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I am a physiotherapist living in South Africa. I have a husband and 3 children (11, 8, and 4). What would I need to earn if I were to be the breadwinner in the family for six months.

I would want to send my kids to an English school and rent a decent apartment. Please advise me as to what I would need to earn as well as the starting salary of a physiotherapist. Thanks Shazia

Dear Shazia: Thank you for your question. Salaries for physiotherapists vary in Dubai depending on the clinic which hires you. The salaries start as low as 5000 AED and go up to 10000 AED a month.  For a family of 5 you can look at spending approximately 5000 AED a month depending on your lifestyle. Since you have young children, you will no doubt have to enroll them in school. The education system is varied and you can choose from many international schools. My advice is to get networking to get an idea of what school to select for your child. Top schools are usually on a waiting list and you may have to pay a registration fee to get registered on the waiting list. Definitely get in touch with colleagues or friends and family you know in Dubai to get a better understanding of where you will enroll your children.

You can either rent or buy property in Dubai. You may be offered a monthly allowance as part of your benefit package or some employers provide specific accommodation; you can always ask for the monetary equivalent, which most employees do, and employers are usually flexible with this. Rental prices are very high in Dubai. I recommend that you start working on your networking skills to obtain information on what makes some areas a popular choice than pothers. You should also consider commuting time and speaking with colleagues usually helps.

You can hire a real estate agent to help you find a home or if you have time to drive around, keep looking for “to let” signs and ask the watchman for information; he may just give you the number for the landlord. As a family your accommodation options include standard apartments or villas. Both of which are very expensive but networking with family, friends or colleagues helps! Find out if your accommodation includes parking. Rent is always paid for the whole year up front or some landlords can choose to divide the payments into three post dated cheques.

I hope this information helps. Once again, it helps to tweak up your networking skills to get an idea of how and where you would want to take up residence!

Hello Anna, my company has a clause in the offer letter that one cannot join the competitor of that company. If suppose, I get a better offer from the competitor of the current company and join that company, what could be the penalty if the previous company found out that it's previous employee joined the competitor?
Regards: Murtuza Khargonwala.

Dear Murtaza: First, your contact, with the existing employer, should state the length of time that you can not work with a competitor, say from 2 to 5 years after employment or whatever your contract states. In any case, if you do find work with a competitor and the first employer finds out, they can take you to court and, of course, you will loose your job. You can always hire a lawyer but the Immigration Department almost always favors the employer.

If you haven’t signed the contract or accepted the job offer yet, then don’t go through with it. Especially if you feel that you will be enticed with another job offer. My advice is that it’s not work the risk. Your best option would be to obtain an approval from the existing company and get something in writing that it would be OK for you to work with a competitor. The situation isn’t exactly black or white and there are a lot of grey areas. For example, it depends on how long you have been working for the existing employer and what type of relationship you have with them. Hope this helps.

Hi Anna! In applying for work in Dubai do I need to bring my certification from my former employment and my transcript of records from my school? Thanks, Josette Baiwis.

Hi Josette: Thank you for your question. Yes, definitely bring attested documents with you when you come to Dubai. It saves you time and effort. Otherwise, you will have to do all the paperwork from Dubai, which may take extra time especially if you get a job offer and you really want to go through with it.

Please visit the Career Center for general guidelines on how to notarize your documents. Notarizing and Attesting Documents.

Hi Anna, do companies in Dubai encourage or discourage those applicants who would have to re-locate with a family. In other words, do single applicants stand a better chance of a job offer? Thanks, Lance.

Hi Lance, thanks for the question. First, it is entirely up to you if you want your family to relocate with you. The employer is only going to issue you a single work permit. If you earn more than 4000 Dirham a month, you will be able to sponsor your family to live with you.

Generally, employers would pick single job seekers over married ones, because they tend to make the transition to Dubai quicker. As a single person, you don’t have to worry about moving your family once you are settled. Finding accommodation for a single person is generally easier what with the range of hotels and hostels available throughout the city.

I recommend that you find out exactly what the employment contract entails and what is being offered with the position. Sometimes the employer will cover single accommodation only and, if you plan to move your family to Dubai, you may have to do some research to find out about family accommodation and how much it will cost. Generally the cost of living in Dubai is very expensive. It is easy for expats to live comfortably if you don’t get seduced by the luxurious lifestyle and shopping malls!

Most single expats choose to cook at home, which helps them save money. With your family around, you may have to face additional expenses. For example, if your wife is working then you will have to arrange for daycare. If your children are going to nursery school or grade school, you will have to enroll them in a private school; the fee varies from school to school so you will have to do additional research.

My advice is to weigh your options before you move there and definitely discuss it with your family. It’s easier if you know what the job is offering and how long your contract will be. Thanks and Good Luck!!

Dear Anna, if my employment contract and residence visa has expired, can it be restored by another company?

Dear Ruslan: Thank you for your message. Even if your residency visa expires, you can stay in Dubai for the next six months or longer. For example, expats can stay on an expired visa for approximately 4-6 months and when they finally get another job, and it’s time to transfer it to a new sponsor, they go to the courts to lower the fine. I know it’s been done and it’s normal. This is one option. The other will be to renew it by exiting and returning back to Dubai. The fines are usually 100 AED per day over stay. My advice is to speak with a PRO there who can guide you in the right direction.
Thanks for your question.