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Why Dubai is a top expat destination of choice

By February 26, 2018October 3rd, 2023FinGlobal

Why Dubai is a top expat destination of choice

February 26, 2018


Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and it is also the name of the main city within the emirate of Dubai. Dubai is an extremely popular choice for expat relocation for a number of key reasons – ranging from an excellent climate, wonderful leisure facilities, an exceptional quality of life and healthcare standards.

Best city in the Middle East for expats

Dubai has again claimed number one spot for quality of living across the Middle East and Africa region according to Mercer’s 2017 Quality of Living Survey – making it the region’s top city for the fifth year in a row. Mercer’s authoritative Quality of Living Survey is the most comprehensive in the world and is compiled to assist multinational companies in compensating employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

Centre of wealth and prosperity

For expats wishing to advance their careers and earn a salary free from income tax, Dubai is a top place to move to. Initially Dubai’s wealth was built on its oil industry but it has successfully diversified its economy today and has many sectors supporting its fiscal strength including financial services, health, education, tourism and real estate.

Dubai is also regarded as a leading global tech and innovation hub with an excellent infrastructure and connectivity. The government is currently promoting Dubai as the perfect destination for global talent and startups. Top paying jobs in the region include:

  1. Statistical analysis and data mining
  2. Public policy and international relations
  3. Algorithm design
  4. Web architecture and development framework
  5. SEO/SEM marketing
  6. Middleware and integration software
  7. User interface design
  8. Renewable and sustainable energy
  9. Mining and commodities
  10. Corporate law and governance

Unrivalled lifestyle and leisure opportunities

The majority of expats live in the City of Dubai rather than the emirate as a whole. The City of Dubai is the lifestyle hub for the entire region but due to the heat it is mostly restricted to indoor air-conditioned activities ranging from opulent shopping and cinema complexes to an abundance of shopping malls and restaurants. You’ll even find theme parks that cater for everything from snowboarding to music festivals.

Tax-free earnings

One of Dubai’s top attractions is that you do not pay tax on the income you earn in the country. It’s however important to realise that if you earn your income in Dubai but are a tax resident elsewhere, you may be subject to taxation on your income.

South Africa has recently revised its laws when it comes to South African citizens living abroad. In September 2017 the South African National Treasury confirmed in Parliament that if a South African residence is living abroad, the first R1 million of foreign remuneration will be exempt from tax in South Africa if the person is outside of the Republic for more than 183 days as well as for a continuous period of longer than 60 days during a 12 month period. The effective date for this proposal has been extended to the 1st of March 2020.

At FinGlobal our tax specialists have extensive knowledge of SARS and SARB regulations and are able to offer you expert advice on your expat tax situation and other financial issues including how to financially emigrate, transfer retirement savings, claim tax refunds and access foreign exchange at highly competitive rates.

For more information about our compliant, personalised services contact us today.


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