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How much money is needed to move to UAE?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Lily217, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Lily217

    Lily217 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I am just enquiring about how much money is needed to set yourself up for working in the UAE (specifically Dubai). I have read about lots of schools offering paid accomodation, flight allowance and even some schools offering a settling in allowance but I am just wondering how much people have saved up before moving out there? This might seem like a bit of a silly question but I keep seeing lots about different things being paid for, it all seems too good to be true?!

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. SunsetBeach

    SunsetBeach New commenter

    I think it depends on a number of things including how much of your own stuff you ship (which may take some time to arrive and depend on visas) and how much you like to cook, watch TV, be comfortable etc.

    For instance, your kitchen may well have basics supplied but you will likely want to supplement this.
    If you like watching TV you will probably need to buy one.
    Personally, I bought a sofa as it was far more comfortable than the one supplied.

    Over the years I bought my own furniture which I then sold on leaving however I think I spent about £3k in my first month getting set up. A lot of that I could’ve waited and bought over a few months but I figured I could get set up and comfortable. Some people cope with what they bring in their case and the basics for food during those first few weeks and months.

    There were some deposits to pay on utilities too but it’s a while since I left so I can’t comment on amounts, sorry.
  3. SunsetBeach

    SunsetBeach New commenter

    I meant to add, it also depends on the school and what you are supplied with. I live elsewhere in the world now and in comparison;
    At my UAE School accommodation: kettle, microwave, electric hob, crockery, cutlery, pans, basic kitchen utensils
    Now: all of the above but also oven(s), iron and board, Hoover, kitchen knives and more. I think this is probably the top end of what would be supplied from what I gather among my colleagues who have taught across a range of countries.
  4. SunsetBeach

    SunsetBeach New commenter

    A lot of the expense is in the documentation side before leaving the UK.
    For a family this is quite a substantial lay out and most schools only cover the actual visa costs. I had to order some replacement documents then have everything stamped up with all the various organizations and costs involved.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. This is one of those, "How long is a piece of string?" questions. The domestic appliances, cutlery and so on will very much depend on the owners of the apartment, who could be the school or a private landlord. Sometimes the previous tenants buy lots of things for the apartment and then leave behind some (or most) of them for the next tenant.

    Yes, I have worked for schools that gave quite generous "settling in" allowances, but then again there are plenty that don't. One hears on the grapevine that a lot of schools in the UAE are trying to cut corners and reduce the overall costs of hiring expat teachers, so my advice would be to assume that you will have to buy some things yourself and no, the school will not reimburse you. Therefore it would be sensible to think very carefully about what you really do need to bring with you and what you could leave behind / do without / ask a friend to bring at Christmas.

    Just to make matters a little bit more complicated, I would say that your school's geographical location is an important factor in your overall financial planning. Will you need to rent or buy a car? Maybe you do not need a car to get to school every day, but what about a car for everything else? How will you carry your shopping back to your apartment when it is 40+ degrees C? What about weekends? Taxis are cheaper in the UK, of course, but very often everyone else will want one at the same time as you want one.
  6. rednelly84

    rednelly84 Occasional commenter

    When I moved over in 2010, I brought over around 1k GBP. The first month is hard as you will want to do a lot in that time socially. Also, now the visa processing is all electronic, you can set up your utilities, hire a car etc a lot quicker than in previous years. Deposits and connection fees have to be paid for utilities which school won't pay for. Also, if you have an allowance for your accommodation, you'll have to pay a deposit and agent's fees of around AED10k, again something your school won't pay for. Shipping costs upon arrival in the country will have to paid for by you which you can then get reimbursed for upon proof of receipts and paperwork. I remember my school giving an advance on their first month's salary, also known as a settling an allowance, of AED2k but it's now AED1k and comes from your first month's salary.

    It's a lot of money initially so bring more than you need. Nowadays with the cost of everything having gone up substantially in the last 7 years, I'd bring at least 1 full month's salary, if not two.
  7. Lily217

    Lily217 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for all your help! Just wondering how much realistically I had to use of my savings. Thanks!
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Another good post from rednelly84, who is probably better informed about these things than a smelly old hippo.

    Lily217, you should (in theory) get a lot of the money back (the money you have to pay for deposits etc). In the short term, however, things might be a bit difficult.
    rednelly84 likes this.
  9. Lily217

    Lily217 New commenter

    Thank you @thehippo I appreciate the help. These forums have been a great source of advice the past few weeks!
  10. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

    Something else worth noting is how your accommodation allowance will be paid. In the middle east it is common to pay your rent in a yearly lump sum. If your school pays an monthly allowance you'll need a fair whack on hand to pay your rent when you arrive. We brought 30K sterling with us to buy a car and pay a year's rent when we arrived. Other colleagues had to take out loans (which in the long run works out more expensive). We also had to buy our own furniture and appliances. Our previous school provided these but they were of such poor quality that we ended up replacing pretty much everything ourselves any way. This time we decided to just buy the things we wanted from the start.

    I second the comments on socialising- the first few months anywhere new are essential in terms of making friends and also enjoying your new home. If you are in a position where you cannot go out and enjoy your new location due to your financial situation you are less likely to be happy.
  11. Lily217

    Lily217 New commenter

    £30 k! I will need to save a fair bit more if that is the case? I have not heard of that before but I am pretty sure a lot of my friends that teach there didn't have to do that. I will definitely enquire though if I do get offered anything because that would not be possible for me to do for this September! What if your school pays for your accomodation? Would the school not be paying your first months rent?

  12. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    You wont need anywhere near that amount in loads of other parts of the world. Widen your horizons and it can be very cheap to move abroad.
  13. Jason_Bourne_

    Jason_Bourne_ Established commenter

    You will not need to bring anything like 30k with you. Firstly, why would you need to pay your own rent? Many schools provide rent free accommodation as standard and so many landlords accept multiple cheque payments to be made over the year. My advice is to bring an interest free credit card with you and use it if/when you really need to.

    Also how did you even manage to bring 30k with you in the first place especially considering it can take a number of weeks to obtain your residency permit and open your bank account?

    Finally, how did your colleagues get loans so quickly especially since most banks require 3 months salary payslips before issuing loans?
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Could I please contribute my sixpennyworth?

    I would say yes, quite a lot of schools in the ME do indeed provide the apartments for their teaching staff, so you do not have to pay a penny. This was my experience in the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and KSA. Sometimes the apartment you have been given might not be well-furnished and perhaps it is not in the most fashionable part of the city, but hey! It's a freebie and you're not paying the rent (and often the utilities are free as well).
  15. rednelly84

    rednelly84 Occasional commenter

    The above scenario is far less commonplace nowadays with the economic climate being so precarious - monthly direct debits and paying in as many as 4 cheques is fast becoming regular practice here in the UAE. As I stated, one 5k deposit (refundable at end of tenancy) and 5k agent's fees is the norm to secure an apartment.

    The vast majority of schools will provide either a fully or partly furnished apartment. Something to clarify with the individual schools. I used to receive an allowance (I opted for this) until the company pulled the plug on them. I'm actually happier in staff accommodation as I am no longer the middle man between my HR dept and my landlord.

    Two months salary is plenty to get you going if you're a single or couple. A bank account will be set up within the first couple of weeks of arrival (if in the UAE and your visa is approved). Schools usually arrange for a rep to come to you, usually from the bank that your school uses.
  16. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

  17. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

    I didn't say you would need to, merely that it is worth investigating how your accommodation allowance is paid. Mine is paid monthly yet my rent cheque is pair yearly. Yes, you can pay in 2 or 4 cheques but this invariable become more expensive as landlords charge a higher rent as there is more risk for them. We saved 2k pounds by paying in one go. Obviously if your school provides your apartment then you will not need to take the allowance.
    I had my bank account within the first two weeks of arriving- a representative of HSBC was waiting for me at the school on my first day- my school had already sent me all of the application forms. Once it was opened it was very simple to transfer the money using internet banking.
    My colleagues lived in serviced apartments until they had the required number of months salary payslips to obtain a loan.

    Many people arrive in the UAE oblivious to how the rent system works (and get caught out). If you're supplied with accommodation then you won't need to bring as much.

    I appreciate that we were at the higher end in terms of what we brought but as a family of four, planning to buy a decent car and live somewhere nice this is what we needed.
  18. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I think the most its ever cost me to move to another country was about $4000. Thats visas, excess baggage and flights all in. Admittedly i wont fly Cattle Class anymore. Havent paid a penny for accommodation since leaving Spain 10 years ago.

    Perhaps the OP wants to consider moving to a cheaper place to relocate....god knows theres enough of them.
  19. Emeritusbc

    Emeritusbc New commenter

    I moved to Abu Dhabi 2 years ago, spent about £200 on attesting my documents (uni certificates, letter of recommendation) etc. Spent £400 on flights, but that was reimbursed after 3 weeks. You just need ££ to survive the first month before payday, so how many outings you'd go on. The average cost of a night out (not a ladies night) is around £50 so depends on how much you would go out in that first month. And of course, money for groceries, any home touches you want, but a lot of that can wait until after payday.

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