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Countdown officialy begins

Countdown officialy begins

Old Dec 11th 2009, 8:50 am
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Default Countdown officialy begins

Well the countdown to my ‘big move’ to Dubai has begun. My job has been confirmed following a very full medical, so a month today I’ll be in Dubai/Sharjah at my new desk, filling in a multitude of forms no doubt! So far the process has been relatively smooth (don’t worry I’m under no illusions that this will last), although despite the fact it’s an intra-company move I’m not sure the HR department in Sharjah have grasped that yet, as they keep asking me to resign from my current job and when I told them I have some files to ship over the told me to use my baggage allowance. And the fact they’re suggesting I fly via Doha…

The list of ‘things I need to do’ before departing continues to grow and with no sign of getting shorter anytime soon. Fortunately as I’m not selling or renting out the house here at the moment (the other half’s remaining in Scotland for the time being) I don’t have that hassle to go through, although a surprising amount of DIY has suddenly become urgent!!

Top priority at the moment is trying to sell my car (Toyota Celica 2005, low mileage, leather seats, alloys, VGC. Anyone, anyone, no...), not a great time of year to do so, and I’m loathed to get ripped off by a ‘webuyanycar’ dealer, but I may need to eventually as I need to free up the cash as a deposit for a car over there.

Next week is tax week (even the sound of that makes my feel queasy), I’ve already had one discussion with the council about Council Tax and the thieving barstewards are trying to tell me we won’t get any rebate or discount on 2010/11 as they will still class the house here as my ‘main residence’ despite the fact I’m might spend a few weeks max in it next year. Amending my pension is/was really simple, and the advice I was given was not discontinue paying into whilst out of the country.

I’m still keeping an eye out for rental options in Dubai, with Old Town and Mirdif being my favoured options at the minute, but I think I may look for a serviced apartment in the short term (my company’s putting me up in a hotel in Sharjah to begin with, so keen to spend as little time there as possible!) so I can have a more thorough look around.

First thing I need to do is get a car though, so again been hunting around on to get an idea of price and availability. Neither of which seem to be a problem at the moment – not sure why ; ) I'd rather not get a 4x4, but everyone tells me its the most practical and safest option, which is probably truem, but they're all just so dull looking and boring to drive.

All in all, despite the negativity and doom merchants who have nothing good to say about Dubai at the moment, I’m looking forward to it. New challenge work wise and new culture to explore, plus the fact I’ll miss the worst of a north east of Scotland winter.

Any tips, hints, advice on things to do (or not) before I leave and once I arrive would be much appreciated.
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 12:44 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Hi Abz,

I moved out here just 3 months ago so am still coming aross little erm surprises shall we say.

Best tips are buy one of the Dubai guides, I have the Duabi explorer, and read it before you get here, lots of tips and advice that saves you going the long way around things.

Have lots of photocopies of your passport and visa, and driving license- and lots of spare passport size pics- I've gone through 16 already and there are still things I haven't done that will need them for.

Make sure you have access to your funds at home, it takes ages to open a bank aount here and I had problems using my natwest card and credit cards, I keep having to call home to reativate them and to confirm it is me trying to use them- so id recommend a travelex card- at least you know you can use it at any atm machine.

As soon as you are at Dubai airport get an etislat sim card- they sell them in the duty free shop- as you will be giving your number out left right and centre- but do not give your phone number to anyone from Rakbank as they hound you- I'm still getting calls even though I have told them Ive opened and account with HSBC.

When you rent somewhere you will be asked to pay your maintenance bill upfront which as I understand covers 3 years so be prepared to shell out on your first cheque.

Erm other tips, buy as much booze as you can at the airport, but as your staying in Sharjah not sure if you'll get away with it, feel free to buy it and Ill "look after" it for you.

Oh and make sure you have downloaded Skype onto your computer as you cant download it here.

If I think of anything else I will let you know!

Good luck

Kittycat
xxx
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 1:07 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Originally Posted by kittycat1 View Post
Best tips are buy one of the Dubai guides, I have the Duabi explorer, and read it before you get here, lots of tips and advice that saves you going the long way around things.
I was over for a few days in September and my work gave me one of these as part of the "it's a really good idea to move out here" sell. I've spent a fair bit of time reading through it and trying to pick up tips, but always nice to get some advice from those 'on the ground'.


Originally Posted by kittycat1 View Post
Have lots of photocopies of your passport and visa, and driving license- and lots of spare passport size pics- I've gone through 16 already and there are still things I haven't done that will need them for.
I heard about the need to take lots of passport pics!! Do you know if colour print outs would be acceptable - I've had some taken here and scanned them onto my PC - are these useable?


Originally Posted by kittycat1 View Post
Make sure you have access to your funds at home, it takes ages to open a bank aount here and I had problems using my natwest card and credit cards, I keep having to call home to reativate them and to confirm it is me trying to use them- so id recommend a travelex card- at least you know you can use it at any atm machine.
I think my work will assist with setting up a bank account. I'm fortunate that is a relatively big company and there are reasonably frequent movements of expats to Dubai. So (by UAE standards) the HR department is allegedly quite good at this sort of thing . I'll look into a back plan as well though.


Originally Posted by kittycat1 View Post
When you rent somewhere you will be asked to pay your maintenance bill upfront which as I understand covers 3 years so be prepared to shell out on your first cheque.
The initial set up costs of an apartment - pre-paying rent, furniture etc etc along with sorting out a car and the costs it brings, are my main concerns, as I don't particualrly want to spend all my savings or immediately rack up a pile of debt.

Originally Posted by kittycat1 View Post
Erm other tips, buy as much booze as you can at the airport, but as your staying in Sharjah not sure if you'll get away with it, feel free to buy it and Ill "look after" it for you.
As it'll be January and I'll have just gone through Xmas, New Year and a few farewell nights out in Abz I think I might be on the wagon for a few weeks in any case. Thanks for the offer though, much appreciated

Originally Posted by kittycat1 View Post
Oh and make sure you have downloaded Skype onto your computer as you cant download it here.
Check - planning to get Skype, MSN, BBC iplayer et al on a memory stick or laptop prior to heading out.

Thanks for all that, I probably do owe you a now...
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Originally Posted by abz_to_dbx View Post
Check - planning to get Skype, MSN, BBC iplayer et al on a memory stick or laptop prior to heading out
don't dick around, just subscribe to a proper personal VPN service, about £23 per year for a good one, and then you won't have any internet censorship problems out here.

you'll need a VPN with a UK gateway to access the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Zattoo etc anyway. none of them are blocked by the UAE authorities but you won't be able to use any of them if you don't have a UK IP address.
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 1:50 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

If you are working in Sharjah and living in Dubai then as I recall the commute can be challenging.
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 1:54 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

I doubt they will acept print outs as these ould have been tampered with, best to get originals- snappy snaps do them in bulk. Always expect them to be diffiult here as theu generally go round the houses to do anything.

Also just to prewarn you I was working as a consultant for my firm before I moved out here and had been quite impressed with everything, The second I became a full time employee the HR have been utter shite so don't expect them to be up to UK standards.

Also you may be getting over xmas/new year but still buy some booze as you'll be driven to it!

Oh and setting up an apartment you need yoru residents vosa to do this and a bank acount so all of those need to be in place first, so make sure yoru company is paying for your hotel until these are all sorted - my visa took 6 weeks so its a bit of a waiting game. I did however have a nice english company find my apartment for me and they helped me loads- www.moveindubai.com

In regards to buying a car, unless you are paying cash upfront you will need a bank account so you may need to hire one to start off with, in which case you need to swap your driving license over to a UAE one which you can do if your residents visa is being processed- Ive still not got round to this as been working stupidly long hours so maybe ask your HR department if they will do it for you ( good luck with that). I got an international driving license from teh UK- 7 quid at the post office but was useless as my visa was already being proessed

Good luck!

KC
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Originally Posted by Bijilo123 View Post
If you are working in Sharjah and living in Dubai then as I recall the commute can be challenging.
I plan to try and stay on the Sharjah side of Dubai, to make it more bearable. From speaking to some colleagues out there they reckon the commute is still preferable to living in Sharjah, and as you're going against the main flow of traffic its not too bad. My experience of taxi-ing it from from Dubai to Sharjah and vice-versa, when I've been out before, hasn't been to bad (once you find a taxi willing to make the trip).
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Old Dec 12th 2009, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

I see your issue with council tax and think you might have a problem with income tax too. Leaving your house available to you and family in the UK point to residency which means you pay tax on world-wide income. Even worse would be frequent visits back home irrespective of the 91 day 'rules'. Advise that wife comes to Dubai rather than you to the UK.

Be careful about remitting money to the uk to maintain the home there - could be taxable income for your wife.

Here is the new set of rules for residency which defines liability for income tax.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/hmrc6.pdf

..it looks more difficult than it is. Ignore all the stuff on domicile - it does not apply to you.

What is very helpful also is tax form SA109 - it is quite clever and if you go through it carefully and honestly you will see how the Revenue will be thinking. There is a 'notes' booklet available to download too.
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Old Dec 12th 2009, 3:40 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

All the best for the move my friend. I moved from Inverness to Sharjah in September and so I've been through much of what you're about to experience. First of all, be prepared for an series of ups and downs and frustrations along the way - but things do improve over time. Don't allow the first few weeks to get you down too much. You have to 'chew through a steel bar' for a while but you'll get there. Coming on your own is a good move. I came with my wife and 3 kids (aged 4, 2.5 and 1) and it was very tough.

You don't exist here until your residency is fully processed. You'll not be able to get a bank account or do anything worthwhile until this has been done.
You simply HAVE to have a car to get around. You'll feel utterly paralised otherwise. I thought it would be a straight-forward process to get a car. Wrong! I have after 3 months finally managed to buy 2 vehicles for my wife and I. What a release it is. Until now I have had to hire a car which is pricey. If you do hire a car, take the full insurance. You need it. I was here less than a week before I was shunted from the rear on Emirates Road by one of the 1000s of Indians in white pick-up trucks who drive too fast and too close.

I managed to get a UAE driving licence on the strength of my UK licence from the Sharjah Traffic police but along with everything else, it was a monumental mission of jumping through hoops to get it.

I was here less than a month before I made the decision that I could not live in Sharjah. The traffic congestion and utterly mad driving was too much for me and so I rented in Mirdif which I highly recommend. We do have planes overhead but we aren't directly underneath the flightpath and we are further uptown than many so it's not too bad. Anyway, you do get used to them. The aeroplanes are the only downside. Other than that, it is the ideal location for someone working in Sharjah. I work at the airport and can get there in 20 mins. I simply drive there, do my shift and turn around again. I feel the tension leaving me the moment I cross the border from the madness of Sharjah to the relative normality of Dubai.

Anyway, PM me if you want more help or info. Mind you, I'm pretty much a UAE virgin but I might be able to give you a few pointers. Are you a Dons fan?
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 1:10 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Originally Posted by Bijilo123 View Post
I see your issue with council tax and think you might have a problem with income tax too. Leaving your house available to you and family in the UK point to residency which means you pay tax on world-wide income. Even worse would be frequent visits back home irrespective of the 91 day 'rules'. Advise that wife comes to Dubai rather than you to the UK.

Be careful about remitting money to the uk to maintain the home there - could be taxable income for your wife.

Here is the new set of rules for residency which defines liability for income tax.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/hmrc6.pdf

..it looks more difficult than it is. Ignore all the stuff on domicile - it does not apply to you.

What is very helpful also is tax form SA109 - it is quite clever and if you go through it carefully and honestly you will see how the Revenue will be thinking. There is a 'notes' booklet available to download too.
Thanks for this, I've downloaded the forms and guidelines. It does look to be more complicated than I'd first anticipated (surprise, surprise!) . At moment 'the wife' isn't actually 'the wife' just a bidey in, and family commitments in the UK mean she's not going to come out straight away, so we'll have to figure out the most tax efficient way of progressing!
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Originally Posted by rmcboyle View Post
Are you a Dons fan?
Thanks for the tips.

More importantly however, yes I am a Dons fan. Yourself?
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 3:19 pm
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No.

One is more than enough.
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Originally Posted by kittycat1 View Post

When you rent somewhere you will be asked to pay your maintenance bill upfront which as I understand covers 3 years so be prepared to shell out on your first cheque.
that's interesting, Kittycat1... strictly speaking it's illegal for landlords to make tenants pay the maintenance bill (yeah, I know, quite why they can't get their head around "taking it out of the rent" is beyond me)

We took on an apartment in Oct this year and there was no mention of us having to pay it - it is, by law, the Landlord's duty - although it quickly becomes the tenant's problem when it's not paid.

I would query this in future if an agent/landlord says you should pay.
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Old Dec 14th 2009, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

oo thanks Kitty!

I shall bring this up with my letting agent! grrr :curse:
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Old Dec 15th 2009, 3:57 am
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Default Re: Countdown officialy begins

Originally Posted by abz_to_dbx View Post
Thanks for the tips.

More importantly however, yes I am a Dons fan. Yourself?
He's not that lucky....

Stand Free....
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