British expatriates move to UAE in search of new lifestyle after Covid-19 and Brexit



a group of young children sitting next to a window: Brian Myers with his wife, Sacha, and their sons, Jack (right) and Bobby (left), and daughter, Molly, at their home in Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. The family relocated to the emirate this year. Pawan Singh / The National


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Brian Myers along with his spouse, Sacha, and their sons, Jack (proper) and Bobby (left), and daughter, Molly, at their dwelling in Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. The household relocated to the emirate this yr. Pawan Singh / The Nationwide

Relocating his spouse and three younger youngsters from Essex in southern England to Dubai this summer season made excellent sense for Brian Myers from a way of life and profession perspective.

For Mr Myers, chief government of Equiti Brokerage, a shift to the UAE took him away from the seemingly countless cycles of lockdown in Britain, in addition to rising fatigue with the UK’s dealing with of the pandemic and Brexit.

“Within the UK, it is hit an inflection level with coronavirus and the entire politics that is simply relentlessly round you,” the Briton, 40, tells The Nationwide.

“Whenever you look internationally, significantly as a household with young children, there looks like only a few locations higher than in Dubai. We love Dubai due to the climate, the infrastructure, the benefit of transport and getting no matter you want rapidly. It actually suits our necessities as a household.”

Mr Myers just isn’t alone. The UAE has skilled an inflow of British expatriates in latest months, attracted by the lure of recent job alternatives, extra visa choices, a tax-free wage, year-round sunshine and a greater life-style.

Russell Owen, chief working officer at Lootah Actual Property Improvement, says the corporate has seen a powerful surge within the variety of British expatriates trying to relocate to the UAE over the previous few months.

Many who relocated to the UK through the Covid-19 disaster attributable to job loss are actually returning, he says.

Whereas their determination to return dwelling ensured they might safe free training and monetary assist through the pandemic, now that the UAE has reopened and “issues have returned to regular”, the nation is seen as “a shining gentle when it comes to the way it offers with Covid and the assist residents get from the UAE, particularly when in comparison with what’s taking place within the UK,” Mr Owen says.

The dealing with of Covid coupled with a tax-free setting and a way of life that may’t be supplied within the UK is why we’ve got seen a lot demand from British expats.

Russell Owen, Lootah Actual Property Funding Improvement

“The second cause for the inflow is from new expats, who for most of the similar causes have determined that Dubai is actually a greater place to be than within the UK,” he provides.

“The dealing with of Covid coupled with a tax-free setting and a way of life that may’t be supplied within the UK is why we’ve got seen a lot demand from British expats.”

There are greater than 120,000 British residents residing within the UAE, the British Enterprise Group in Dubai and the Northern Emirates reported.

The variety of UK-registered firms within the Emirates – these registered, banked and taxed within the UK – is across the 6,000 mark, up from a earlier determine of 5,000, stated John Martin St Valery, chairman on the BBG.

That is along with the “many extra 1000’s of British-owned and managed companies working all through the UAE who don’t essentially have a UK presence”, he says.

PRO Associate Group, an organization set-up supplier with workplaces in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman and Qatar, has reported a 60 per cent rise in UK registrations within the Emirates within the first quarter of this yr, in contrast with the identical interval final yr.




John Martin St.Valery wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: John Martin St Valery, chairman of the British Business Group Dubai and Northern Emirates, says the organisation has seen a 24 per cent increase in new members since March. Photo: British Business Group Dubai and Northern Emirates


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John Martin St Valery, chairman of the British Enterprise Group Dubai and Northern Emirates, says the organisation has seen a 24 per cent improve in new members since March. Photograph: British Enterprise Group Dubai and Northern Emirates

In the meantime, BBG has seen a 24 per cent improve in new members since March with “a superb return of curiosity” from multinational firms.

“The bulk have requested our top-tier membership degree – Advance – for the rise in occasion attendance, representatives named on the membership and alternatives to advertise their providing to the remainder of the membership and our stakeholders within the UAE and the UK,” says Mr Martin St Valery.

The organisation has additionally seen an increase in job postings in its e-newsletter, significantly in advertising roles

Bradley Jones, government director of the UAE-UK Enterprise Council, just isn’t stunned by the inflow of recent expatriates, with expectations numbers will proceed to go up as Britons take into account contemporary alternatives within the nation.

Mr Jones, who has lived within the UAE on two events, first between 1991 to 1994 as a instructor working in Fujairah and later between 2018 to 2019 as world enterprise improvement director for training supplier Gems, says the British expatriate inhabitants was slowly diminishing throughout his final stint within the nation.

The arrival of the pandemic in late January 2020 accelerated this development.

“Then, throughout Covid, some expats made the choice to return to their dwelling nation,” he says. “Now there may be going to be a surge as a result of that is all about alternative within the UAE.”

The sport changer, he says, is the UAE’s new visa regime, which features a one-year residency allow for distant employees that makes it simpler for extremely expert specialists in sure industries to reside and work within the Emirates.

Nevertheless, he expects the profile of the British expatriate and the kinds of industries they work in “is perhaps somewhat completely different from the way it was up to now”.

“There is perhaps much less demand for senior managerial employees and extra demand for folks with very specialist expertise within the medical or engineering sectors,” he says.

“Something to do with know-how, equivalent to specialist expertise in AI, robotics, 3D printing and FinTech – it’s these form of sectors the place there will likely be excessive progress.”

For Mr Myers, the benefit of doing enterprise was undoubtedly an element for his determination to maneuver to Dubai.

“The UAE is so open to enterprise and the best way they’ve managed to maintain society shifting via the disaster has been implausible,” he says.

“Within the UK, persons are very battle worn after 18 months of lockdown and looking at a Zoom display. And you then come someplace like right here and you are like, ‘Oh, wow, life’s shifting.’”

Pissed off by the impact of Brexit on the UK’s monetary companies sector within the Metropolis of London, during which Britain misplaced as much as 7,000 monetary companies jobs due to its exit from the EU, Mr Myers says coronavirus made many realise you possibly can work anyplace on the earth and thrive with out paying excessive charges to reside and work within the UK capital.

“Previous to Brexit and coronavirus, lots of people assumed you needed to make it within the Metropolis as a result of then you possibly can make it anyplace. However now issues have been deconstructed, so folks aren’t actually tied to that notion. Whether or not they come to Dubai or someplace else, persons are extra open to it now.”

Mr Myers has swapped his each day prepare commute to London for a 20-minute drive to the workplace on Sheikh Zayed Street, with the group spirit he has encountered residing in Dubai’s Jumeirah Golf Estates additionally a bonus.

“We already know three folks down our street and we went to the clubhouse the opposite day there was a celebration there for the youngsters going again to high school,” says Mr Myers, who has moved right into a five-bedroom villa within the improvement.

“These are issues I have not seen within the UK an excessive amount of. Clearly, there may be additionally climate and a lot for the youngsters to do with all of the tender performs, water parks and seashore days and we’ve got a pool for them to play in,” he says.

“We simply fancied a change and all of these issues added to it.”

The household plan to remain in Dubai for the youngsters’s major faculty training, with their eldest baby, aged 6, securing a spot at a British-affiliated faculty.

Colleges have additionally seen an increase in demand, with some establishments managing wait lists throughout sure years, “that means some households are committing to 2 faculty runs – within the quick time period – whereas they anticipate all of their confirmed locations at their most popular faculty,” says Mr Martin St Valery.




a couple of people posing for the camera: Sonia Fuller with her two daughters in Dubai. The family relocated to the emirate from Singapore. Photo: Sonia Fuller


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Sonia Fuller together with her two daughters in Dubai. The household relocated to the emirate from Singapore. Photograph: Sonia Fuller

For Briton Sonia Fuller, who relocated from Singapore to Dubai in June, a transfer to the UAE was preferable to returning to the UK full-time, as a result of she just isn’t “minimize out for UK life”.

Nevertheless, she struggled to safe two faculty locations on the similar establishment for her younger daughters.

“College locations are tough,” says Ms Fuller, who has lived within the Emirates earlier than. “On the faculty I needed, they solely had six leavers this yr, which is loopy in comparison with different years.”

Different newly arrived expatriates laud the benefit of constructing a health care provider’s appointment within the UAE in comparison with the UK, the place the Nationwide Well being Service remains to be hampered by excessive coronavirus circumstances in addition to a backlog of medical care calls for.

And with regards to the price of residing, Mr Myers has discovered gasoline to be cheaper in addition to companies equivalent to having a handyman sort things in the home, whereas consuming out and leisure is “corresponding to the UK”.

For Susan, a monetary companies skilled who didn’t need to reveal her full identify, her determination to maneuver to the UAE was pushed by a need for a change.

“I’d simply had sufficient of London,” she says.

“I went to the women’ get-together final week and I used to be fairly shocked at what number of new Brits have arrived up to now month and even six months.

“It is undoubtedly a development, an enormous development. In case you take a look at Fb teams, there are hundreds coming in September asking for recommendation equivalent to the place to remain and which faculties.”

Nevertheless, Susan says new arrivals will discover some issues, equivalent to meals and on a regular basis objects, might be dearer.

“I went to purchase some wrapping paper yesterday and it had the UK value on it of £1.75, which is about Dh9, but they charged me Dh17,” she says.

For Ms Fuller, Dubai is cheaper than her former life-style in Singapore.

“You are paying a lot cash to reside in a spot the place you’ll be able to’t get pleasure from all of the native journey to Thailand and Bali and the native life-style and you then’re not seeing your loved ones,” she says of her former life in Singapore.

Together with her enterprise additionally having a Dubai department, it appeared the right various to life within the UK.

“I am seven hours from Singapore and 7 hours from the UK,” she says.

“I have been overseas for 14 years and I’m used to live-in assist at a standard price and the sunshine and swimming swimming pools. On the weekend, the youngsters can go within the pool,” she says.

As a headhunter, Ms Fuller says plenty of purchasers have requested her to search out them a job in Dubai.

“These are people who find themselves not fairly prepared for England life-style and people whose children are going off to boarding faculty or college and, once more, they do not need to go to England however they need to be nearer however they need the UK education,” she says.

“For these coming from the UK, you are going from 40 per cent to 0 per cent tax, from gray skies to blue skies – it’s a little bit of a no brainer.”

The rise within the variety of new Britons can also be having an impact on the property market, with residential transactions in Dubai hitting an eight-year excessive within the first half of 2021 as demand for larger houses will increase.

And rents are additionally on the rise. Prime rental costs in Dubai climbed 5 per cent between January and June, pushed by a 20 per cent improve in rents throughout sure villa communities, Savills stated, with the emirate recording the best degree of rental progress within the first six months of the yr alongside different cities equivalent to Moscow and Miami.

The desire for extra indoor and out of doors house has seen demand for villas soar, in each the rental and gross sales markets, says Mr Owen.

“Key communities such because the Springs, Lakes and Arabian Ranches have seen demand surge with availability of models turning into extra scarce,” he says.

Whereas escaping Britain’s lengthy winters and political system seems to be a key driver for some, Mr Jones says everybody “likes to moan about Brexit and the climate however the elements driving folks to go away the UK and work within the UAE are pull elements relatively than push elements.

“It is high quality of life. It is the truth that they will do a talented job for which their abilities are recognised and the alternatives for skilled progress.

“It’s additionally a superb setting for these trying to relocate with their households, with good faculties on supply for youngsters and alternatives for work for a partner.”

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