To start off the posts of ‘Serious Stuff’ on NRIinOz.com, I want to answer a question my husband and I keep getting asked all the time. We’ve been asked by friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, at interviews and almost EVERY person who learns we have moved to Australia from Dubai.
Why did you leave Dubai?
I love Dubai
I have to admit, I absolutely love Dubai. Dubai spoils you with its luxuries. I have spent around 19 years in Dubai and a decade before that in Bahrain. (Don’t ask me how old I am, you NEVER ask a lady her age! 😉 What all the expats and aspiring expats including my family love about Dubai is:
Dubai is an extremely safe place.
There are always specific areas in any country that are considered unsafe and the same applies for Dubai. But for most parts, you can safely walk alone on the streets even past midnight.
Dubai is super clean.
It is as clean as clean can get. The municipality really makes an effort to keep the place spic and span.
It is beautiful.
I know some people see Dubai as just a conrete jungle. But on one hand you have the beautiful blue beaches and on the other hand you have gorgeus desserts that you can get to in just a one or two hour drives.
Dubai is a place filled with people from all over the world. There are people from Middle East, America’s, Europe, Asia, the USSR and every continet and country. I don’t know which other country has this kind of diversity – it is melting pot of cultures where people live in harmony.
Tax free Income
This is the biggest draw that attracts people to Dubai. But mind you, the peer pressure of branded wear, luxury cars, expensive schools, spending and retail culture Dubai tempt you to blow off what you are saving in tax(and even more) on these luxuries you may not necessarily care about back home. You have to really be careful about these things if you do want to have some real savings – especially for those of us from Asian countries that don’t have a robust public healthcare and pension system to go back to.
So if it such an amazing place, why did I leave Dubai?
The decision broke my heart. But the main reason we left Dubai is because I know I cannot live there forever. No matter how many years you give to Dubai, unless you have a non-collapsable business empire, you have to leave at some point. You have a visa linked to your job(or business) that renews every 2 or 3 years.
So no job(or no business)= no visa = you cannot live in the country anymore
I have seen entire families getting uprooted after emergencies, be it medical, financial, death of the family’s main bread earner or ultimately at retirement. My parents had to leave out of the blue when my father got ill. Atleast me and my siblings had finished our studies and were already working when he had to resign from his job. If we were still his visa dependents or studying, we would have to leave or get a job to continue staying as my mom was a house wife.
For emergencies in families with younger children, it means packing up your entire life in Dubai and going back to your home country, which can be a daunting experience. Especially since so many expat children are connected to their home countries for only those few weeks during their annual summer vacations.
It may seem like I am looking at the worst case scenario, but I personally didn’t want to leave my tenure in Dubai left to chance. If you are someone who does plan to spend a lot of your life in Dubai, you need to be well planned about your back up plan in terms of finances, savings, be connected to your roots back home, ensure you have your Will is registered (as Sharia law applies by default otherwise- being a male means your moeny and assets don’t go to your wife and children but to your parents and siblings) and more to safeguard your family’s future.
In my next series if posts, I will share about my learnings from my move to Australia.
Disclaimer: Any information herein is not intended nor does it constitute health, financial, tax, legal, investment, or other advice. Before making any decision or taking any action regarding your health, you should consult a qualified Medical Practitioner. Before making any decision or taking any action regarding your finances, you should consult a Financial Adviser.