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Have you ever thought about working in Dubai? No? Well, you should - Dubai is one of the key up-and-coming countries where skilled expats are welcomed with open arms.

To work in Dubai, most nationals must be sponsored by an employer. This is especially good news if you're skilled in boom areas such as construction, finance, conventions and media.

While its citizens are devout Muslims, the city is glitzy, glamorous and remarkably liberal.

Admittedly, the Middle East might not be the first place that springs to mind for a working holiday, but there are plenty of things to like - or even love - about Dubai.

Over the past two decades, thousands of Western professionals have viewed Dubai as an Aladdin's Cave of riches. This dynamic city-state - part of the United Arab Emirates - has expanded astronomically, creating unprecedented demand for foreign labour. Since the 1980s, foreigners have been lured here by attractive packages, tax-free wages and the chance to live in this exotic Arabian port.

The Hong Kong of the Gulf, Dubai is a freewheeling commercial centre where glass towers rise above bustling spice markets. Restaurants are world-class and the nightlife sizzles like a shwarma grill.

Unlike other Gulf states, Dubai has a diverse economy with a range of sectors including construction, healthcare, media, IT and engineering. Now a popular holiday destination, jobs in hospitality and retail have boomed as hotels and malls soar skyward.

That said, Dubai isn't the expatriate paradise it used to be. Rents have recently risen and you now need a decent wage to pack away some dirhams (the local currency, linked to the US dollar).


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