Working in Abu Dhabi
That said, the absolute abundance of available positions that marked the course of the last decade has dwindled somewhat.
Furthermore, the tax-free environment of Abu Dhabi has become less of an allure due to skyrocketing housing costs and salary levels that haven’t increased proportionately. Nevertheless, those that come to Abu Dhabi for a brief stint often end up staying for a long haul due to the easy lifestyle.
Finding a job in Abu Dhabi
Most expats that relocate to Abu Dhabi do so with an employment contract in place. The best methods of finding a job from abroad are to register with local recruitment agencies and to peruse the employment sections of the local newspapers, such as Gulf News, Khaleej Times and The National.
Perusing company websites and networking via social media sites can also be beneficial. If already in the emirate, networking with friends and fellow community members is essential, and the best way to secure a new position.
Expats considering moving to Abu Dhabi without a contract – coming on a tourist visa and quickly landing employment - should realise that although the government fully recognises the contribution of such a large foreign workforce to the region’s growth and development, it has nonetheless started advocating for an official policy of Emiratisation over the course of the last five years.
This concept pushes for both government and private sectors to hire a larger number of nationals in an effort to curb Emirati unemployment and to cultivate opportunity for the growing number of graduates. With quotas in place for the insurance, banking and trade sectors, expats may find it more difficult than in the past to find employment in Abu Dhabi, but there are opportunities for those that have adequate skills and training.
As a general rule, the working week starts on a Sunday and ends on a Thursday. Hours vary depending on profession, and it is not unusual to find a split shift in Abu Dhabi with a siesta scheduled in between morning and afternoon slots.
Changing jobs in Abu Dhabi
Expats will find that the ease of changing jobs is something they may have previously taken for granted. In fact, expats must basically apply for a new visa when they obtain a new job in Abu Dhabi.
The first step to completing the process is obtaining a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) from your original employer. Without this document the foreigner is liable to be banned from working – a stipulation that has a six month minimum.
Additionally, many companies write anti-competition clauses into their contracts, preventing expats from working in a similar field in Abu Dhabi – obviously a greatly limiting factor if one has a specific skill set.
These measures are put into place to prevent job hopping and thus protect the high financial investment that companies put into hiring foreign labour.
If the original employer/sponsor does approve the NOC request then documentation must be taken from the Ministry of Labour, typed into Arabic and signed and stamped by both the former and the future sponsor. These are submitted with the employee's trade licence and the new company card, hopefully approved and then sent to the Immigration Department to validate the new visa.