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Living in Dubai

Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) whilst being a well-known hub for ambitious tax and transfer pricing expats. Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, it is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven Emirates that constitute the country. 

A global city and business hub of the Middle East, it is also a major transportation hub for passengers and cargo. Oil revenue drove the remarkable development of the city, which was already a major trading hub. A growing centre for regional and international trade since the early 20th century, Dubai’s economy today relies on revenues from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate and financial services. 



To legally work in Dubai, tax and transfer pricing expats must first obtain employment and subsequent sponsorship from an employer. You must apply for a job as normal, attend the interview and if you are successful, the employer will support you with the visa application. Find out more about moving to the UAE and how to organise visa and work permits.


Despite the UAE’s tax-free status, which proves very attractive to expats, the cost of living in Dubai is particularly expensive, in fact, the most expensive in the Middle East. According to a Deutsche Bank report entitled ‘Mapping the World’s Prices 2019’, Dubai ranks 14th for high monthly salaries in the world and 11th in disposable income. 

Lifestyle depends on preferences and income, with Dubai offering something for everyone including those with expensive taste. A more modest lifestyle is always available if you are strong-willed enough to avoid the luxuries that Dubai has to offer! 

According to the Mercer report on the quality of living, Dubai leads the middle east region for the 7th consecutive year – ranking 74th across the world. In the period between 1998 and 2018, Dubai has increased living standards by 12.2%. This is attributable to improvements in infrastructure, especially airports and public transport, an attractive economic environment for local and foreign businesses, as well as a focus on creating dynamic new recreational and entertainment facilities that have continued in 2019. 


Rent Per Month 

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 

Average  - €1,437.42  

Range - €970.74 – €1,941.48 

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 

Average - €974.44 

Range - €728.06 – €1,213.43 

Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 

Average  - €2,736.94  

Range - €2,062.82– €3,640.28 

Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 

Average  - €1,908.28  

Range - €1,456.11– €2,669.54 


Walking in Dubai is exceptionally difficult; not just because of the heat. The lack of pavements, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings make travel on foot quite treacherous. It is not uncommon to have to take a taxi to the other side of the road! 

Dubai Metro is a modern and fully automated rail system with red and green lines, providing many great features and a convenient way to travel, including retail outlets, wireless connections and ATMs. 

The Dubai bus service covers 87% of Dubai’s urban area and is designed to facilitate access to every corner of Dubai. 

The most common mode of transport is by taxi. The city has a fleet of nearly 4000 taxi drivers operating 24/7, including public and Islamic holidays.


Due to the extensive number of tax expats living in Dubai, there is a range of International schools. These schools are all privately run and adhere to high standards. Different schools run different curriculums such as British, American or IB programmes. 

Though there are many to choose from, spaces can be limited. Thus, it is recommended to liaise with schools as soon as possible to ensure your child is enrolled in your preferred choice. 

For the Dubai area, the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau is a good place to visit to gain an Inspector’s view of potential schools.  

Parents walking girl to school
First Day of School in Dubai

Utilities (Monthly) 

Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment          

Average -  €146.42 

Range - €97.07-€242.69


1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 

Average -  €0.10

Range - €0.07-€0.24 

Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 

Average -  €88.20 

Range - €72.56-€121.34 

A pathway to walk in Dubai City
Dubai City

If you are interested in a move to Dubai or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, across Direct Tax, Transfer Pricing or Indirect Tax please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, view our current International Tax vacancies. 

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