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Dubai was once regarded as a city of opportunities for those willing to uproot for a few years to make an easy tax-free living before cashing in and returning to where they came from. Dubai has changed. It is still a land for prospectors but there are abundant opportunities for a nuanced quality of life that attracts a more discerning émigré.

Although the earliest written record of Dubai dates back to the 11th century, modern Dubai was founded as a fishing village in the early 1800s. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the city grew, from oil and trading revenues. Today less than 1 per cent of Dubai’s current GDP is derived from oil. Its wealth now comes from banking, financial services, property, trade, aviation and innovation. Dubai combines more tax treaties than Switzerland, Singapore and Lichtenstein, with a best-in-class regulatory and judicial framework. A beacon for women’s rights in the region, Dubai has no restrictions on work, driving or dress codes. Add to this its reputation as one of the world’s safest cities and Dubai’s global approach drives a positive brand of ambition on which the city continues to grow.


Dubai has plenty to offer its visitors and residents. Some of the globe’s most favourable tax conditions are bolstered by high levels of security and education, not to mention culture and cosmopolitan flair.

200
Expat nationalities make up 90 per cent of the population

0
Personal income tax, capital gains tax or withholding tax

99.5
Literacy rate among the 15-24-year-old population sector

117
Treaties for Double Tax (or 193 with Bilateral Investment)

74
Countries that are eligible for visas on arrival

60+
Universities and colleges offering over 500 courses


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Getting around

Map and infrastructure

To help you get the most out of your time in Dubai, here is an essential guide to the urban layout and the key characteristics of the city’s neighbourhoods.


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Opportunity knocks

Business and entrepreneurship

It’s no surprise that Dubai is known for being friendly to business. Here are some particularly noteworthy new ventures and key personalities.


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Creative movers and shakers

Culture, art and media

Situated at a cultural crossroads between east and west, Dubai’s art scene attracts both creators and appreciators of art from around the world.


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Style of its own

Architecture, design and fashion

The scope for grand designs makes this city an architect’s dream – and designers across aesthetic disciplines are also well represented.


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Where to dine, shop and stay

Hospitality and retail

Build your itinerary here. From famous malls, grand addresses and under-the-radar shops to hzaute cuisine and casual dining spots, Dubai has it all.


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Things to do

Essential experiences

Top tips for ways to spend your time in Dubai, whether you’re after a once- in-a-lifetime adventure or a leisurely day of indulgence.

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