Dubai employment contract: what to ask for

Expatriate employment is a bit different from employment in the home country. Some Dubai specifics may also add a bit of a problem if you are not prepared.

I will give you a brief overview what you should be looking at in your contract. Of course, the contract is different for everyone. This will only give you an idea what you can ask for.

Dubai business people


  • Housing is quite expensive here, so ask for a housing allowance. Most landlords also ask for an annual payment in one cheque. It would be better if it was paid by your employer rather than yourself.
  • Real estate agent fee is normally 5% of the annual lease price. Ask your employer to pay for it.
  • Housing security deposit is normally 5% as well. It is refundable but it is still some money you will have to pay immediately. Ask your employer to pay it for you and then deduct from your salary during a few following months (or from the first salary).
  • Car is a must-have in Dubai. A company car or a car allowance will make your life easier. It should be at least about a monthly rent-a-car rate.
  • Fuel is cheap, distances are quite high though. Having a fuel card will save you some money.
  • Leave ticket for the employee or the whole family once a year is normally provided by Dubai employers. Ask for a possibility to encash it instead. If your home is somewhere in Chile, it can be a good deal!
  • Schooling is expensive. Ask your company to pay for it.
  • Medical insurance will help you a lot as good healthcare in Dubai costs a fortune.

Use living cost calculator to get an overview on the cost of living in Dubai.


  • Preview visit for you and your spouse would be quite a good deal. Dubai is a city that not everyone will like, so it may be worth to have a look at it first. Read more about a preview trip.
  • One-way tickets for the whole family. Try not to pay for them yourself.
  • Visas for the family. This will save you some time and money.
  • Temporary accommodation in a serviced apartment for at least a month will help you to secure a permanent place to leave without any rush. It would be better if there was a kitchen in there. It will save you some money for eating. Otherwise, ask for a meals allowance.
  • Relocation agents are quite useful in terms of searching for a place to live, preparing documents, etc. They cost some money though.
  • Personal effects and furniture transportation and storage
  • Relocation allowance or one-off payment to facilitate your move would be nice to have. This will allow you not to transfer your home currency into dirhams to live until you get your first salary. It may also help you to pay for some stuff you will need to settle in like utilities deposits, curtains, etc.

Redundancy / end of service

Of course, almost nobody relocates thinking of being made redundant. Though given the current economic downturn, it is worth to provide yourself with some security.

  • Notice period is how many days/weeks/months they will give you in advance before the retrenchment.
  • Severance pay. You never know if the employer will fire you or not to save costs. You may have bought a car, got a loan, etc. Make sure you are paid well if you are laid off.
  • Repatriation is better to be paid by the company. Tickets for the whole family, furniture and other stuff transportation, tenancy termination fees, etc.


  • Start (entrance) date. If you are relocating within the same company, make sure your new assignment is considered a continuous employment. So that 1) you don't have a probation period and 2) you don't lose any money in case of retrenchment or resignation.
  • Sick leave and annual leave. I don't know how they are regulated by law. I have them hard-coded in my contract. Why not?

Should you have anything else to add, please feel free to add a comment.

Attached images: 


Hi I got through with Emirates Airlines as a CCE . My monthly salary would be 3729 AED. Plus a 100 AED medical benefit. Company is providing accomodation,transport,gas,shared room ,I am a vegetarian and for food we have to arrange and cook on our own . So will the offer is tempting or not . Kindly suggest

You will be able to live with this much money and probably even save some. But you won't be able to live a luxury life, that's a given.

Hey ,

really nice effort and great detailing you have done hats off :) , well I am planning to move to dubai for work , Iam married and having a son who is 6 months old, Iam an MBa and working for one of the best automobile company in the world.

I want to know how is automobile industry there in dubai and job opportunities there in automobile sector.

What are the average salaries in automobile sector having 5 yrs of work ex

at present my wife wont work bcoz my son is young, but approx after a yr she can will also work. and I also wants to save some every year so that when I plan to go back I have good amount of money to live life.

Also if possible plz mail ur email id so that I can ask u any query which I may not be able to ask on public forum.



Sumit Pawar

Hi Sumit,
I was in a different industry, so no idea about automotive. However, it is clearly seen that the automotive industry is not in its best shape in Dubai now. I would be glad to find out more information for you but I have moved out of Dubai to Singapore a few months ago.

Great Website, transparent and straight to business. Exactly "crap free". Thank you so much for your input! Great Job! Will highly recommend to others.

many best regards,


This is incredibly helpful, fair play for taking the time to put all this available to future expats. I'm just going through my contract and used this to make notes for what I want to negotiate. It really is "crap-free" :)
Maybe you can tell me what you think: I'm offered 5000 aed month, with accommodation, meals, transport to work (shuttle).. I'm afraid that might not be enough, if I don't like the staff housing and want to find my own place (the live-out allowance is 2000 aed month). I'm very tempted, but also scared I'll have to downsize my lifestyle (currently in northern europe..)
Thanks a million for the help, and for compiling all this info. You should have some donation buttons, or some way we could send some love back :)

Hi Ruby, the law in Dubai especially labour law is a joke. If they want to screew you they will. You can go to court etc but that will be complicated. Wish you good luck!

Is it normal for the employee to pay for a contract to a given lawyer? Its for a teaching job in Dubai not sure if its legitimate.

Hi Bret! It is a reasonably high offer! I would take it

I am working in the construction industry in Dubai and was made redundant two weeks ago. I was given my two months payed notice then. The question I want to ask is that I have more than a month's annual leave left and the company has "asked" me to take my remaining leave because it is not necessary for me to come into the office anymore. This is obviously being forced on me so that they don't need to pay it. What is my rights regarding this? Thanks.

Not sure how it is regulated but normally you should be able to get a payout of the unused holiday

Hi! I am in dubai for a visit paied by the emplyer i have been offered for a 20000 AED a month, i am architect and the job would be as lighting designer, could you please let me know if it a fair salary for dubai? housing would be included in the 20000 AED emplyer would pay the healt insurance only. i should ask for the rent be paid, shouldn't i?

Thank you.

Hi, I left Dubai a few months ago. Those days it was very difficult to find a job. Little warning - Dubai is hardly enjoyable if one hasn't got a job. I would try finding a job for her before coming over.

Hi thanks for all the info, very informative..

Would a annual salary of 342,000 be decent for saving some money or is this a resonably low offer, I have to pay accommadation myself.

Hi, this is a great website with lots of feedback.
I just signed a contract with a UK company in Dubai starting 1 April. I have given notice to my current employeer that I have been with years and feel vonourble as I have heard some cases in dubai where people have signed contracts and then the job never happend and left them in shit. How secure is it when both parties have signed of the contract, can the new employeer change thier mind and terminate it before I start? and if so are they obliged by UAE Labor law to pay out 3 months salary for compensation as it states on my contract that both parties have to give 3 months notice?? I am sure that this will not happen but I just want to make what my rights are just in case it happens.

Hi, I have been offered a teaching job at an intl school. 4050 AED per month. housing and medical and return flight included. Howeever, my wife will have to leave her job here in Montreal which is a loss of maybe $3000 per month before taxes. Even though it is tax free, do you think she will like trying to live in Dubai? Would she be able to find work as a nurse/psychologist/counselor, preferably the counselor aspect.
She certainly is not a housewife per se. Your comments and perspective are appreciated.

I have got job offer in Sharjah UAE in lighting industry with monthly salary of 20K AED.
Is it enough for having decent life and saving approx 1 lac/month?

Hi Rajiv, please check living cost calculator on my site.

Hi Richa, there are buses and metro system. They are pretty ok. Most bus stops are even air-conditioned. For apartments please check

Hi Divya, try or

Thanks for reply :),

well can you please tell me one more thing how secure the job is in dubai. because currently where i work this comp dont fire employees unless they havent done any big blunder, means the job is very secure, so in that compasion how much is the job security.

I hope its not like that where recession come and the company start firing employees just like that.

waiting for ur reply, thanks in advance!!



My husband has over 3 years work experience in gulf. He moved back to india after marriage so that we could be together. Now he is again interested in going back to the gulf. Are there any good websites that help you secure a job in Dubai/ gulf while you are still based in ur home country.

Hi Gustav, sounds decent :) I would go for it

I joind a Dubai Free Zone company. The contract was for a limited period of 2 years.

Suddenly, I received a termination notice with 30 days as notice period. I have handover charge, but the company has not yet paid my salary and other dues including Ex-gratia, Tickets, annual leave and gratuity, which
was mentioned in the employment letter.

The Termination notice was issued after 9 months of my joining.

Please advise,
a. what Iam entitiled to
b. What I can claim and what is the procedure

Hi Amy, please consult a lawyer. My advice can be misleading because I am not a legal expert.

Hi Ash, you may check or for jobs classifieds to get an idea on the salary ranges.

Hi, I've got a job interview set up for next week to find out more about a professor/teaching job. Here's what they are offering, is this good in your opinion?

- Around 15k-18k AED/ month (tax free)

· Unfurnished accommodation

· Relocation allowance of AED 30,000

· Annual travel tickets (or cash in lieu) to and from (Country of Origin)

· 44 working days of annual leave

· Free Health coverage

· Repatriation allowance

Hi Lauren, I believe this too late for you.... Hope you managed to find information somewhere else. The offer sounds pretty decent. Especially the leave!

Hi RK, not sure about consultants. Check I got my job as an internal move. hottest months are may-sep it gets as high as 45 degrees! Nightmare

What's the jib scene in dubai for IT persons (Java developement). What's the salary range for a person with experience of 3-4 years.

Hi Rahul! Yes it is quite ok!

Great site!
I've been in Dubai for about 3-years; i was transfered from the Principal company.
I'd like tp know what the rule/law is on Employers (Freezone company) keeping employees passports. Its rather embarrassing and i've been unable to get a precise position.
I just need some ammunition to work with.
Hope to hear from you soon.

I have job offer with one of the UK based company in Dubai. The office location is in Jebel Ali FTZ. I am thinking to send my daughter to Singapore international school in Dubai, which is in Umm Suqeim area. Please help me where is the best location to rent apartment, my budget is AED 75,000.00

Thank you

Hi Bern! JBR or Dubai Marina will be the best - right in the middle between Umm Suqeim and Jebel Ali.


What's the best way to get a job through consutltants in dubai...can u pls provide list of best job consultants in dubai.

How is weather in dubai and which r the hottest months and what's the temp like during those months.



Hi what life will it allow me in Dubai?
And of course will I be able to save money?
I live in central EU

Salary:18,000AED per month
Allowance 110,000AED per Year
Insurance Medical:Covered under company medical insurance, as per company policy.
Vacations:22 working days vacation per year

Hwo does it sound?

Thanks. Can you suggest some lawyer.

Is any free counselling available who can build confidence in hiring a lawyer.

your website is just what i needed. and while you are no longer in dubai, i would appreciate your feedback on the following.
i've received an offer for a job with a base salary of 11,500, 5000 living allowance, 1000 communications allowance, 5000 transportation allowance. 30 days paid vacation, travel back to country of citizenship. can you give me a gauge as to whether this is a good compensation by general dubai standards?


How is the public transportation system in dubai and how much is the rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in any suburb near city in dubai.



This post has been migrated from my blog

Hi ,


I am planning to move to Dubai with an american multinational based out of DIFC. I have a 3 year old and 12 years of work experience and am from indian origin.

Can you share some inputs on the below:


- what should be my ideal package?

- are benefits part of the package or are they over and above? what kind of benefits are companies offering now, i see a lot of benefits posted on your site - are all those offerred to most employees?

- is bonus over and above annual package? do companies offer bonus?

- what would be the good schools (not very expensive) in the area for my kid?

- what would be a good place to stay near by (1 bedroom) for a family of 3?



Hi, I would say there is no such things as an ideal package. It solely depends on the expectations. Please check living cost calculator for more details on costs.

The benefits depend on the employer. What I showed is what would be offered to a professional working for a multinational.

Check this link for education info.

Good area near DIFC is the old town which may be a bit pricy though.

Hie, I am considering to move to Dubai under employment contract. I would want to know if I am getting the below benefits, will it be sufficient to survive:-

§  Basic Salary – AED 6,000/-

§  Transportation Allowance – AED 1,200/-

§  Mobile Allowance – AED 200/-

§  Food Allowance – AED 700/-




Other Benefits

§  Meals 

§  Accommodation - provided by the hotel. It is a One bedroom furnished apartment.

§  Medical Insurance – provided 

§  Laundry Facility - Non-cash laundry allowance of AED 300/-

§  30 days paid leave (after completing 1 year of continues service)

§  Return ticket entitlement after completing 1 year

Will there be any steep taxes that I need to pay while working in Dubai? great advice is highly appreciated

Thank you

There are no personal income taxes at all in Dubai! :)

Overall the offer is good

Hey, this happened to me, I was supposed to start work on the 1st August, had my contract signed by myself and the GM of the hotel, only to be told on the 7th August that due to an administrative error, ny visa has been cancelled and unfortunately I will no longer be going to Doha. The contract became null and void and I had already resigned from a well paying job in South Africa. The agent was not very helpfull towards this I have been to hell and back and this time around I am being a bit more carefull. So be carefull these people think that we are deperate and choose to do with us just how they like.....Luckily my terrible time is almost over and I am getting back on my feet slowly but surely.


Hiii, I am lady from India and got a contract to work as Asst. Manager - sales with a shipping company. I have total 6  years of experience in shipping.


My Salary per month is AED 10k + Car +fuel +toll + phone+ internet. I will be traveling alone at this point of time, even my husband searching for job in Dubai.

Our plan is tat if he doesn't find any job from India then he will also come to Dubai 6 month down the line and search from there (self will sponsor him).

Other perks are: 15 % increment on annual basis and 8.33% of salary as yearly bonus + 30 days leave with ticket to and fro for India. 

Driving license self need to obtain.

Contract type - unlimited.

6 month of probation period.

Pls advise me if the given salary is enough to survive and save, as my objective of moving to Dubai is to at least save 6600 AED per month. Hiii, I am lady from India and got a contract to work as Asst. Manager - sales with a shipping company. I have total 6  years of experience in shipping.


My Salary per month is AED 10k + Car +fuel +toll + phone+ internet. I will be traveling alone at this point of time, even my husband searching for job in Dubai.

Our plan is tat if he doesn't find any job from India then he will also come to Dubai 6 month down the line and search from there (self will sponsor him).

Other perks are: 15 % increment on annual basis and 8.33% of salary as yearly bonus + 30 days leave with ticket to and fro for India. 

Driving license self need to obtain.

Contract type - unlimited.

6 month of probation period.

Pls advise me if the given salary is enough to survive and save, as my objective of moving to Dubai is to at least save 6600 AED per month. 

Thanks and Rgds


The salary is good but your savings expectations might be too high if you want to live in a decent flat.



What is Standard Salary Package for IT Project Manager with 20+ years of experience. What other benifits we can demand.




Hi, I am not familiar with the industry. Try searching, monster or dubizzle for job classifieds.

we are a couple moving to dubai, we have one child, my husband is an expat and his offer is to take 20,000 dirham per month.and his company will pay for the house rent, and insurance........but we are not sure if they will also pay for school for the little that i wont be working till we get setteled and start looking for a job is this good or would be great if u can reply asap as i need quick advise from someone with good background on dubai