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If you are considering working in the UAE, it is one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East with a wide range of expatriates from over 150 countries which represents 85% of the population.
Located in the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was established in 1971 as a federation of 7 Emirates which are:
- Abu Dhabi: The national capital, this is the seat of power and also the largest Emirate. Abu Dhabi offers its cosmopolitan population the chance to pursue a very attractive lifestyle. Al Ain, also known as the Garden City due to its greenery.
- Ajman: Located along the Persian Gulf, this Emirate is witnessing large-scale development and a construction boom in recent years. It is the smallest of all the established emirates.
- Dubai: The best-known Emirate, the second largest city in the Emirate, is a cosmopolitan city with a large expatriate population. Dubai serves as a global gateway, re-exporting goods from around the world to large, neighboring markets such as Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, as well as the countries of the Indian subcontinent and East Africa.
- Fujairah: This is the only Emirate of the UAE that is largely mountainous, making it a popular retreat from city life.
- Ras Al-Kaimah: the fourth-largest emirate in the UAE, today boasts of a rapidly growing economy. This Emirate has an impressive archaeological heritage and rich cultural history.
- Sharjah: With its museums and mosques, this Emirate is often described as the ‘Culture Capital’ of the UAE.
- Umm Al Quwaim: This northern Emirate is the least populous and has an area of about 70 square.
Good to know
- The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT.
- Temperatures range from a low of about 10.5°C to a high 48°C.
- The country has an intensively industrialized economy, making it one of the most developed countries of the world.
- The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood. Both languages are commonly used in business and commerce.
- The monetary unit is the dirham (AED) which is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund. It has been held constant against the US dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$1= Dh3.67.
- The UAE is known for its low crime rate. This is not to say that crime does not occur, however incidents are rare. As in all big countries, a healthy degree of caution should always be exercised. The biggest threat to life and limb is driving. The incidence of road traffic accidents is quite high and the standard of driving is fairly low and often erratic.
- Religion: Islam is the official religion of the UAE and there are a large number of mosques throughout the country. Other religions are respected and places of worship can be found. Ramadan is the Holy Month in which Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Holy Koran. Its timing is not fixed in terms of the Gregorian calendar, but advances 11 days every year. Ramadan is a month of fasting when, from dawn until dusk. Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking. As a sign of respect, visitors are also required to refrain from consuming these items in public during daylight hours. Respect local laws and customs.