• Business Insights
  • Expat Market in UAE – All You Need to Know About Expats Before Targeting Them
city skyline of UAE

Expat Market in UAE – All You Need to Know About Expats Before Targeting Them

The UAE is an extraordinary place that a lot of expats around the world prioritize. This is a country that guarantees exceptional quality of life, good wages, and many other benefits. As globalization has continued to develop further and further over the years, lots of people from all over the world have made their way to the UAE in search of better-quality work and a more improved standard of life for them and their families. Our goal here is to talk about what the expat market is currently like in the UAE and how you can optimally target this expat market in the UAE.

What is an expat?

Simply put, an expatriate is a person/individual who’s living and working in a country that’s different from their country of citizenship while retaining their nationality. It’s important to highlight that many confuse the terms, expatriates and immigrants. Immigrants are people who permanently move to an entirely different country whereas expatriates might not move on a permanent basis and might end up moving back to their home country after a while.

Behaviours of Expats in UAE

Knowing the behaviours of expats in the UAE is the best way to better target them. The following are the key behaviours to keep in mind so that you can target the UAE expatriate market effectively:

Feel free to contact us if you wish to partner with us.

1. Where do they live?

Considering the fact that Dubai has become a tourist hub for people from all over the world, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that it’s the place with most expats in the UAE. The population of Dubai has gone from 1.2 million in 2005 to over 3.3 million currently and expats actually make up over 85% of Dubai’s population at the moment. In Dubai, many expats consider living in places like Mirdif as it’s an outlying suburb where the property rates are far cheaper than they are in the more mainstream areas.

The current UAE legislation gives expats the right to own property in the UAE. It’s important to note that there are some emirates that’ll only permit a leasehold so you can’t get complete and total ownership of properties in these areas. There are, of course, some emirates that allow a freehold so expats can have absolute ownership of properties in these areas.

2. Income

The UAE is ranked as one of the best countries for expats to live and work in and the lucrative income is perhaps one of the key reasons why. According to HSBC’s Expat Explorer study, expats in the UAE earn roughly AED 570,000 per year on average which is among the highest in the world for expats. There are very few countries in the world where expats can earn more and these countries include Switzerland, USA, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

3. Cost of Living

The cost of living in the UAE depends on various different factors such as a person’s lifestyle and such. The biggest factor that determines this, though, is what emirate an expat lives in. Ajman is the most economical emirate in the UAE as the cost of living for an entire family of four is less than 15,000 AED a month whereas in Dubai this figure can go higher than 22,000. Spending habits play a major factor in this too, of course. It’s also worth noting that expats must pay for their child’s education even if they send them to public school. The annual cost for public schools in the UAE is around 6,000 AED for expats whereas Emirati nationals can study for free.

What Do Expats Do

Expats who go to the UAE are usually highly skilled workers. They are often employed in various white-collar businesses as well as IT and a variety of other sectors. Expats also seek employment in the services industry which consists of the various hotels and services that tourists make the most out of on their trips to the UAE.

Channels used by expats in the UAE for Job Hunting

Expats in the UAE use a variety of different channels in order to find work and communicate with other expats around them to get a better lay of the land and how they can navigate it.

1. Facebook 

Facebook is perhaps one of the primary channels for expats in any country and this includes the UAE as well. Expats use Facebook to not only remain connected with their loved ones and friends but also use the various Facebook groups for expats to communicate with one another and share useful insights to help each other out. This is also an ideal place to look for jobs.

2. Instagram

Although it doesn’t have groups like Facebook, Instagram is yet another ideal choice for younger expats who want to be active on social media while also networking with those around them. There are many expats that have used Instagram to land jobs by demonstrating their skills and abilities via their posts.

3. Forums

There are tons upon tons of online forums for expats across different countries so there are forums for those in the UAE as well. These forums are a great source of exchanging useful information that can help expats get by and land jobs in desirable companies. It’s a bit harder to get into these forums than it is to utilize social media like Facebook and Instagram but they’re usually worth the additional effort.

Expat Communities in the UAE

Expat communities can be found in a variety of mainstream cities in the UAE. There are multitudes of expats in places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi so, with a bit of networking, it’s easy to find expat communities that are well-connected with one another.

Targeting Expats in the UAE

Marketing to expats in the UAE is a process that should have multiple prongs because not all expats are the same. Those who currently fall into a young age group of 25 and under excel at IT-related tasks and are best suited for these purposes. Older expats, on the other hand, can often be a great choice for white-collar sectors or for the services industry.

Regardless of age, though, social media is easily one of the best ways to market to expat. Companies can make informative and helpful posts and other content that can draw the attention of expats and attract them towards their business.

Expats also tend to feel welcome in gatherings with other expats so it’s certainly a wise choice to hold a gathering of like-minded expats virtually or even physically and market to them simultaneously.


All things considered, the expat market in the UAE is an absolutely enormous one. There are many growing opportunities in this market and many capable individuals that companies can attract if they market properly to their target audience.

How Moovaz Can Help

With the growing opportunities in the UAE expatriate market, enhancing your customer experience and targeting your clients accurately is more important than ever.

At Moovaz, we’re an end-to-end relocation platform serving many expats all over the world. Partnering with Moovaz will grant you a large ecosystem where you can increase your reach to these expats.

Want to Partner with Us? Click Here

New Zealand flagMoovaz top destinations
× Chat with us!