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Life in Dubai for Irish Expats: The Ultimate Guide

From understanding the legal requirements and the visa application process to exploring job opportunities, cultural differences, and the cost of living, this guide aims to provide you with all the information you need.

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Whether you’re curious about what to expect in terms of lifestyle, employment opportunities, healthcare, education, or leisure activities, this guide is your go-to resource for valuable tips and insights on life in Dubai as an Irish expat.

Before you move to Dubai, make sure your family’s healthcare needs will be taken care of wherever you may be. Comprehensive and adequate health insurance is one of the keys to a fulfilling and worry-free experience living in Dubai.

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Legal Requirements for Moving to Dubai from Ireland

Couple On Bench At Dubai Marina, Embodying Expat Lifestyle

To ensure a smooth transition, you need to familiarize yourself with the visa application process, necessary documents, eligibility criteria, and the sponsorship system in Dubai.

Visa Application Process

This typically involves submitting the required documentation, including a valid passport, application forms, and supporting documents such as proof of employment or sponsorship.

Residency Visas

Dubai offers various types of residency visas, including employment visas, investor visas, and dependent visas. Each visa has specific requirements and durations.

Sponsorship System

Most expats in Dubai are sponsored by their employers, known as a sponsorship visa. Your sponsor, often your employer, takes responsibility for your visa and your legal status in the country. It’s crucial to have a confirmed job offer or a sponsor before initiating the visa application process.

Maintaining Legal Status

Once you have obtained a residency visa, make sure to adhere to the rules and regulations to maintain your legal status. This includes fulfilling any renewal procedures before your visa expires to avoid any penalties or potential legal consequences.

Job Search in Dubai: Where to Look

As an Irish expat, you’ll find that popular job sectors include finance, tourism, construction, healthcare, and technology. To kickstart your search, the following resources will prove useful:

  • Platforms like Bayt, Dubizzle, and LinkedIn: These platforms feature a wide range of job listings and allow you to filter by industry, experience level, and location. Creating a professional profile on these portals can increase your visibility to potential employers.
  • Recruitment agencies specializing in Dubai: They have a deep understanding of the local market and can connect you with relevant job opportunities, providing personalized assistance throughout the job search process.
  • Networking: This is very helpful for finding job leads in Dubai. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and leverage social media platforms to expand your network. Dubai’s vibrant expat community offers excellent networking opportunities that can lead to valuable connections.

Cost of Living and Budgeting in Dubai

Dubai Marina Sign With Dolphin Statue, Symbolizing Expat Life

The cost of living in Dubai can vary depending on your preferred location and lifestyle choices. Accommodation in Dubai tends to be more expensive compared to Dublin, so allocating a significant portion of your budget for housing is necessary.

Renting an apartment or villa is the most common option for expats in Dubai. The rental prices can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, property size, and amenities. It’s recommended to set aside a significant portion of your budget for rent.

Dubai offers an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the Dubai Metro, which can be cost-effective for daily commuting. Alternatively, you may choose to purchase or lease a car. In recent years, e-scooters have been gaining popularity in Dubai.

Dubai has a variety of supermarkets and grocery stores offering a wide range of products at different price points. Dining out is a popular activity in Dubai, with numerous restaurants, cafes, and eateries catering to various cuisines and budgets.

While Dubai offers a tax-free income, there are still other expenses, such as healthcare and education, that should be accounted for in your budget.

Health insurance is mandatory for all residents in Dubai, including expats. Pacific Prime Dubai is ready to help you secure the best plan for your needs and budget, so contact us today! You can also use our online quotation tool to check the price from the comfort of your home. 

Cultural Differences in the UAE for Irish Expats

For Irish expats living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it’s crucial to be aware of the cultural differences that may exist. While the UAE shares some similarities with Ireland, there are unique aspects of Emirati culture that you may need to adjust to during your time there.

The Working Week

In the UAE, the working week typically starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being the official days off. This differs from the traditional working week in Ireland. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with this schedule and plan your activities accordingly.

Weather and Climate

The weather in the UAE is distinctly different from the mild and temperate climate of Ireland. Prepare for hot summers, with temperatures often exceeding 100°F (38°C), and mild winters with temperatures averaging around 77°F (25°C).

It’s important to take precautions against the intense heat, such as staying hydrated and avoiding prolonged sun exposure.

Pros and Cons of Living in Dubai

Sunset Over Dubai Marina, Showcasing Vibrant Expat Living

Living in Dubai offers several advantages that make it an appealing destination for expats, these include:

  • The thriving economy: Numerous employment opportunities exist across various sectors.
  • Dubai’s diverse social scene: It offers a vibrant lifestyle with a rich mix of cultures and experiences.
  • The tax-free income: As a tax-free jurisdiction, Dubai residents can enjoy higher take-home pay compared to many other countries.
  • An excellent healthcare system: Dubai boasts world-class hospitals and medical facilities, ensuring access to quality healthcare services.

However, it is important to consider the challenges of living in Dubai as well:

  • Bureaucracy: The bureaucracy in Dubai can sometimes be an obstacle, especially when dealing with administrative procedures or government offices.
  • The high living expenses: This is particularly noticeable when it comes to accommodation, which can be more expensive compared to other cities.
  • The climate in Dubai: The summer months in particular can be quite hot and challenging for some individuals. It’s important to be prepared for the high temperatures and take necessary precautions to stay comfortable.

Lifestyle and Leisure Activities in Dubai

Dubai offers a vibrant and exciting lifestyle, making it an ideal destination for expats looking for more work-life balance. With its diverse range of leisure activities, this city has something to offer for everyone.

Sports Clubs and Associations

Joining Irish sports clubs and associations in Dubai is a great way to stay active and make new friends. Whether you’re into rugby, Gaelic football, or cricket, you’ll find a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion for sports.

Dining Out

Dubai is known for its exceptional culinary scene, offering a diverse range of international cuisines. From fine dining restaurants to street food markets, you’ll find options to suit every palate and budget. Explore the city’s hidden culinary gems and indulge in a gastronomic adventure.


Dubai is a shopper’s paradise, with its world-class malls and bustling souks. From luxury brands to local handicrafts, you’ll find everything you need and more. Discover the latest fashion trends, shop for unique souvenirs, or simply enjoy a stroll through the city’s vibrant markets.

Healthcare and Education in Dubai

Dubai's Towering Spire Building, A Beacon For Expats

Dubai boasts a high-quality healthcare system, with world-class hospitals and medical facilities that cater to the needs of its diverse population. Whether you are an Irish expat or a resident, you can expect to receive top-notch healthcare services in Dubai.

When moving to Dubai, expats must ensure they have adequate health insurance coverage. This will provide them with peace of mind and financial protection in case of any unexpected medical emergencies or healthcare expenses.

Education standards in Dubai are excellent, and the city offers a wide range of international schools that provide quality education for expat children. American and British schools are top-rated among expat communities, preparing students for further education in the US or the UK.

International schools in Dubai often provide a multicultural environment, fostering a sense of diversity and global understanding among students. These schools offer a variety of extracurricular activities and support services to ensure a well-rounded education for your children.


What are the legal requirements for moving to Dubai from Ireland?

Irish citizens need to understand the visa application process, required documents, eligibility criteria, and the sponsorship system in Dubai. Residency visas have specific durations and require renewal procedures.

Where can I look for job opportunities in Dubai?

Popular job sectors for Irish expats include finance, tourism, construction, healthcare, and technology. Online job portals and recruitment agencies specific to Dubai are valuable resources. Networking opportunities and professional organizations provide connections and potential job leads.

What are the pros and cons of living in Dubai?

Living in Dubai offers several advantages, such as a thriving economy, diverse social scene, tax-free income, and excellent healthcare. However, there are also challenges like bureaucracy, high living expenses, and a hot climate during the summer months.

What is the healthcare and education system like in Dubai?

Dubai has a high-quality healthcare system with world-class hospitals and medical facilities. Expats should ensure they have adequate health insurance coverage. The educational standards are excellent, with American and British schools providing quality education.

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With proper planning and preparation, you can live a fulfilling and rewarding life as an Irish expat in Dubai. This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, build a successful career, and create fond memories in one of the most dynamic up-and-coming cities in the world.

You can easily make your transition to Dubai stress-and-worry-free by securing expat or international health insurance. Enjoy the enviable lifestyle, explore mesmerizing landscapes and landmarks, and create beautiful memories knowing your personal and financial safety is in good hands.

For an insurance plan that meets your requirements while fitting your budget, Pacific Prime Dubai is your ideal partner. With 20+ years of experience as an insurance brokerage, our experts can offer unbiased advice and compare insurance plans from leading insurers to find the best plan for your needs.

Contact us today and have a great time in Dubai!

Content Creator at Pacific Prime Dubai
Martin is a writer and translator with over 10 years of experience. He writes articles and blog posts, creates infographics and videos, translates between Chinese and English, and more. Skilled at explaining complicated concepts in layman’s terms, Martin believes the gold standard of translation is attained when the translated text is not only accurate, but also reads like an original text. Martin holds a degree in Economics from the University of London, UK.

Since joining Pacific Prime, Martin has become even more aware of the gap between the true value of insurance products and most people’s appreciation of it, and developed a passion for demystifying and simplifying matters, so that more people get the protection they need at a cost they can easily afford.

In his free time, Martin attends concerts of various genres, and plays the violin with piano accompaniment he pre-recorded himself or played live by his niece.
Martin Lee