Minimum wage in Dubai? What you need to know

TransferWise
18.07.18
4 minute read

Dubai is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing cities in the world, leading the globe in all kinds of innovation. In Dubai, bigger is better, and it shows in the buildings, islands and the opportunities.

However, Dubai is also an expensive place to live. If you’re considering a move to this fast moving part of the United Arab Emirates, you’ll need to find a way to support yourself. The UAE doesn’t have a national minimum wage, meaning there’s a lot of variance in pay for different kinds of jobs in Dubai. Can you get a job that will pay well enough to cover your expenses in Dubai? Read on to learn about how wages are determined and what it costs to live in this exciting city.

What’s the minimum wage in Dubai?

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a middle eastern nation that does not have a minimum wage in place.

Who determines wages in Dubai? How are they determined?

In most cases, employers are free to pay whatever wages they determine are fair for work that’s done for them. This means that there are extremely high paying jobs in Dubai, especially in booming industries like technology and hospitality. There are also extremely low paying jobs — a local news investigation found in 2012 that manufacturing wages in the UAE were among the lowest in the entire world. When it comes to finding a job, your best bet is probably to compare the salary to the cost of living in Dubai (more on that below) and negotiate with your future employer accordingly.

Are there any minimums for wages in Dubai?

In 2013, the UAE Ministry of Labour approved three rules for minimum salaries for different types of workers. These differ from a minimum wage because they don’t apply universally to all full-time workers in the country, but only to those that meet certain criteria. The rules are:

  1. University graduates should receive a minimum monthly salary of AED 12,000 ($3267.12 US).
  2. Skilled technicians should receive a minimum monthly salary of AED 7,000 ($1905.82 US).
  3. Skilled labourers should receive a minimum monthly salary of AED 5,000 ($1361.30 US), as long as they have a secondary school certificate.

In the UAE, the formation of labour unions is illegal, leaving few outlets for employees to exercise any control over their pay.

What’s the minimum per month you need to make to qualify for national healthcare or health insurance?

The UAE has a mixed public-private healthcare system. All employers are required to provide health insurance for their employees with a base level of care that’s regulated by the Ministry of Health, which issues a health care card to every employed resident of the country, entitling them to free care at public facilities. Emergency medical care is available to anyone in the UAE through the public healthcare system, regardless of whether they’re insured. There is a perception, however, that public healthcare is of a lower quality than what you can find in Dubai’s private facilities, where public health insurance isn’t accepted. Because of this, private health insurance is becoming more and more common, which varies in cost depending on the provider and the level of coverage.

What’s the living wage in Dubai? How much can you really get by on?

Here’s the part that’s really important. All-told, Dubai has a pretty high cost of living. A one-bedroom flat in the city center averages over AED 7,000, which is more than the entire minimum monthly wage of two of the tiers of educated, skilled workers who have pay minimums set by the Ministry of Labour. A single person can expect to spend another AED 3,190 per month on living expenses that don’t include rent.

Now for the good news: In a lot of industries, average salaries in Dubai are much higher than in other parts of the world, and well over the threshold needed to make a living in the city. For mobile developers and project managers especially, salaries are sky high. For administrative and entry level positions, though, making a living might be quite a bit more difficult.

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Compared to other countries, is the minimum wage in Dubai good?

Since Dubai doesn’t have a minimum wage, it’s hard to compare. But here are the minimum wages for some other popular destinations:

CountryMinimum Wage (in US dollars)
Dubai (UAE)No legal minimum wage
Germany$10.48 per hour
Canada$7.93 - $10.68 per hour
United States$7.25 per hour
United Kingdom$9.93 per hour
Australia$508.88 per week
NorwayNo legal minimum wage
France$1,748.85 per month
SingaporeNo legal minimum wage
Belgium$1,846.11 per month

Still considering a move to Dubai? With this information in hand, you should be able to determine whether you can afford to live in one of the Middle East’s most exciting cities. Good luck with your move!

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