So, you have heard the rumours of the magical place with tax-free salaries, lucrative saving potential and a convenient hub to explore the rest of the world—now how do you filter out the rumours from the facts? 

It can often be confusing to know what you need in order to move to the United Arab Emirates but worry not, we have you covered. This week we have pooled together the most common questions our budding international teachers ask about the UAE and have set to work answering them in a simple and digestible way… read on.

The UAE is made up of 7 Emirates. Dubai hosts the biggest population and is likely the most popular among international teachers. With a huge amount of expatriates living in the UAE, there is also a large number of International Schools—fantastic! However, this probably raises the question “how do I pick a school that is right for me?”. Teacher Horizons has covered the basics as well as a list of schools and current vacancies, here.

Search the latest teaching jobs in the Middle East. If the idea of teaching in the Middle East excites you, why not get the wheels in motion and create your profile page today (it’s free)?

Question 1: Is the UAE Tax-free?

This is the most common question posed to our Advisers at Teacher Horizons. The answer is yes. The UAE is an extremely attractive place to work due to its high potential for earning and tax-free salaries. There is no income tax, so you won’t be taxed on your salary. However, you will be taxed on goods and services. Many teachers opt for the UAE as a way to save money to travel or towards securing savings for when they return to their home country.

There are many IB schools in the UAE. Skip over to one of our previous blog posts all about IB.

camelQuestion 2: Can I live with my partner if we are not married?

Short answer, no.  If you are unmarried you are unable to live with your partner in the UAE, it is illegal under Sharia Law. People of the opposite sex are only able to live together if they are married or family members.  The “Tawajed clause” in Sharia Law also prevents people from the opposite sex staying together in house-shares and even hotels. It’s important to remember that it’s a conservative Muslim country with strict laws. Expats must respect the local culture or face harsh penalties. The UK government website outlines the rules, here.

stationQuestion 3: Do I need a Bachelor of Education to work in the UAE?

Researching requirements for teaching in the UAE yields varied results which can be quite frustrating. The lack of clear answers available means it is one of the most common questions we receive at Teacher Horizons. As it stands, all teachers need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher and it must be in the field you are going to teach.

The rules in the UAE are not static and recently the UAE is in the process of introducing a new licensing system for teachers.  The Teachers’ Licensing System (TLS) which was introduced in 2017 as a pilot, will apparently become a requirement by 2020. The Teachers’ Licensing System (TLS) will become a requirement for education professionals in the UAE by the end of 2020. Teachers, management and schools will all require the licence to work legally in the UAE.

Question 4: How much money can I save?

q3The general allure around working the UAE has centred around it’s earning potential. Not surprisingly, we get a lot of questions regarding saving and the cost of living in the UAE. This will vary between the Emirates. The website Numbeo is a good source for the breakdown of general costs.  The cost of living, in general, can be quite high but this is mostly down to high accommodation costs. Some international schools will provide or subsidise this allowing for further saving potential. Groceries and gas are reasonably priced. Transport is relatively affordable but if you get a car though be warned of the heavy traffic. Taxis are commonly used and inexpensive.  It will depend on your lifestyle as to how much you can save, try opting for traditional markets or bazaars to hunt down a bargain.

You can take a look at our current vacancies in the UAE here

cityscapeDo you have experience of working in the UAE? We would love to hear about your experiences.  Please feel free to reach out to us. Email us at

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