The information compiled in the FAQ session is only to be used as a guide and conditions from employer to employer may vary slightly. It is also used mainly for western candidates and further information relating to the specific content may be address to MD Talent Search (info@mdtalentsearch.com).

1. General

  1. Q: Demographics of Expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates?
  2. Q: Religion in the UAE?
  3. Q: Dress codes in the UAE?
  4. Q: What is the official language?
  5. Q: Are there restrictions on types of DVD’s, books, magazines or literature in the UAE?
  6. Q: Is the UAE Safe and Secure?
  7. Q: Can women travel freely without chaperones?
  8. Q: What would happen if a crisis or political incident occurred?
  9. Q: Representation of foreign consulates and Embassies?
  10. Q: Where can I research other topics and local information on the various regions?

2. Employment

  1. Q: What happens to my passport on arrival?
  2. Q: When can I go on Leave?
  3. Q: What are the consequences of breaking my contract?
  4. Q:Hospital Standard and protocols?
  5. Q: How do Licensing issues work?
  6. Q: What about uniforms?
  7. Q: Is overtime permitted and is it paid for?
  8. Q: Will I be covered by medical insurance?

3. Banking and Money issues

  1. Q. Salaries – General
  2. Q: Will I be able to open a bank account?
  3. Q: Will my ATM card from home still work?
  4. Q: Are credit cards accepted readily in the UAE?
  5. Q: Is the cost of living going to very expensive?

4. Contract and Visa process

  1. Q: Do I need to have a visa to go to the UAE?
  2. Q: How do I get my residency visa?
  3. Q: How long will it take to obtain my residency visa?
  4. Q: Why do I have to give my passport to the hospital when I arrive?
  5. Q: Can I have visitors in the UAE?
  6. Q: Who will arrange my flight(s) to the UAE?
  7. Q: How does the MD Talent Search recruitment process work?

5. Accommodation and Living

  1. Q: Where will I Reside?
  2. Q: Will I be sharing my apartment/house?
  3. Q: What can I expect to find in terms of furnishings?
  4. Q: What is the voltage in the UAE?
  5. Q: What kind of entertainment is available?
  6. Q: Keeping fit?
  7. Q: World NEWS, RADIO, TV, newspapers?
  8. Q: Transport in the UAE?
  9. Q: Will I be able to buy familiar products?
  10. Q: What types of schools are available for my children?
  11. Q: Can I buy alcohol in the UAE?
  12. Q: How do I make phone calls from the UAE?
  13. Q: What about an email account?
  14. Q: Where can I access the Internet? Should I bring my own computer?

1. General

  1. Q: Demographics of Expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates?

    There are around 7 million Expatriates working in the UAE. Estimates are that two thirds of professionals and 95% of the labor force makes up the workforce. In light of this, there are a huge number of professionals from around the world working and enjoying the expatriate lifestyle and they include: Americans; Australians; British; Canadians; German; Irish; Malaysians; New Zealanders; South Africans;Bangladeshis; Egyptians; Filipinos; Indians; Jordanians; Lebanese; Pakistani; Sri-Lankans etc.

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  2. Q: Religion in the UAE?

    The constitution of United Arab Emirates declares that the official religion of the UAE will be Islam. The Muslim Population of the country constitutes 96% of the total population. However predominance of Islam does not make UAE closed to followers of other religions and you can enjoy personal and religious freedom to a great extent. This is mainly due the fact that there are such a huge expatriate population in the UAE. There is a large number of churches in Dubai that are accessible to expatriates.

     

    However, during Ramadan, all residents and visitors are required to abide by restrictions imposed on Muslims. Islamic studies are mandatory for citizen children attending public schools and for Muslim children attending private schools.

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  3. Q: Dress codes in the UAE?

    The UAE is generally conservative but tolerant when it comes to dress code. The attitude to dress is relaxed, but visitors (both men and women) are advised not to wear excessively revealing clothing in public places, as a sign of respect for local culture and customs. This also applies to public beaches, where swimmers should avoid excessively revealing swimming suits. Most nightclubs require their guests not to wear shorts, caps or sport shoes on their premises. Unless otherwise indicated, official events usually require non-locals to wear formal dress; a suit and tie for men and an evening dress for women.

     

    As for the weather requirements, lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year (summer, spring and autumn), though a light sweater or cardigan could be handy when visiting a shopping mall, hotel or restaurant where the temperature might be kept too low to counter the outdoor heat. Slightly warm clothes are needed for the short winter season, especially in the evening.

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  4. Q: What is the official language?

    Arabic is the official language but English is commonly spoken and tends to be the official language within most of the organizations (certainly in all hospitals) Patient mix will of course be mostly locals and translators are available on site to assist with communicating with patients who do not speak English. Tagalog, Hindi and Urdu are also spoken by many of the expatriates who live there.

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  5. Q: Are there restrictions on types of DVD’s, books, magazines or literature in the UAE?

    Please be sensible, books which are critical of the UAE or which are politically controversial may be confiscated at airports.  Pornography is strictly prohibited!

     

    If books have covers or pictures that may be offensive, best is to remove them. DVDs, laptops etc. may be checked at customs for offensive material.

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  6. Q: Is the UAE Safe and Secure?

    There is little crime and certainly working and travelling with public transport is extremely safe. The Emirates have taken a strong stance in ensuring they do all they can to stamp out any incidents and protect its citizens and work force, though one must take cognizance of the constantly changing political arena.

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  7. Q: Can women travel freely without chaperones?

    Of course!

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  8. Q: What would happen if a crisis or political incident occurred?

    The UAE are well organized to deal with anything of such a nature and all the Embassies have excellent protocols and procedures to assist foreign nationals immediately.

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  9. Q: Representation of foreign consulates and Embassies?

    Abu Dhabi is home to all of the government ministries and foreign embassies, including those of the United States,Canada; United Kingdom; etc. For more information on other embassies please visit: http://dubai.travel-culture.com/links.shtml

    There are consulates in many of the major cities (Al-khobar, Jeddah).

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  10. Q: Where can I research other topics and local information on the various regions?

    There is so much available on various web sites (including: http://wikitravel.org/en/UAE) that even by your first trip to the UAE you should be well informed and au fait with cultural and professional issues that the transfer will be seamless and exciting.

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2. Employment

  1. Q: What happens to my passport on arrival?

    When you arrive you will hand your passport to the HR department to have a residency permit (Iqama) issued, which usually takes a couple of weeks. Once your Iqama has been issued your passport will be returned to you.

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  2. Q: When can I go on Leave?

    Typically an expatriate contract provide between 30 and 40 calendar days of vacation per year depending on the employer.  No vacation can be taken during the first three months of the contract, which is considered the probationary period. Leave applications are reviewed according to the hospital policy and it is always worthwhile to plan ahead and arrange time off well in advance..

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  3. Q: What are the consequences of breaking my contract?

    No contract should be broken lightly and the same applies in the UAE. The mobilization costs for the employer are generally quite high and re-applying is often frowned upon and difficult to negotiate. This means you should take your decision very seriously but should you wish to terminate your contract you may do so in line with Its’ particular terms .

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  4. Q:Hospital Standard and protocols?

    The health care system in the UAE compares to some of the best centers in the western world. Most of the hospitals employing western staff are accredited by The Joint Commission International(JCI); Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation from Canada(CCSHA) or Australian Health Council Accreditation(ACHSI). University teaching hospitals and tertiary-care referral hospitals treat the general public.  Private hospitals treat either specific populations or are strictly for profit.

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  5. Q: How do Licensing issues work?

    As a general rule always keep your license obtained in your home country active and current while you are working in the UAE, and of course do have it with you!  Nurses, doctors, and allied health professionals also must obtain a license with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi or Dubai Health Authority.  An exam is sometimes necessary, but you will have to provide certain documents depending on the particular requirements at the licensing body.

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  6. Q: What about uniforms?

    Uniforms are provided in different quantities and styles and all the information will be in the relevant contract. Remember to bring your own shoes as although you can buy running shoes it’s best to have your own comfortable pair on arrival!

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  7. Q: Is overtime permitted and is it paid for?

    Contracts generally state overtime is at 1.5, the UAE Labour Law counts your days off as paid days.

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  8. Q: Will I be covered by medical insurance?

    Employees are eligible to receive medical care in the UAE. However, certain things may not be covered like: cosmetic surgery, Basic Dental and Optometry. It is always recommended that you consider an additional travel policy if you travel outside the UAE.

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3. Banking and Money issues

  1. Q. Salaries – General

    Salaries are usually paid into the local currency the Dirham, commonly referred to as the “AED”(abbreviations include DH or Dhs).  The dirham has been pegged to the US dollar. 1 U.S. dollar = 3.6725 dirham.

     

    Salaries are not subject to local taxes, and are paid monthly. However, it is important that you check your individual situation with a tax accountant as your foreign income may be taxed in your home country.

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  2. Q: Will I be able to open a bank account?

    The employer will assist in opening your account and your salary will be paid into this monthly. Interest is not earned and most people transfer their excess funds to an investment account off shore and there is plenty of information and options tailored to your preference or individual needs. Access to the Internet makes transfers into an offshore account very simple worldwide.

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  3. Q: Will my ATM card from home still work?

    Yes. ATM machines accept cards from all over the world via systems like; Visa, MasterCard, American express, Cirrus etc. You can also get an ATM card for your local UAE Bank account.

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  4. Q: Are credit cards accepted readily in the UAE?

    All major credit cards are accepted though of course if you are shopping in the local markets or soukhs it is best to have cash and enjoy the culture of bargaining for your best price!!!

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  5. Q: Is the cost of living going to very expensive?

    Local goods are very reasonably priced while imported brands may be a bit more expensive.

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4. Contract and Visa process

  1. Q: Do I need to have a visa to go to the UAE?

    Yes.  MD Talent Search will request your visa (as well as those for eligible family members*) from the hospital and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Obtaining a work visa is a lengthy and complex process which may require verification of educational and experience credentials, an extensive medical examination, and a police clearance.  The process is different for every country and we will review the process with you for your particular situation.

     

    * Married-status contracts, If Married status are approved you will be expected to join initially on your own, until you have received you IQAMA (Work Permit) before you will be allowed to sponsor your family. This process can take up to two months

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  2. Q: How do I get my residency visa?

    The employer arranges your Igama which is your residency visa and is similar to a driver’s license with a photo ID and should be carried on you at all times.

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  3. Q: How long will it take to obtain my residency visa?

    This process can be a couple of weeks but we always err on the side of a conservative estimate of around 8 weeks.

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  4. Q: Why do I have to give my passport to the hospital when I arrive?

    You must give the hospital your passport, so that they can obtain your Iqama.

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  5. Q: Can I have visitors in the UAE?

    Offcoarse, but they may have to apply for a visa, please visit http://www.uaeinteract.com/travel/visas.asp#visa for more information

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  6. Q: Who will arrange my flight(s) to the UAE?

    MD Talent Search will arrange all the details with the hospital and arrange your flight from your point-of-hire to the city where you will be working. The hospital pays for your flight and will have a preferred airline and route negotiated with their own travel agency.

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  7. Q: How does the MD Talent Search recruitment process work?

    Please see our recruitment process outlined on our Application Process page.

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5. Accommodation and Living

  1. Q: Where will I Reside?

    Usually employees has the option to choose between hospital-paid accommodation or receive an allowance depending on his/her contractual agreement

     

    Hospital paid Accommodation- Depending on the terms and conditions of employment, the employee maybe assigned a apartment or a single sharing apartment. The Management will however, exercise discretion as to the actual apartment location/room assignment, taking into consideration the availability and the rental cost at the time. All Company provided accommodation is furnished with a standard set of furniture and basic appliances like refrigerator, air-condition, telephone, stove, oven, dish washer, beds etc. unless otherwise stated.

     

    Housing Allowance– Depending on the terms and conditions of employment, the employee may apply for a housing allowance together with a furniture allowance (conditions may apply) in order to seek his/her own accommodation.

     

    Newly joined employees who will be staying in the staff accommodation (permanent or temporary) will receive a Welcome Pack courtesy of the Company.

     

    Please note that the information above is only a guide and housing differs quite significantly between employers and contracts and for more information please contact us on info@mdtalentsearch.com

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  2. Q: Will I be sharing my apartment/house?

    Physicians and most senior administrative positions are entitled to non-shared housing.  All other contracts receive either single or shared accommodations depending on the contract or availability, with a maximum of two other housemates.

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  3. Q: What can I expect to find in terms of furnishings?

    Ussually Cutlery, dishes, pots, pans, a kettle, and toaster come with the apartment/Villa, as do basic appliances such as a fridge and stove.  Sometimes, washers and dryers are either in the individual apartment/Villa unit or in a communal laundry room if you are on a single contract (there is no charge). Utilities are included, and basic TV channels are included.  If you want more channels you can purchase satellite packages that include stations such as ESPN, CNN, BBC, the Movie Channel, etc. Internet connections are easily available.

     

    Please note that the information above is only a guide and housing differs quite significantly between employers and contracts and for more information please contact us on info@mdtalentsearch.com

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  4. Q: What is the voltage in the UAE?

    The voltage can be either 120 and/or 220 volts depending on the accommodations.

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  5. Q: What kind of entertainment is available?

    Life in Saudi Arabia like most places in the world is what you make it and can be filled with many different activities that include visiting historical sites, sporting events, and some of the best culinary delights around!  Dinner parties, 4×4 outings, desert camping, and beach parties are held almost every weekend.  Embassies host receptions regularly and there is a strong amateur dramatic society to fulfill your creative side.

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  6. Q: Keeping fit?

    You will be amazed at the variety of facilities available, there is something for everyone, Athletic events, include, tennis, running, rugby, and soccer.  Popular marathons and weekly runs bring the enthusiastic and the super-fit together for plenty of fun. Private Fitness clubs have sprung up everywhere but, be wary, they can be costly.  The residential pool facilities and tennis courts freely available on the hospital grounds or in the compound are the most common choice. There are also a number of and sand golf courses

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  7. Q: World NEWS, RADIO, TV, newspapers?

    No worries there are numerous radio and TV channels including cable with dedicated movie, sports and news available 24 hours per day (CNN, BBC, CNBC etc). In addition, there are a number of daily English papers: Al-Khaleej Time, The National, and Gulf News.

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  8. Q: Transport in the UAE?

    Transportation in the United Arab Emirates is mainly possible by means of cars followed by buses and then motorcycles.

     

    Limousines, taxis, shuttles abound that are extremely well priced and affordable. Women are permitted to drive in the UAE, but the hospital do provide transport from your residence (if you reside on company accommodation ) to work and back as well as local shopping malls throughout the city.

     

    The official taxis are the recommended means of transport if you have not purchased a car yet, however cars are very well priced and In order to own a car, the only requirement is for you to have a UAE residence visa.

     

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  9. Q: Will I be able to buy familiar products?

    The range and variety of retailers and goods compares well with the big cities around the world and there will be very few brands of food or clothing that may be difficult to find.

    • Pharmacies are well stocked though you are advised to bring your own medication if you have a chronic ailment as often the generics or patented medicines may vary.
    • Computers and electronics are well priced and all the premium brands available.
    • Local artifacts, beautiful carpets and exquisite gold jewellery in malls and the markets or soukhs will provide hours of pleasure for the enthusiastic shoppers

     

    Restaurants and Bistros

     

    Gastronomic delights from both Middle Eastern cuisine and International selections, the UAE know how to enjoy their food and eating out is considered a very social and family time and the restaurants and pavement cafes are always filled with people enjoying the wonderful menus on offer. Most of the restaurants are very well priced…….

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  10. Q: What types of schools are available for my children?

    There are a large number of private schools available and there both the British and American curriculum available (including French etc), though it is expensive and we really only recommended for those expatriates who qualify for assistance for children’s education. For information on the specific schools please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_schools_in_the_United_Arab_Emirates

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  11. Q: Can I buy alcohol in the UAE?

    Yes. Despite being a Muslim country, Alcohol is available all over the UAE. Alcohol is essentially available in most hotels, which have a license to sell alcohol. Some hotels do not serve alcohol, but in most, you will be able to enjoy a drink, at a restaurant, bar or nightclub as you would in any tourist destination. This fact alone has lead to a large majority of the nightlife being associated with the hotels.

    To be able to purchase from the off licenses, you will require a permit that allows you to spend a certain amount of your salary per month on purchasing from these offices, such as A&E (African & Eastern), MMI, Spinney’s Liquor and GMP. To obtain this license, you can either get your PRO to do it for you or you can fill in an application form from the stores who will arrange it with the police and authorities. You will need a whole range of documents including, a salary certificate, housing contract, signature from your employer, passport and visa copies, passport photos, and 150Dhs in cash. You will have to renew it annually. While the limit does exist in practice, the booze stores are often prepared to stamp unused allocations for previous months.

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  12. Q: How do I make phone calls from the UAE?

    From either, a fixed line, mobile or calling card. Most Cell phones will work in the UAE and phone cards are available in the malls as well as many hospitals will have them on offer on site. However, note that the is going to block sending e-mails, accessing the internet, and delivering instant messages to other Blackberry handsets.

    See Article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10830485

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  13. Q: What about an email account?

    It is recommended that you register for a free email account such as Gmail or Hotmail before you leave home.

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  14. Q: Where can I access the Internet? Should I bring my own computer?

    You can access the Internet from basically anywhere, home, work etc. All Internet traffic is processed through centralized servers that filter content that is contrary to Islamic values, so some sites will not be available (particularly those with content that is sexually explicit, religious, or violent). It is recommended that if you have a laptop to bring it with, otherwise you could easily purchase one in the UAE as they are relatively cheap.

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