- Hi, I am Ravneet Kaur, a Senior Auditor turned Tax professional.
- In 2023, I applied for Tax roles in Dubai and got selected by a leading firm… Without second thoughts, I jumped at the opportunity.
- At 24, I relocated to Dubai with no friends or connections. Here is how I did it.
Exploring opportunities in Dubai from India
In 2022, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and started my career with PwC’s acceleration centre in India.
I enjoyed my work but had a keen desire to transition to Taxation.
Unfortunately, very few tax-related opportunities came my way, echoing a common refrain: ‘You’re an auditor, why should we consider you for a role in tax?’
I stayed motivated and closely followed global tax developments. It was here that I got to know that the UAE was introducing Corporate Tax.
I saw this as an opportunity…I wasted no time; I eagerly applied for tax roles in Dubai!
My job-searching process:
- The first and most crucial step dedicating hours and hours to understanding ‘How to initiate effective job search conversations.’
- Merely asking, ‘Can you give me a job?’ is impolite and won’t get you far. Instead, I learned to start with a friendly introduction: ‘Hi, how are you? We work in the same field. What are your interests?’ Following this, I would politely inquire, ‘If there are any vacancies for this role, please let me know.’
- The next step involved using LinkedIn to identify companies within my preferred industry or firms.
- Every day, I’d spend hours reaching out to Partners, Senior Professionals, and Managers in these companies. (I often skipped HR professionals, as many of them tend not to respond.)”
I diligently followed this approach for 15 consecutive days.
The anticipation was building up… Then, one morning, I received an interview invitation from a Partner at a Top 10 Accounting and Consulting firm in Dubai. I was overjoyed but nervous.
The interview went well, and I was offered the role in their Corporate Tax team. Finally, my dream of working in taxation was becoming a reality!
I served my notice period at PwC and two months later on 10th April 2023, I was in Dubai. It still feels surreal!
Securing a job in a foreign country, particularly in the UAE, can be a daunting task. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to resign from my current position, fly to Dubai, and search for a job with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over my head.
Relocating to Dubai without any connections
Now you may ask me, ‘Was Dubai always on your mind or did you consider other countries as well?’
As a Punjabi, the stereotypical expectation was to consider Canada. However, with my limited work experience, that path would have led to starting at a lower-level position, which I wanted to avoid.
Now, shifting the focus to moving to Dubai, the experience can be summed up in one word: Uncomfortable.
I was just 24 years old and had no friends or acquaintances in the UAE.
To make the transition less daunting, my parents decided to accompany me to Dubai to help me settle in.
We booked a hotel in Bur Dubai known for its more budget-friendly options, and started seeking advice from locals about affordable housing.
Dubizzle and Facebook played a vital role in my search.
In a week I found a shared apartment with reasonable pricing in Bur Dubai. While proximity to the workplace is often ideal, the apartments around my firm, Dubai Marina, proved to be quite expensive.
My parents stayed with me for 10 days until I found suitable accommodation. And I am thankful for the support.
My cost of living
Housing Cost: I pay AED 1800 per month, which covers rent, electricity, and wifi.
Food: I have my lunch at the office food court, and for dinner, I use a tiffin service that costs me around AED 200 per month. Food expenses amount to approximately AED 3500 per month, excluding other costs.
While I’m not able to save a significant amount at the moment, I’m not overly concerned about savings during the initial 2 years.
Since salaries in India are rising and if you want to start in Dubai do not expect 2 to 3 times your Indian salary. This used to hold earlier but now India pays well too.
The company does not cover housing and transportation costs. There is no provident fund, but we do have health insurance, and I get a free ticket to India once a year.
As for bonuses, my current company does not offer them at this time. However, it’s possible that after one year, I can discuss this matter further.
In India, while salaries are on the rise, the work pressure has intensified. Simply being a Chartered Accountant (CA) is no longer sufficient; pursuing a CPA has become a necessity.
When I was a fresher at PwC, there were times when I worked from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. The work-life balance in India leaves much to be desired.
In contrast, working in the UAE offers several advantages. Despite the initial challenges the working pressure is considerably lower, allowing me time to upskill myself.
If you are paid between AED 8-10K go for it, it is good to start with.
Many professionals relocate to Dubai for career advancement.
While I cannot say much about career growth in Dubai as it has only been a few months, some of my peers have experienced it first-hand.
For instance, a colleague joined the firm ten years ago and today she is a Partner, leading a comfortable lifestyle. It is surely a motivation for all of us.
I hope for the same.