Moving to UAE from India, as a Finance Professional? We have answered 17 essential FAQs for you
The UAE is a popular destination for expats. If as a Finance Professional from India, you are considering moving to the UAE, here is everything you need to know to make the transition simpler.
- The United Arab Emirates is a popular destination for expats, thanks to Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed's AED 32 trillion economic plan.
- Wondering how you can apply for a job in the UAE as an expat, or what industries are hiring Finance Professionals the most?
- We have answered some frequently asked questions to make your journey to the UAE smoother.
Q. Is it difficult to get a job in UAE from India?
Short answer, Yes it is difficult.
Since there are a lot of candidates physically available in the UAE. This means that if a company needs to hire a finance professional they don't need to look outside the UAE.
That is why it is suggested that you come to the country on a 30 or 90-day tourist visa (costs Approx. ₹15,000- ₹ 18,000), and search for jobs.
You need to enter UAE within 60 days from the date of issuance of the visa.
- In India, Visa is issued by many agencies like VFS, BLS, Musafir.com, etc. A return ticket is mandatory for visiting UAE.
- Ensure that you have 3 months of savings to survive in the UAE as per the UAE cost of living. This varies periodically, but more or less comes to INR 2 -3 lakh.
- Once you come to the UAE, consider the job search as a job itself. Spend 8-10 hours a day sending applications to your preferred companies.
- Reaching out directly to HR and the Senior management for the job applied and getting the interview scheduled is also a good option.
- Networking also enables you to take advantage of your personal and business connections, rather than relying solely on your resume.
- Look for shared accommodation, or rent an apartment with a small kitchen. This would save you a couple hundred Dirhams.
However, in 2023 we have seen a lot of CA and boutique consulting Firms in Dubai hire freshers directly from India. But in such cases expect to be hired at a monthly compensation of approx AED 5-6K per month.
Q. When is the best time to come to the UAE to find a job?
What makes the UAE hiring scenario different is its seasonal recruitment.
The summer months (June to August) including the month of Ramadan can be particularly hot and humid In the UAE. This makes job hunting more challenging.
Some job seekers may prefer to come during the cooler months, that is from October to April.
If you are lucky it would only take you 4 weeks to get a job. The worst-case scenario would be 1 to 3 months. It takes time with the visa process.
Overall, it is recommended to research the job market and industry trends before planning a trip to the UAE for job hunting.
Q. What Finance qualifications do companies in the UAE look for?
The specific qualifications required for finance jobs in UAE companies may vary depending on the job position and the industry.
However, some common qualifications and skills that are often required for finance jobs in the UAE include:
- A relevant Bachelor's or Master's degree (e.g., accounting, finance, economics)
- Professional certifications like CPA, CFA, ACCA, and CA (Semi-qualified CAs with article experience are also valued.
- Experience in a similar role
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- Knowledge of relevant financial laws and regulations
- Proficiency in financial software and tools
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
There is also a local qualification namely Emirates Certified Public Accountant (ECPA) that you can obtain. The ECPA is one of the most popular and useful certifications for accountants in the UAE.
This Certified Public Accountant certification is licensed by the United Arab Emirates.
To earn the prestige designation, individuals are required to demonstrate their knowledge and competence by passing the ECPA Exam online, meeting high educational standards and completing a specified amount of general accounting experience.
Q. What are the most popular industries and sectors in the UAE hiring Finance Professionals?
UAE's economy is the fifth largest in the Middle East with a GDP of US$503 billion (AED 1.84 trillion) in 2022.
The country has always pushed its limits in order to boost its economy. The visionary leadership of the Emirati government has contributed to the transformation of the concept of business incorporation.
And the following sectors and industries played a vital part.
Oil and Gas:
- Approx 3 million barrels of oil are produced every day in the UAE.
- Oil and Gas is one of the most established sectors in the UAE with lots of opportunities for Finance Professionals.
Banking and Financial Services:
- The banking sector has grown tremendously, as a result of inflows from various other sectors like Oil and Gas, real estate and Tourism.
- With many Fintechs coming to UAE, huge growth in the banking sector is expected in the near future along with a wide scope of job opportunities.
- A few of the large banking groups in UAE are – First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) (Dubai), Emirates NBD (Dubai), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (Abu Dhabi), First Gulf Bank (Abu Dhabi), RAK Bank (Ras Al Khaimah).
- Most of the Job openings can be viewed in the Banks career portal.
- The UAE government is working on minimising the country's financial reliance on oil and gas revenue.
- The real estate industry is a critical pillar of the UAE's economic diversification.
- According to various reports, the real estate industry accounts for roughly 7% of the UAE's GDP overall.
- Furthermore, increased interest in foreign investment (Thanks to Golden Visa) and tourism attracts more opportunities in this industry.
- EMAAR, Nakheel, Dubai Properties, DAMAC Properties, and Kingdom Real Estate Development are a few well-known real estate corporations.
- The well-established Hospitality Industry of the UAE has over 1,00,000 four-star and five-star hotels in Dubai.
- The UAE now hosts one of the richest hospitality markets in the world.
- The industry is expected to grow 25% by 2030 according to a report by KPMG.
- The manufacturing sector is growing in order to meet the demands of other ancillary industries in the economy.
- With the advantages of High seas trading, there are many businesses with Commodity trading and other trading activities.
- Dubai has become one of the most prominent contributors to the Middle Eastern E-commerce sector, surpassing Abu Dhabi, which has a significantly greater population than Dubai.
Owing to all the aspects mentioned above, lots of job vacancies are being created for Finance Professionals on a daily basis.
Q. What is the startup ecosystem like in the UAE?
The startup ecosystem in UAE has been rapidly growing in recent years.
Initiatives such as Dubai Future Accelerators, Dubai Startup Hub, and Abu Dhabi Global Market's Innovation Centre are providing support to startups.
The UAE has also implemented policies and regulations to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, such as the introduction of the new Startup Law in 2021.
UAE’s top-notch infrastructure, be it well-structured port facilities, or airline connectivity has been attracting entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in the country.
Major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become hubs for tech startups and venture capital investment, with notable success stories like Careem, Souq.com, and Fetchr.
D-Tec (Dubai) and Hub 71 (Abu Dhabi) are world-class tech ecosystems providing an optimal business environment for entrepreneurial-minded innovators.
It offers a high amount of grants ranging from AED 500,000 to AED 3 Million along with insurance and accommodation for staff for startups.
In 2018 UAE region had few VCs and now has almost 30 operating VCs.
Moreover, there are 45 Freezones operating in UAE to boost the startup Ecosystem with required support services. (A free zone company in the UAE is a company registered in a special economic zone that falls under a specific Emirate.)
As of 2021, there were 450,000+ registered companies in the UAE. The country has 360,000 businesses registered for VAT and 160+ listed companies.
On top of that the Ministry of Economy has declared that the SME sector accounts for more than 94% of all companies in the country. They employ more than 86% of the private sector's workforce.
Q. What are some Tier II Professional Services Firms in UAE?
Professional services firms refer to businesses that provide specialized services to clients. These services can include legal, accounting, consulting, engineering, and more.
Tier II professional services firms are typically smaller and less well-known than the larger, top-tier firms, but they still offer high-quality services and expertise in their respective fields.
In the UAE, there are many tier II professional services firms that provide a range of specialized services to businesses and individuals.
- Grant Thornton
- Baker Tilly
- HLB HAMT
- UHY JAMES
- Kreston Menon
- Mayur Batra & Co.
- Premier Brains
- Crowe Horwath Chartered Accountants
These Firms in UAE also hire Finance Professionals for Assurance, Advisory and Consultancy roles like the Big 4s.
Q. What are some sought-after Finance job roles in UAE? And what kind of salary can a Finance Professional expect?
Almost every industry has a demand for 2 types of roles – Accounting and Finance and Sales/Business Development.
Here are the types of roles that are available for Finance Professionals in the UAE.
- Chief Financial Officer - AED57k - AED100k PM*
- Financial Manager - AED21k - AED38k PM*
- Financial Controller - AED19k - AED54k PM*
- Chief Accountant - AED 13k - AED 21k PM*
- Finance Director - AED41.5k - AED64.5k PM*
- CEO or Operational roles - AED 55k - AED 117k PM*
- VAT Accountant / Tax Accountant - AED 4k - 12k PM*
- Business Analyst - AED 15k - AED 26k PM*
- Financial Analyst - AED 11k - AED 23k PM*
- Investment Analyst - AED 13k - AED 44k PM*
- Compliance Officer - AED 12k - AED 24k PM*
- Management Consultant (Mid-size firms) - AED 4k - AED 58k PM*
*PLEASE NOTE - The above salary ranges will differ from industry to industry. Also a Finance Director responsible for a finance team of 5 is likely to earn less than a Finance Director responsible for a team of 20.
(The salary estimates have been acquired from GulfTalent and Payscale)
Q. Can I get a government job in the UAE as an expat Finance Professional?
UAE is one of the countries in the world which allows foreign nationals to work in the government sector. The government sector pays three-four times the salary that the private sector pays which is why it can be a lucrative career option for expats.
The sector is in need of expat CFOs, Finance Directors, Investment Professionals, Risk Managers, and Accountants.
However, working in the government sector requires some documents and clearances. People who are already in UAE with a track record of two to three years are more in favour.
- The UAE government sector offers a range of finance roles for expats, and the specific roles available may vary depending on the department or ministry.
- Government job vacancies are usually advertised on the official websites of government entities or on government job portals, and applicants can apply online.
- It's important to note that some government jobs may require applicants to be fluent in Arabic or have a certain level of proficiency.
- Additionally, there may be certain restrictions on the types of government jobs that expats can apply for. For example, certain positions in the security and defense sectors may be restricted to UAE nationals only.
Q. What is the cost of living in UAE for Indian expats?
This has no one answer, it all depends on your standard of living.
The UAE is known for its high cost of living. Especially in larger cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, transportation, and food can be expensive.
A working professional, with a relatively higher standard of living, may require AED 5000 – 6000 per month.
If you have a family with kids, the overall expenses are somewhere near AED 8000 – 10000 per month.
- Some established areas such as Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches, Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah and Barsha have higher rental prices.
- Rent for lots of apartments and villas have to be paid for by cheque, often 6 or even 12 months in advance.
- Shared accommodations cost around 800-1500 dirhams in UAE covering Internet expenses, Dewa and accommodation.
- Expats must pay for both public and private health insurance. It's important to obtain health insurance before relocating as you cannot receive a residence visa without proof that you are covered.
- In the UAE, a reasonably comprehensive health insurance policy will cost you around AED 10,000 per year (2,720 USD).
- A family of four will pay roughly AED 17,000 for basic coverage (4,630 USD).
- The metro is a cheap and comfortable way to travel. It may be crowded during peak hours but it is very neat and timely.
- If a person goes for Taxis, the cost may get higher.
- The costs for food are on par with India or sometimes even lesser than in India.
- There are several supermarket chains in Dubai, which stock food items from around the world. Some affordable supermarkets are Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket or Union Cooperative.
- Purchasing local and in-season produce and keeping an eye out for bundle offers and discounts can really save money.
- The UAE has no income tax, but there are other taxes and fees that may apply, such as value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services.
The cost of living can be controlled very easily by your choices and you can even save more as compared to being in US or UK.
You can refer to this link to learn more - https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/
Q. Which popular Emirate in the UAE would be ideal for a Finance Professional?
The opportunities are widespread and are available throughout the country but the following are the top Emirates for multiple attractive job opportunities.
Dubai: Dubai is without a doubt the most preferred destination by expats, especially finance professionals.
Job opportunities for fresher or lesser experienced professionals are found to be much more available in Dubai as compared to Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi, with rapid development and urbanization, coupled with massive oil and gas reserves and production has transformed itself into a large and developed metropolis.
The pay range is also expected to be higher in Abu Dhabi as compared to Dubai.
Sharjah: Being considered the cultural capital of the UAE, Sharjah is more conservative. The cost of setting up a business in Sharjah is less costly than in any other emirates of UAE.
Ras al Khaimah: Having never discovered oil, RAK’s major industries include real estate, manufacturing and high technology, financial and insurance services, fishing, and agriculture.
The opportunities are increasing in the above areas as the cost of living in this emirate is low.
Q. What are some best Finance job portals to find employment in the UAE?
Some well-known job portals are:
- Michael Page,
- Gulf talent,
Having a LinkedIn profile is a must. Create Job Alerts – LinkedIn alerts, google alerts and network a lot.
Target companies based on your previous employer’s industry and apply to them.
Other than applying through a job portal, you can connect with peers, and hiring managers/ex-managers, and attend events with your CV.
You can also register with recruitment agencies (local, regional and multinational) that deal with your job titles/industry roles.
Q. What should the ideal CV format be?
- Keep your CV to a maximum of 2 pages.
- Use a simple and professional format.
- Ensure the lines, paragraph, margin spacings and alignments are taken care of, and choose the correct font and font size. Maintain the consistency of this throughout your CV.
- No need to share reference details or objective statements unless you are a fresh graduate or seeking a career change.
- Keep your work experience and education details in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
- Keep a maximum of 10-12 bullet points for the job description, with each point consisting of one line or a maximum of 2 lines (only when absolutely needed)
- Ensure that you optimize your CV with keywords. These must be industry or function or responsibility-specific keywords. Each bullet point must have at least 1 keyword and all of them must be in bold.
- Don’t stuff keywords that’d make your CV sound weird.
- Use CV formats that are ATS-compatible (applicant tracking systems have AI-based programs that read your CV from top to bottom, left to right).
- Graphs/diagrams/colours are not scanned or recognized by ATS. Column-based CVs which have a vertical page split have risks of not getting selected. Hence it is best to use a simple top to bottom, left-to-right format.
Do not make the mistake of applying to all possible jobs with one standard CV. Take the time to read the job description and modify your CV accordingly.
Q. What is the usual interview process to get a job in the UAE?
The interview process for getting a job in the UAE can vary depending on the company and the position, but it generally follows a similar format to interviews in other countries. Here is a typical interview process for getting a job in the UAE:
- Research the company, the industry and the role you are giving the interview for. Do not just go to their website to find information, go to Google and find out more details.
- Research about the Interviewer as well. Check out his/her Linkedin profile and pick up the activities or projects that may interest you. Then in the interview, you may bring that up to break the ice.
- Read the job description and do a gap analysis of your CV versus the Job Description, and the company's competitors.
- Prepare for your interview question by practising through mock interviews.
- Pick out professional attire and presentation materials.
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early for your interview. Pay attention to your body language, and make sure you don’t look anxious. Don’t use swear words or words that are inappropriate.
- Send them a thank you email immediately after coming back from the interview. Send another follow-up email within 72 hours.
Q. How can one get a UAE work visa from India? What documents does one need?
Expats are required to obtain a valid work visa or residency permit, which is typically sponsored by their employer.
To get a work visa or residency permit, expats are required to provide several documents, including:
- A valid passport is required for entry into the UAE and for obtaining a work visa or residency permit.
- Submit a visa application form, which is typically provided by the employer or sponsor.
- An employment contract outlining the terms and conditions of employment, including salary and benefits, is required.
- Copies of their educational certificates and degrees to demonstrate their qualifications.
- Some professions in the UAE require specific professional certifications or licenses, and expats may be required to provide proof of these certifications.
- Several passport-size photographs for their visa application.
- May be required to provide a police clearance certificate from their home country to demonstrate that they have no criminal record.
You may have to undergo a medical examination to ensure that you are in good health and free from contagious diseases.
It's important to note that required documents may vary depending on the employer, profession, and type of work visa or residency permit you are applying for.
Check with your employer or sponsor to determine the specific requirements for your visa application.
Q. What kind of visas should I be cognizant of, if I am moving to the UAE?
A UAE residence visa is typically utilised by expats seeking employment in the UAE and is valid for two years for LLCs and three years for free zone enterprises.
There are two cases to get a visa for work, which include a standard work visa, green visa for work and a golden visa. Your employer must apply for a residence visa on your behalf, and a medical test is required to obtain this visa.
The standard work visa is issued for employees in the government and private sectors.
The green visa is issued for skilled employees for 5 years.
The UAE’s Green visa is a type of residence visa, that allows its holder to sponsor himself/herself for 5 years, eliminating the need for a UAE national or employer to sponsor his/her visa. Freelancers, self-employed and skilled employees can apply for a Green visa.
Freelancers and/or self-employed people:
Freelancers and/or self-employed people who wish to apply for a Green visa need to submit:
- A freelance/self-employment permit from Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
- Proof of a bachelor’s degree or a specialised diploma
- Evidence of annual income from self-employment for the previous two years amounting to not less than AED 360,000, or proof of financial solvency throughout their stay in the UAE.
To apply for a Green visa, skilled employees must:
- Have a valid employment contract
- Be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
- Hold a minimum bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- Have a salary of not less than AED 15,000 per month.
Standard Work Visa:
A foreigner can get a normal employment visa, usually for two years, if he/she is:
- Employed in the private sector
- Apply for a residency visa for a person working in the private sector – GDRFAD Dubai
- Employed in the government sector or a free zone
- Apply for a residency visa for an individual in (free zone) – GDRFAD Dubai
Golden visa: The Golden visa is a long-term residence visa which enables foreign talents to live, work or study in the UAE while enjoying exclusive benefits.
Investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes are among those eligible for the Golden visa.
You can check out this link to find detailed information regarding the same.
Q. Other things to keep in mind.
Analyze and understand the pros and cons of moving to a new country and starting all over.
Citizenship of the UAE:
- The UAE, like many other countries, allows foreign individuals to move and remain in the country for a period of time before granting them citizenship.
- However, the rules are strict.
- Foreigners can come here for work, but they must stay for 30 years before getting citizenship by naturalisation.
- You can check out this website for more details.
- The UAE is an Islamic country, so it's important to be respectful of local customs and dress modestly in public places.
- Alcohol is only permitted in licensed venues, and public displays of affection are frowned upon.
- Eating or drinking in public during Ramadan.
- UAE is known for its hot and dry climate, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C in the summer months.
- It's important to stay hydrated and take necessary precautions to avoid heat exhaustion.
Insights for this article were provided by Conor McHugh - Founder of Alchemy Search, CA James Mathew, Managing Partner at UHY James Chartered Accountants, Dinesh DSouza, Head of Recruitment and Talent Acquisition at GENESIS Executive Search, Yogesh Lakhani - Manager for Accounts & Advisory at HLB HAMT.
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