Is it easy to find job in Dubai?
I’ve been receiving lot of questions both from people I know and from readers on how they can come to Dubai. Most of the queries are:
- Is it easy to find a job?
- How much is the salary?
- Can you sponsor me?
- How much is the visa/air ticket?
- What’s the procedure of getting a visa?
I received this mail from Arlyn and instead of replying to her directly, I thought why not just write a post about it. It would spare me from repeating myself to friends and family asking on how to do it.
I also have a question. I’ve been planning to go there in Dubai for a greener pasture opportunity. However, I don’t have any relatives there whom can assist me with the Visa. Is the cross country thing safe? Say, I’ll go to HK then Dubai and I believe there is Visa offered upon arrival. Will that work?- ARLYN
I first came to Dubai as a visit visa holder too.We were a group of friends who tried our luck in this city and stayed in Satwa as bed spacers. Since I didn’t have a laptop yet (and there’s no wifi in our villa), I would visit computer shops everyday and apply for jobs online. I also experienced doing ‘walk-in applications’ (submitting resumes to companies even though they don’t have any vacancy). I consider myself lucky that I found a job as a receptionist in a catering company just two weeks after I landed. It wasn’t the case with my friends and some of the people I know who needed to ‘exit’ (a term which means exiting UAE and come back either on a visit visa or employment visa).
This was in 2005 and several things have changed since then. Being an experienced OFW, let me give you some tips and advice on what to expect and how to succeed in UAE.
First and foremost, I want to be realistic here. If you want to come to Dubai with the intention of finding work, you must know someone based in Dubai/UAE. Unless you have lots of pocket money to go on a tour and stay in a hotel, and the guts to venture into unknown without knowing a single soul, then maybe you can do it. If you have limited resources, now is the time to search from long lost relatives and classmates on Facebook.
Once you find someone, tell them politely that you want to come to Dubai and request for some advice. Your Facebook friend may either reply or not. They may help you or discourage you. If they don’t, it doesn’t mean they are bad people (ok maybe some of them are) but they just don’t want to be asked again for monetary help. If you intend to visit UAE (or any other country) to look for a job, be sure you have enough money to survive. Don’t assume that your family and friends will help you all through out. Note that OFWs are not milking cows. They work for their family and for themselves. They may extend their help but don’t expect more than what they can offer. Don’t assume! Make sure your family and friends in Dubai know that what you want is just simple advice from them like finding a cheap bed space, which bus number to take, cheapest travel agency, etc.
What are the expenses you should expect and prepare for? Exchange rate as of today is 1 AED = Php 12.77. (Side note: I was once in touch with a distant relative asking for visa cost, when I said it’s around AED 800, he asked me how much is it in pesos. I felt like telling him “why don’t you google it?” but since I’m nice so I said around 10K. His next question was airfare and I said it’s around AED 800 and you know what was his next question? YES, you’re correct. He asked “How much is it in Pesos?” WTF! So I’m telling you know the exchange rate and please don’t ask me next month if FX rate has changed. OK. Thanks.)
- Visa (around AED 800 for 1 month stay and AED 1200 for 3 months stay). Note that 1 month visa validity cannot be extended for another month unlike before. If you are not able to find job in that 1 month, then you would need to exit.
- Airfare. Cebu Pacific has the cheapest flight and the worst reputation. You can find as low as Php 4,100 for one-way flight. But to be on the safe side, prepare around Php 8,000 for one-way from Manila to Dubai.
- Bed space rent. Based on room condition, amenities (either has wifi or rent includes electricity), how many you are in one room, etc, rent can be anywhere between AED 800 to sky is the limit. I would say that you can find a comfortable and decent space for AED 1,200. This amount usually includes the electricity bill (DEWA) and internet connection.
- Food. Expect to spend/share AED 200-400 every month for food.
- Transportation. You must allocate money for bus/metro/taxi ride. Minimum fare for metro is AED 3 if you start and end your trip in same zone and maximum is AED 7.50. Let’s assume you will need AED 250 for transportation in the first month you’re looking for a job.
- Exit cost. In the unfortunate event that you aren’t be able to find a job in those months you’re on a visit visa (either 1 month or 3 months), then you will need to exit the country. Most popular destination these days is Muscat in Oman. You will need to pay around AED 500 for airfare or if you intend to take the bus to Oman then fare is AED 150, plus the visa cost.
In total, you should have at least Php 50K to 60K if you plan to stay in Dubai for one month looking for a job. Cost will be higher or lower depends on how soon you’ll find work or how stingy you can get.
Regarding the documents required to apply for a tourist visa, a travel agency only needs your passport copy and coloured passport photo with white background. It will take 3-5 days working to apply for a visa.
I said that you should know someone from UAE so that they can apply for guarantee of support. It is a piece a paper confirming that a UAE resident is willing to guarantee your stay in Dubai. This form is applied from Philippine Consulate. Last time I heard (last January actually), only a blood relative can apply it for you. How others get it, I have no idea. Maybe consulate is not that strict after all. This document is important because immigration officers in the Philippines ask for this.
Now that you have saved enough, you must plan on how you can actually come to Dubai. It’s not enough that you have money, guarantee of support and a visit visa on hand to enter UAE. Philippine Immigration officers are quite strict on letting people out of country. I understand that they are trying to avoid human trafficking and I totally agree but I thought if you have a valid visa to your destination country, one must be free to exit without being questioned like you’ve done some crime.
I have known lot of ways people tried to reach Dubai. Some tells the immigration officers that they are going to Dubai for vacation- very straightforward answer. If you have relative in Dubai and/or has a decent job in the Philippines, then this is really a viable reason. Others would go to Singapore, Hong Kong or Macau and from there go straight to Dubai. But this option has long been known to immigration and usually don’t work anymore. I heard that going on a group tour helps but don’t take my word for it. I think the best piece of advice I can give you is to speak confidently, look the immigration officer in the eye, answer as truthful as possible and pray for the best.
Which leads me to my next most important advice. Instead of going through all these costs and hassle, why don’t you apply through recruitment agencies? Legit recruiters won’t ask for a single placement fee and you’ll come to Dubai with a job. Right? This is the first thing I tell people who asks me for advice on how to come here. Because it’s the safest and most effective way.
Anyways, if you are impatient and like to take risks, and recruitment agency is not your thing then let’s continue…
If you were lucky enough to pass through immigration and board safely into the plane, high five to you! In less than 9 hours of straight flight, you will land in the city of gold – Dubai!
Depends on which month you will come to UAE, the weather will be either too cold (in Philippine standard) or too hot (in all standards). If you intend to look for a job, I suggest avoid coming to Dubai during summer season (July-August) or Ramadan as most managers are on holidays and there’s no one to do the interview or decision maker is away. This will also spare you from turning into a burnt human specimen.
As I said on my previous post, I don’t recommend doing walk-in applications because I personally think it’s a waste of time and money (spent on printing resumes and transport costs). I would rather spend that time browsing the internet for job opportunities. Make sure to amend your resume based on the job requirement. I don’t mean to pretend being an accountant just to apply for an accountant role, it doesn’t work that way. If the company is looking for an admin executive that can maintain diary and arrange meetings then make sure these things are mentioned on your CV. It’s not enough that you know you can do it. It’s imperative that the company knows it as well.
Now, the question that’s frequently being asked, “Is it easy to find a job there?” and my answer is constantly the same. Yes, there’s a lot of available jobs in service industries like restaurants, catering companies and hotels but being in a service industry means the work timing is longer. If your company will provide accommodation, then expect to be paid anywhere between AED 800-1500 for entry level jobs. If it’s an all-inclusive salary, then maybe between AED 2000-3500.
For admin roles, again salary ranges widely depends on the company. It starts from AED 2500 for entry level but then that’s all inclusive meaning you will need to pay for everything (your accommodation, transportation, food, etc).
Of course, all these depends on your ability and experience. And can I be frank with you? If you’re struggling to find a job in Philippines, it might be the same case when you’re in Dubai. You may need to develop both your skills and personality. If you are lucky enough to be called for interview, make sure you are 101% prepared. With hundreds of job seekers vying for one role, consider all your interviews like it’s the perfect job/company for you. Exude confidence but not too much. Sell yourself but don’t be too cocky and don’t be too demure either.
Looking for a job is not easy and it’s doubly frustrating when you have a time limit (one month or 3 months depends on your visa validity). Some need to exit the country to do visa runs. Some take jobs that they don’t like just to get an employment visa. Worse, others go back home because they didn’t find any job and run out of money. I am not scaring or discouraging you. I am just letting you know the reality. Yes, there might be success stories but you only heard them because it’s a success. You will need to know the other side for you to make better decision. Besides it’s quite a big investment – both time and money.
Once you landed a job, congratulations! You are now officially an OFW and a Pinoy expat! Abide by the country’s rules and enjoy all it’s benefits. Don’t forget to save while you’re here. You may want to read some of these posts:
Let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll try my best to answer them. I’m currently in the Philippines and enjoying a short break so expect some delay in my reply. Love love love people! Very Krissy diba? Mwaaah!