In the beginning of the 20th century people looking for a job in Dubai found it mostly in the port and in the trading sector because of its strategic geographical location near the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Oil was discovered in 1966 which brought in international oil interests and massive entry of foreign workers who traded being close to their families for a career in Dubai. The modern emirate of Dubai was born when the U.K. left in 1971 and together with five other emirates formed U.A.E. In 1979 foreign companies were allowed unrestricted import of workers when they built a free trade zone in the area around the port of Jebel Ali, which has the biggest man made harbor in the world. During the 1990’s the Gulf War had a heavy negative impact on the economy of Dubai and only slowly recovered afterwards.
At the start of the 21st century Dubai has become a business center and a global city and although its economy in the past was largely based on the oil industry nowadays its business model drives the economy producing revenue from financial services, real estate and tourism and many foreign contract workers have come for a job in Dubai in these industries. The Emir, meanwhile, in his bid to attract more attention and visitors to Dubai ordered the construction of many spectacularly designed hotels, residential, and business areas, office buildings and commercial centers such as the Burj Dubai – the tallest building in the world, Burj Al Arab – the world’s most expensive hotel shaped like a sail, The World – artificial residential/commercial islands shaped like the worlds continents, Palm Jumeirah – man-made residential/commercial islands grouped together to shape like a palm tree, and Atlantis – another 5 star hotel situated at the focal point of Palm Jumeirah as well as many other innovatively designed construction projects. This construction boom in Dubai has brought in a massive influx of foreign workers applying for employment in Dubai in different areas of construction such as masons, carpenters, and welders as well as engineers. Lately though with the current global economic crisis there has been an emerging problem of workers either not being paid or paid a fraction of what they had been promised by unscrupulous employment agencies as well as other problems concerning the large population of foreign workers who are mostly from south Asian countries.
Employment outlook for jobs in Dubai is good especially for the locals since almost all if not all government jobs, which are generally higher paying with less workload and some prestigious private sector jobs are only reserved for emirates. Currently if you are looking for or considering a job in Dubai you must take note of some hard facts about the employment situation there. For one thing, employment in Dubai and, for that matter, the whole of the U.A.E. has a big difference from employment elsewhere. In Dubai there’s no such thing as a minimum wage, there are some, as unskilled laborers working up to 12 hrs per day and get paid as little as $8.00. Skilled workers do have fixed work hours and a fixed salary. Another thing is that where you come from usually affects your salary grade. Like for example a European working the same job as an Indian earns $800, while the Indian only receives half this amount – this is outright discrimination but is common there. Also, there is an ongoing emiratization wherein the locals are slowly replacing foreign expatriates for prestigious private sector jobs in banking and education sectors.
Other important things to note when considering for a jobs in Dubai are: 1) You will have to transfer your visa to the company you work for; 2) You will be fined Dhs.10, 000 if caught working for more than 1 company; 3) DO NOT give your passport to the company you work for, they don’t have a right to keep your passport; 4) Consider taking legal action if you don’t get paid for more than a month.
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