Are You a Foreigner? Here’s a Step-By-Step Guide to Job Search in the UAE

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Are you a foreigner seeking job opportunities in the UAE? With post-lockdown economic recovery finally underway, this could be the right time to embark on your job search. The UAE’s transition from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based one has opened up many different career avenues for expats. There is a growing demand for software engineers, data scientists, sales executives, social media experts, credit controllers and financial analysts which is likely continue into the new decade.

Employment in the UAE is tightly regulated for expats. Here is a guide to effective job search in the Emirates including details on various visa- and entry-related protocols.

1. Understand the Market

Before applying for a job in the UAE, it is essential to find out more about the job market in the country, living conditions, cost of living, law and order etc. to get a clear idea of what you can expect as a foreigner. This basic step will enable you to figure out whether a job in the Emirates is actually suitable for you, and plan your career accordingly.

You can do your homework by reading up on the internet, posting questions on online forums like Quora, or speaking to people you know who are residing in the UAE. If you are someone who is applying through an accredited agency, you could approach them with your questions and they will provide you with the relevant answers.

2. Job Application

Once you are certain about taking up a career in the UAE, you can get down to the actual business of job applications. Brush up your CV by updating your employment details. Make your CV engaging for employers and hiring managers by highlighting your achievements and illustrating them with numbers where possible. While applying to jobs, it is a good idea to customise your CV as per the requirements of the job to improve your chances of making it to the next round of the selection process.

Using a combination of several different job search methods, rather than banking on just one or two, can vastly improve your chances of getting a job. Enlist on job sites, surf company websites for open positions, and tap into your professional network, to home in on jobs that match your career goals. One of the most effective ways to find the right job is to approach a staffing agency that specialises in recruitments for Gulf-based companies. An established staffing company like the Innovations Group can not only help you find great jobs that are aligned with your career goals, but also help you with all the paperwork that is required to make a smooth transition to the UAE.

3. Getting Your Work Permit

It is mandatory for all foreign nationals to obtain a work permit. The easiest way to obtain one is to secure employment prior to landing in the UAE. In such instances the employer takes care of all the paperwork and assists the employee in obtaining a valid permit.

On the other hand, it is also possible to enter the UAE on tourist visa, engage in job search, and convert your tourist visa into a work visa after securing a job offer. The catch here is that candidates must leave the UAE on failing to secure a job within the time stipulated in the tourist visa.

4. Health and Labour Cards

Besides your work permit, you will also need to apply for a health card to enter the UAE. It requires you to submit your medical records, passport copies, job offer letter and visa application to the Department of Health and Medical Services. Candidates must also take a blood test to ensure they are free of diseases like HIV, tuberculosis and Hepatitis C.

A labour card from the concerned ministry, along with a residency visa from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, are also mandatory for expats. You must furnish a number of documents including a photo ID from your country of residence, parents’ photo ID cards, passport with more than six months’ validity, and academic certificates and degrees attested by the UAE embassy or consulate, while joining your new company.

A Great Place to Work

As the UAE job market is extremely competitive, it pays to focus on networking to help you gain an edge over other jobseekers competing for the same positions. At the same time, it is essential for candidates to keep an eye on employment and emigration policies in the UAE as they are prone to change. An economic powerhouse with some of the most progressive laws in the Middle East, the UAE offers one of the best living and employment experiences globally to expats and offers unlimited growth potential.

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