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Unemployed in Dubai? Useful tips

Dubai boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the world – but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of firing going on! It’s a competitive marketplace. So what happens if you do become unemployed? Here’s how to keep your finances steady in the world’s 20th-most expensive city till you secure fresh income:

Income protection

Income protection pays a certain percentage of your monthly or annual income each month to help get you through any hiatus in employment. Strange as it may seem, some folk who take out income protection while they were in a job forget to inform their insurance broker to make a claim when they become out of a job If you’ve got such a policy – let your broker know! If you’ve never considered such a policy, your IFA will be happy to discuss with you how paying for this protection can fit into most monthly budgets.


If you’ve been budgeting whilst you’ve been in work, you will be better off if you suddenly become unemployed. Maybe it’s too late for that! It still makes sense to assess your current expenditures in a period during which you’re not working and either living off savings or your partner’s generosity. If you’re not used to putting a ceiling on the number of times you go out for entertainment or dining, it still makes sense to settle on a fixed number per month and stick to it. Don’t deny yourself completely – there still needs to be a degree of balance to stay positive! But start to get a handle on it, so you feel in control; it feels good.

Separate “wants” from “needs”

This task is part of budgeting. Distinguish what must be paid for now (“need”) and what can wait until you start your new job (“want”). Here is a shortlist of what people often think they “need” but only actually “want”:
  • Clothes – while looking good for upcoming interviews is all-important, might you not have perfectly decent garments already? Stay strong against seasonal discounts in the malls!
  • Holidays – beyond the fact that a break away costs money, being out of the country means being out of the job-hunt. Maintain your momentum by staying put here in Dubai and push for those interviews.
  • A bigger apartment to rent – on the flip side, while you could find cheaper accommodation elsewhere when your annual rent is up, don’t forget the 5% agency fee!

Say: “hello, cash!”

Use cash rather than your bank card – and it will make you less likely to splurge. TheNest has a nice tip in this regard, almost as much psychological as financial: keep your bank card somewhere you don’t usually keep it and “when you’re about to pay for something and you reach for something that’s not there, it will give you a moment’s pause to consider whether you really need whatever you were about to purchase.” Smart thinking!

Networking events

Some positive news for job seekers: Dubai is full of organised events that encourage attendees to meet, mingle, and discuss their business, from casual meet-ups in cafes with just the organiser as the constant, to the more structured emphasis on cross-referrals of the Business Networking International, as well as the slightly breathless ‘speed networking’. We looked into a couple of the more unusual networking events earlier this year. Networking is often over-used by company owners selling their services – and under-used by jobseekers. So get out there! There’s plenty of room for you to make an impact.

Review your financial portfolio

While long-term planning has an intrinsic focus on putting aside today’s cash for tomorrow, clearly your requirements change when you cannot be sure of your next monthly salary. And luckily your IFA is perfectly positioned to help you. Our advisers here at Holborn Assets certainly appreciate getting stuck into tough financial scenarios; providing practical solutions to new financial challenges is what they are best at. So, for example, the financial products you’re using to save and invest typically have flexible aspects that can accommodate your new circumstances; find out how. Make sure you get a picture from your IFA of how a temporary set back could affect your mid-to-long term portfolio targets. Make sure, above all, that your IFA knows what’s going on with you.


When your work visa is cancelled, different things will happen depending on your passport and job title. Some people have to leave the country immediately and will have to apply for a new job role from afar. So that’s worth considering, especially as it might make good financial sense to be based back home temporarily – but what about all those networking opportunities that you need to be in Dubai for? Some nationalities – like Britons and Canadians – can do the ‘Visa Run’. This means hopping over the border to Oman or a surrounding sovereign state to come back with a renewed tourist visa for another 30 or more days in Dubai. Keep tabs on when you need to do this – overstaying in Dubai is charged by the day, and is very costly, and can hit just as you need to conserve cash.

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