Things to know before pursuing working in Dubai

More than 700,000 overseas Filipino workers are based in the United Arab Emirates. And the large numbers of it can be found in Dubai followed by Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

I doubt if there would be a single day that we will not cross path with our fellow Filipinos. This is not surprising at all as Filipinos in this country are working in different industries.

Some successfully landed in Architecture, Engineering, medical, sales, tourism and F & B sectors. And some are domestic helpers who are all hard working and can sacrifice a lot for their families future.

We never question why there are lots of Filipinos chose to work in foreign country. As a matured adult we know the reasons behind it, of course, to attain financial stability quickly.

Lack of opportunity, limited job available are major factors why many are diverting their hopes to work abroad.

As an experienced Pinoy expat in the Gulf, I respect all the reasons of everyone and I do understand it. But still one should be careful in every decision he will do.

Never ever quickly decide in jumping in any country without considering few things.

Let us take Dubai as an example since this is the latest apple of the eyes of job seekers.

Below are 10 practical factors to consider.
(These are only base on my experience and observations other expats might have their own point of view)

1. Dubai is 08 hours away from Manila via straight flight.

  • Make an honest self-assessment know your strength and weaknesses. Ensure that you are strong to live alone away from your families.
  • Think hard if your determination to work for your family would be enough for you to survive in this far country.

Don’t think I am discouraging you guys instead I just want you to be careful. Working here for more than ten years, I already saw a lot of Filipinos who give up easily. In what reasons? they miss their family so much and can’t live with out them ( the number one enemy of OFW the “homesickness”)

Missing your family is commendable it proves how much you are close to them. So, instead of wasting your money, time and effort why not try and study the above factor.

2. Employment Contract

If your answer to above is “yes I can make it I am strong to handle myself”. Then it is a good sign you have the potential to be a certified OFW.

  • Keep in mind that each country has their own rules and contract terms. Normally in UAE, the employment contract is for 2-3 years can you finish it?
  • The contract consist of many terms and condition ensure to fully understand it and all are acceptable for you.
  • In case of any dispute, it would be easy for you to fight for your right if you fully understand the terms of your contract.

3. Health condition

  • Visit a doctor and do a general check up to ensure that all are fine before processing your documents coming here.
  • There are some experiences of few Filipinos who went here for visit visa and successfully landed in a job. But, sadly unable to pass the medical test.
  • This country is very strict in terms of health safety. Once they had proven that one has a harmful disease they will immediately process your deportation. (HIV, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis etc)

Addition to that you will be ban in entering this country.

So to avoid this problem do your part to check your health conditions ahead of time.

4. Financial Capabilities

Congratulations if you passed the medical test!

You are completely healthy, there is no hindrance for your dream to work abroad.

Whats next?

  • If you don’t have first degree relatives based here think the best way how you can convince the Immigration Officer to let you go hassle free.
  • Prepare yourself for any questions that Immigration officer asks you (maybe related to why you will go to Dubai? proving of relationship or proving of your “financial capability” to travel)

Believe me, it is much easier to deal with Immigration Officer in Dubai than in the Philippines.

5. Financially ready

What is the difference of financially ready to financial capabilities?

It doesn’t mean that you are capable to buy your air ticket and visa means you are now ready. You need to prepare yourself for at least 2-3 months of totally all out expenses “no income at all”

Let’s discuss the expected expenses of one job seeker in UAE on visit visa (without any relative who can take care of providing them free shelter for a while)

Estimated cost based on the current and cheapest situation:

  • 3 months visa package with air ticket (AED3000.00 – AED3500.00 or roughly Php 36.000 based on currency exchange of 1aed to 12.00php but the normal exchange lately is 13.5                (You have an option to buy the visa separately and it will cost you around AED1350-1600 (3 months valid) + search for a good promo fare, but to avoid any hassle it is advisable to book the package deal from any trusted travel agencies)
  • Accommodation (cheapest range from AED 700.00 – 800.00 including the internet and electricity bill roughly Php 8400.00 per month) and mostly landlord required a 1-month deposit and 1-month advance lucky you if you found a good one who doesn’t ask for such things.
  • Foods – let’s compute it in the cheapest amount you can spend roughly AED 300.00 per month or Php 3600.00
  • Transportation, of course, you need to allocate a budget for this part to attend job interviews, job fair, and haunting. Let’s say a month is AED250.00-300.0 or Php 3000.00 using bus or trains.

Estimate total amount for the 1st month is: AED4300.00 or  Php 51,600.00

The amount you have to spend depends on how fast you can find and start at work. In case you didn’t get it in the first month which is normally happening here.

In the worst case, you got the job in your 3rd month the amount you have to spend is AED6900.00 or Php 82,800. If you can afford it and willing to risk it you are free to do so.

6. Not so private and quiet place.

You already prepared the required documents, you are fine on the expenses and you feel you are ready to fly.

Together with that prepare your self now to accept the reality awaits you.

  • Don’t expect a private room in your apartment. Normally Filipinos here are on bed space concept because it is the cheapest option. (Bed space in Dubai is literally having the bed only as your space either on lower or upper deck plus a small cabinet for your things.)
  • If you have a comfy good sized bed in the Philippines say goodbye to it and welcome to a small single bed to accompany your sadness at night.
  • Different people live in one sharing apartment with a different working schedule so expect a not so quiet place.
  • Try to imagine that 6-8 people are sharing in one toilet a daily schedule of shower time is normal.

However, the above scenarios might be a temporary only who knows you might find a job with a good salary easily. But in case you only get the basic one just work hard and be patient, in time you will find better.

Partition apartment ranges from AED 1200 – 1800 depends on the area. (Mostly couples are getting a partition to have a few privacy, kitchen and restroom are still sharing basis)

Cheapest private studio apartment ranges from AED 28,000 – AED 35,000 per year. roughly AED 2400.00 per month plus the electricity, water and internet bills. But the area offered at this price is a bit far from the city or train station.

7. Pride and sensitive attitude

If you want to succeed and survive leave these attitude behind.

There is no space for that in Dubai, you will encounter and experience a lot of discriminations and would try to belittle you.

You need to be patient as much as possible and just don’t mind them. Eventually, you will learn how to fight for your right and self on the safe side.

8. Multicultural Environment.

Filipinos are friendly and happy persons, I think no major adjustment for one to adapt their new environment.

But if you are not ready and willing to work with different nationality and adjust with their culture Dubai will not the right place for you.

9. Rapport with the colleague to build your kingdom.

Some who take the risk for an opportunity in Dubai has good working status already in the Philippines.

There are managers, supervisors, team leaders etc. but my piece of advice with you guys once landed a job to forget for a while your experiences back home and learn first how to build a rapport with your new colleague why?

  • You are just new and adjusting to your new work.
  • Your colleague will help you only if they “like you”
  • The way you treat your colleague is more important to them than your skills.

Try to be friendly in a professional way, if someone needs your help but it is not part of your job “if you can do it and there is no major issue just do it”

Working in Dubai is like you are joining a politics. Same as the people chose those who are friendly, helpful and approachable rather than the experienced and knowledgeable one.

Be kind with limitations, your colleague might be the reasons for you to succeed.

10. Do not expect too much

Do not expect from what? from the salary!

Dubai is a land of luxurious, biggest, tallest, the best and extravagant things but excludes the salary part to it. The market is very competitive and tough don’t expect to easily to get a high salary especially if you don’t have any Gulf experience yet.

But comparing to minimum salary in the Philippines, of course, Dubai is better the career growth is broader and financial stability is more achievable.

Current starting salary in the market so far:

  • Hotel workers such as receptionist, guest service agent and clerks range from AED 1200-1800 (free house, food, and transportation)
  • Waiter, waitress, bell boy normally AED 900-1200 (free house, food, and transportation)
  • Office staff such as receptionist, secretary range between AED 2000-3500 (all in)

Analyze if the salary you will be getting minus the expenses would be fine with you, it is up to you guys if you want to pursue working here.

You will always have an option of ways to come here either to spend and risk for visit visa or to find a trusted manpower agency who can assist you with a secured job.

For me, it is wiser to leave your families with a sure job waiting for you instead of risking not only the huge amount but your families & you’re future.

But, if you are firm on your decisions to risk for a visit visa we don’t have the right to stop you instead just to;

“Welcome to Dubai Kabayan, wish you all the best and success and enjoy your expat life in the land of sand”

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