments on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

It is also a good idea to register with a recruitment agency and to contact companies directly and start networking. Many large Dubai-based companies have vacancy listings on their web-sites.

There are numerous recruitment agencies in Dubai. To register, check with the agency to find out if they take walk-ins, although most only accept CVs via email and will then contact you for an interview.

Invariably, when you go for the agency interview, you will also have to fill out an agency form summarising your CV and will need a few passport photos.

The agency takes its fee from the registered company once the position has been filled. It is illegal for a recruitment company to levy fees on candidates for this service, although some may try to do this.

While it is easier to find work in Dubai once you are there, it is worth looking from your home country before you leave. There are a number of companies that recruit abroad and you may even find Dubai jobs advertised in the media.

If you are lucky enough to find a job in this way, it's likely that the company will pay for your flight to Dubai, provide help with relocation costs and start the paper-work involved with becoming a resident.

Alternatively, search the internet.

It is a good idea to visit sites such as this one for information. Why not click the blue links offering Dubai jobs on this page and on other pages of this Dubai related website.

There is a great deal of useful information on Dubai on this site and the Google links around the perimeters of the pages.

People are often seconded to Dubai by companies based in their home country or are recruited from their country of origin, but there are increasing numbers of people who arrive in Dubai with their partners or spouses and then begin to look for work. There's a fair share of career hopefuls who holiday in Dubai and then start looking for work opportunities.

Whilst the biggest bonus of working in Dubai may seem to be tax-free salaries, the benefits of not paying tax for some nationalities can be outweighed by the value of the dirham, [which is pegged to the US dollar] compared to the value of other currencies, such as Pound Sterling and Euro.

As I write, in November 2008, the dollar is strengthening against the Pound, so British workers in Dubai are benefitting. This is not always the case!

Rents can be quite high in Dubai too, so the cost of living can eat into salaries quite substantially. However, fuel costs are a fraction of those in the UK, so running a car is far cheaper.

Work-wise, there are still a lot of opportunities in Dubai, especially for well-qualified young professionals with skills linked to the construction, leisure and real estate industries.

The volume of construction work being carried out in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is mind-boggling!

One of the main differences about working in Dubai, as opposed to countries like the UK, is that you need to be sponsored by an employer, which often leaves employees feeling tied or uncomfortably obligated to their employer.

If you leave the company, your current visa will be cancelled and you will have to go through the hassle of getting a new residency permit ........for you and your family, if they are on your sponsorship.

Working hours differ dramatically between companies, with the start and finishing time varying. Straight shifts vary from 7.30am to 2pm for government organisations, to the common 9am to 6pm for private companies.

Most retail outlets tend to be open from 10am to 10pm, but often operate shifts.

Teachers start early at around 7.30am and classes finish at 2pm, although, like any job, paperwork can add to the day's work.

Although less common nowadays, some offices and shops operate split shifts, which allow for a longer break in the afternoon. Hours are usually 8am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm.

The maximum hours per week according to UAE Labour Law is 48, although some industries, such as hospitality and retail, have longer stipulated hours.

Annual holiday allowance start at one calendar month, or 22 working days.

Some employees, especially those in management, have more than this and long service adds to holiday allowance.

Friday is the Islamic holy day and therefore a universal day off for offices and schools. Consumer demand means that hospitality and retail industries are open seven days a week.

Much of the private sector works Sunday to Thursday inclusive. There are still private companies that have retained the traditional Saturday to Wednesday working week, whilst some operate a five and a half day week and others operate a six day week, taking only Friday as a rest day.

Public holidays are set by the government, while the timing of religious holidays depends on the sighting of the moon.

The labour law states that all employees [even non-Muslims] are entitled to a shorter working day during Ramadan, although labour lawyers would advise you not to insist on this right, if you are non-Muslim or not fasting.

At the end of the day, if one wants to work in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, one must respect the laws and traditions of the country of employment.