Redundant British expat professionals forced out of Dubai

Published:  25 Jun at 6 PM
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Is this the end of the Dubai dream for expat professionals?

Prior to the pandemic, Dubai was the dream destination for expat professionals looking to earn big money and enjoy the glittering city’s luxury lifestyle without financial worries. Nowadays, it’s a totally different story as the same expats, now unemployed, are holding fire sales of their possessions and planning a fast repatriation to the home country.

Due to the lockdown, everything’s for sale including cars, subscriptions to gyms, furniture, electrical goods and even designer gear only suitable for the heat of the desert land. Many of those who’ve lost their jobs have been in Dubai for several decades, with the prospect of being forced to restart their lives back in the home country not at all pleasing. It’s a nightmare of uncertainty, with thousands of now redundant professionals caught between Dubai’s strict visa and sponsorship regulations.
ax-free salaries, year-round sunshine and the city itself will soon be just a memory for those forced to abandon the dream. British expats in the region number as many as 240,000, almost none of whom are looking forward to having to leave. Even although the pandemic-induced strict lockdown was successful, expert believe an economic recovery will take many years. The problem lies with Dubai’s sponsorship rules which tie residency to expats’ jobs and only give 30 days to organise a departure after the job is lost.

The vast majority of British expats now being forced to leave are experienced professionals, but the UK isn’t the place to resume a career at present, nor may it be so for a number of years. Wasted talent and financial hardship seem the only options, especially as the UK’s reaction to the pandemic is, at best, uncoordinated and ineffective at the present time and no-one knows how long the expected recession is likely to last.
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