Working in Dubai has become hugely popular with expats, many of them Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Saffas and Americans. There are numerous jobs on offer, paying high salaries with low taxes, flash new apartments and condos and a hedonistic social scene. For the lowdown, check out TNT’s guide to working in Dubai.

However the case of a British man caught in a financial and legal black hole in Dubai – he couldn’t leave the country, work or rent a flat and had to live on the streets for seven months – has once again raised the issue of just how safe it is to live and work in the city-state.

Brit Nicholas Warner lost his job and had his passport confiscated in Dubai after being classified as skipping debt was forced to sleep rough while he tried to catch up with his his credit card repayments. Only after his story was reported by the BBC did he received offers of financial help and accomodation and eventually manage to retrieve his passport and return to the UK.

Warner’s is just the latest in a string of incidents in which expats have felt the wrath of the Dubai legal system for behaviour that would barely raise an eyebrow in the UK.

Other high-profile cases of expats running into trouble in Dubai include:

  • A British couple jailed for having sex on the beach. The jail sentences were overturned on appeal, but they were deported.
  • A British woman who was jailed for two months after her husband told authorities that she was having an affair. Adultery is a crime in the Emirate.
  • A British woman was jailed for taking codeine for a back injury.
  • There have been reports of expats simply dumping their luxury car at the airport and jumping on a plane out of Dubai to escape punitive laws on getting into debt or being caught with minor traces of drugs.

All this shines a light on the flipside of the economic miracle of Dubai’s economic growth and the associated riches and fun that can be had by expats there.

Are the job opportunities and money to be made worth living in a restrictive environment? Or do the strict rules negate the jobs and money? Let us know what you think.