OFW TIPS: How is it like to be working in the United Arab Emirates?

How is it like to be working in UAE?

In April to September 2018, 15.7 percent of 2.3 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) worked in the United Arab Emirates. Nevertheless, some Filipinos are still adamant that UAE is not an ideal and safe place to be working and living in. In this week’s blog post, Subnet RTA will share with you some facts about the UAE that you should know in case you are planning to move or work there.

UAE is a modern fairy-tale country

SafeAround describes the UAE as “the country, the real miracle in the desert that continues endlessly to impress and delight. The turquoise water and white sandy beaches attract more than 15 million tourists per year. The UAE is a paradise for shopping lovers as the biggest mall in the world is there.”

In addition, UAE is the home of the tallest structure and the longest zipline in the world. One of its cities, Dubai, is ranked as the fourth most visited city in the world for the fourth straight year, according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) 2018. Meanwhile, its capital city, Abu Dhabi has once again been named the fastest growing city in the Middle East and Africa.

UAE is the 31st safest country in the world 

On the safest and most dangerous countries ranking, UAE is ranked 31st with 78.2% safety index. This translates to low overall risk including pickpockets, mugging, scams, transport and taxis, natural disasters, terrorism, and women travellers’ risks.

In a news report published in 2018, Lt-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security in Dubai said “the rate of premeditated murders in the country is 0.3 per cent for every 100,000 people. It is a figure making the country the safest worldwide.”

UAE has a thriving expatriate community

If you are worried that you will feel left out when you live in the UAE, you should leave all your worries behind, because this country has more expatriates as residents than Emiratis themselves. Based on the data compiled by Global Media Insight, the total expat population in the UAE in 2018 is 8.45 million or 88.52% of the country’s total population. Filipinos comprise 5.56% of this expat community. English is widely spoken and understood, so Filipinos will not have a hard time communicating even with the locals.

UAE has no income tax

In the Philippines, people are no longer unknown to tax. Filipinos pay taxes as mandated by the government. Personal income tax rate averaged 32.20 percent from 2004 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 35 percent in 2018 and a record low of 32 percent in 2005. On the other hand, in UAE there is no income tax, which means your salaries are yours to keep. The UAE government may have introduced VAT for the first time on most goods and services in 2018, but at the low rate of 5%.

UAE has unusual laws that Filipinos can easily follow

Coming from a very religious and family-oriented background, Filipinos can easily follow the local laws in UAE no matter how unusual they may seem.

UAE Local Laws Filipino Culture and Norms
  • Behaving properly in public
  • Filipinos are decent, respectful, and strict in nature
  • Dressing modestly especially for women
  • Filipinos are known for being conservative so this will not be a problem
  • Not eating in public places during Ramadan
  • Filipinos respect other religions as they are religious as well
  • Getting married before living together
  • Filipinos are very traditional and believe in the sanctity of marriage
  • Not driving a dirty car
  • Filipinos are naturally clean people, which reflects even on the things they own like their cars

Other laws that Filipinos and other expatriates should strictly follow when living in the UAE are:

  • Not engaging in any public display of affection
  • Not using vulgar languages even in WhatsApp
  • Not touching someone else’s phone
  • Not spreading rumors
  • Not taking and distributing pictures of military buildings, courts, and accidents
  • Not photographing people without their permission
  • Not using VPN connections
  • Not raising funds for charitable purposes

As a Muslim country, the UAE’s state religion is Islam and the legal system incorporates Sharia Law. If you plan to move into UAE, it is important that you familiarize yourself with these things so that you will know what to expect in your new country. While most Filipinos are non-Muslims, the best tip for any OFW is to learn to respect religion and to abide by the law. If you will be able to do that, you’ll get the most that the UAE has to offer for any expatriate living there.

Interested to work in the United Arab Emirates? You may click to visit our Jobs page if you want to know more about our job openings or see related UAE jobs below:

You may read more OFW Tools, Information, Pointers, and Skills Set (TIPS) on our blog or reach out to us for consultation by clicking the links below.


Explore the world. Work abroad.
Apply at Subnet RTA today.

Registered as Subnet Recruitment Training and Assessment Services Inc. on the POEA website, our recruitment agency searches, recruits, documents, processes, and deploys highly skilled, professional, and competent workers from the Philippines to any international destination.

– Global Media Insight. “UNITED ARAB EMIRATES POPULATION STATISTICS (2019)”. globalmediainsight.com. https://www.globalmediainsight.com/blog/uae-population-statistics/ (accessed June 11, 2019)

– Gulf News. “Low murder rate makes UAE one of safest nations”.gulfnews.com. https://gulfnews.com/uae/government/low-murder-rate-makes-uae-one-of-safest-nations-1.2158926(accessed June 10, 2019)
– MasterCard. “Dubai one of the World’s Most Visited Cities: Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2018”. newsroom.mastercard.com. https://newsroom.mastercard.com/mea/press-releases/dubai-one-of-the-worlds-most-visited-cities-mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2018/ (accessed June 11, 2019)
– MoveHub. “21 Things to Know Before You Move to the UAE”.movehub.com. https://www.movehub.com/uk/moving-abroad/uae/20-reasons/ (accessed June 10, 2019)
– SafeAround. “Is the UAE a Safe or Dangerous Country?”.safearound.com. https://safearound.com/danger-rankings/ (accessed June 11, 2019)
– SafeAround. “World’s Safest Countries”. safearound.com.https://safearound.com/asia/united-arab-emirates/ (accessed June 11, 2019)
– Trading Economics. “Philippines Personal Income Tax Rate”. tradingeconomics.com. https://tradingeconomics.com/philippines/personal-income-tax-rate (accessed June 11, 2019)
– TravelInsider. “The top 12 unusual laws of the UAE that every tourist should know”. must2go.com. https://must2go.com/blog/en/the-top-12-unusual-laws-of-the-uae-that-every-tourist-should-know/ (accessed June 11, 2019)


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