Are there too many Brits in the UAE?

Ed Attwood hails Brits' contribution in the UAE despite dodgy taxi rides and the lurid headlines

Roger Mathew

I wish Americans were also given opportunities in UAE like the Brits. I find very few Americans working in UAE. I think the reason is Brits only hire Brits and Indians hire only Indian etc. For example, Emirates Airport is run by a Brit and everyone close to him is either Brit or Indian.


@ Henry, enough of whining, the host country does not need you, it is your employer that needs your services and you know well enough that you can be made redundant anytime.
@ Dubai Mike, call it what you wish but you sure are a working guest in the UAE.
@ kingkaiser, in this age it is juvenile to bury one's head in the sand and think the world is perfect, the UAE's demographic imbalance is abundantly clear, the demographic figures alone are frightening and raise serious issues regarding national identity, security, language, culture & heritage, so to summarize, you sure are a burden!


The discussion's below are hilarious. If you didn't check the names you'd think this was 'indigenous' Brits complaining about the 'bloody foreigners' in the UK and how they (the Brits) have lost their British culture. Britain after the second world war was also ' built upon' by foreigners and still relies on them for lower paid manual jobs as well as well paid jobs such as doctors and research scientists. If the 'bloody foreigners' (especially Asians and Muslims) left the UK the majority of the hospitals would probably close down. As for the comments about foreign movies, satellite TVs and internet eroding UAE culture the same can be said for the erosion of British culture but hypocritically many 'indigenous' Brits will blame multiculturalism in the UK but not in nations such as UAE. For the 'indigenous' Brits, 'your country has invited us by giving us (a) visa. If anyone is to be blamed for the present situation - look in the mirror'.


@Zain: It is easy to blame the 70% expats living in the UAE for your loss of culture. But I see a lot of Emiratis eating at McDonalds or wearing a baseball hat with their Kanduras. I think more than expat population, the satellite TVs, foreign movies and the internet are to be blamed.

So along with kicking out all the expats from the UAE, maybe concerned Emiratis should sign a petition saying they want satellite TVs, foreign movies and the internet banned in the UAE as well.

I am sure it would be very good for your country and your generations to blame.


@ Zain : Actually, your country needs employers.. and because his employer needs people - including expats - to work, therefore, your country needs expats.. Not to mention the fact that many expats have owned businesses either on their own on in conjunction with locals..

As for burden, it may be your country, Zain, but if u don't want to pick up the shovel and work hard (like the others do), the UAE will forever be known as a country built upon by Expats.. be they asians, westerners or non-GCC arabs.. In short, you are part of the burden, like it or not.


@Zain, I never said that my employer can not make me redundant anytime? Of cause they can - as in all over the world.
I said that I am not a FINANCIAL burden to the country.
I fully agree that that UAE's demographic imbalance raises serious issues - that is for sure a challenge - but that is not equal to say that those who were invited by the UAE government is a burden.
The present "country setup" with focus on trade and tourism requires all the expats.
If you want to go back and live like 50 years ago - for me no problem. India, Pakistan and other countries will miss the money, but the countries will survive.
I and most other expats can leave with short notice and our only loss will be the job and maybe some real estate that will be worth nothing.
We expats are not threatening your culture or heritage - your country has invited us by giving us visa If anyone is to be blamed for the present situation - look in the mirror.

Totti Rodregues

I enjoyed reading the different comments and arguments and relate it all to cultural differences. We will always be thankful to the development humanity has witnessed. In the past, people did not use to discuss points; they waged wars. We do not need to agree on every single point but we have to accept and appreciate our difference.

James Sanderson

Very poorly written article, was it GCSE coursework? I'll give it a D-.

Convertible Arbitrage

It's a pity that every article about the demographics leads to a keyboard war in the comments section. When all is said and done, the UAE is a safe place where you can raise your children without a sword of lack of security hanging on your head, enjoy an extravagant lifestyle (depending on your income) and to a large extent, stay in your own bubble without overbearing social/cultural obligations.
And yes, it is the government's decision not to institute naturalization and we came here knowing that well. Let's be tolerant, grateful and appreciative of everyone's services.


Could you imagine what would happen if a large proportion of the educated, professional worker population suddenly left (let alone the domestic workers who do everything for their employers who rarely lift a finger)? The country would cease to function. With immigration not an option, the majoirty of expats will come, do their job, get paid and leave...and not look to contribute to the culture or long-term improvement of the country.


Sooner or later each expat will have to pack and go back home; the UAE is not the surrogate mother of any foreigner, the UAE takes care of its own populace, let's hope that other countries also take care of their own people instead of transferring their own burden unto the shoulders of affluent countries.


@ Sylvester, nothing symbiotic about this relationship, if it is not you occupying that office seat it could be anyone else under the sun, ooops i mean centralized AC, but we do not need to wonder if it ain't for the UAE where you would have been by now... Happy Summer.


Burden? it's more like a mutually beneficial relationship which will end when either party decides so. As far as I know I haven t drawn my dole this month, got my child support, or asked for anything else than agreed remuneration from my employer in exchange for my time. Leeches in any countries come both as foreigners and locals, you know?


@Karam: I'm not going to speculate where u might be from, but as a guest you are also entitled to fair wages with good working conditions.. and their mental & physical health is to be looked after too.. After all won't u treat ur guests that way?

no country should be looked at through rose coloured glasses, and i dont think Dubai/ UAE should be any different.. period.


As a guest, you are entitled to nothing other than your salary, nothing at all, and yes it costs a lot to live in a country with security and world class infrastructure and amenities.


As is made clear each and every time a discussion about the need for integration comes up, Westerners are programmed in a way that makes it perfectly okay to maintain double standards. Arab goes to the West, Arab has to integrate. Brit comes to the Arab world, Arabs have to integrate into his culture?!?!?! And no matter how you explain it, this is just how things work in their views... And then there is the constant crying, "ow but it's so difficult", "the language is hard to learn" and so on. Do you seriously think it's not the exact same thing the other way around?!?!


Hisham, you have some definition problems here. First you have to draw the distinction between expatriate and immigrant. An expat leaves his home country temporarily, mainly for work reasons. An immigrant settles in his new country, and in the case of most Western nations, is eventually able to get citizenship. Once someone is permanently settled in a foreign country and acquires that nation's citizenship, it's only fair they should associate more closely with their adoptive country. Maybe if the U.A.E. gave citizenship to foreigners, you may find these foreigners becoming fully involved. Another problem you have is that of the differenciation between integration and assimilation. Integration is functional; you live the way you want with local law as your common umbrella, which is what people do here. And learning Arabic? Look around you, in functional terms there is little to no need. Good on the people who do, but you can't blame the people who don't.

facts are facts


"In terms of the outflow of remittance, 12 per cent came from the six GCC countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, giving a total of $61.046bn.

By comparison, British and American expats in the Gulf sent home just $74m and $81m respectively last year, collectively representing just two percent of the remittance cash transferred from the Gulf last year."


There are many more British expats who have been in the UAE for more than 30 years and who along with Indian businessmen have contributed enormously to the growth of the country. As an Australian who has been in Dubai since 1979 I have had the privilege of working with many of them and commend them for their their loyalty.


Well said, at least it is not as propaganda sounding as the UK ambassador in last night's party where my mate adivced me not to throw my shoes at him as it was not a press conference.

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