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Becoming a Solicitor in Dubai - everything you need to know

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​Every year, thousands of British expats choose to relocate to Dubai and it's easy to see why. 

With its subtropical climate, cosmopolitan lifestyle, spectacular skyline architecture, high salaries and low taxes, migrating to the UAE certainly has its appeal - especially for solicitors and legal professionals. 

According to the British Business Group, there are around 240,000 British expats living in Dubai and thousands of British owned businesses operating across the UAE (EER Middle East: The British invasion: why is relocating to Dubai so popular?). The Gulf Cooperation Council (GSS) is increasingly becoming a hub for British citizens, with research predicting a 22% rise in UK visitors in 2024, due to new and direct flight routes, competitive air fares and a family friendly atmosphere (The First Group: Dubai to benefit from 22% rise in UK visitors to GCC by 2024).

If you’re considering a move to the UAE, here are some pros and cons for you to consider. You can also view our available legal job vacancies across the UAE.

Why become a solicitor in Dubai? 

The economy in Dubai is one of the strongest in the Gulf and has become one of the leading global centres. With the Middle East a growing hub for the financial services industry, more and more law firms are opening offices and strengthening their presence there.

Certain parts of the UAE’s culture has been allowed to westernise, creating opportunity for foreign lawyers and solicitors to practice.

For solicitors who want to work with a diverse range of people from different nationalities and backgrounds, Dubai is a great place to do so.

How much can solicitors earn in Dubai?

Salaries in the Middle East can vary depending on the type of practice you work for and years post qualified.

  • In regional practices you can earn £4,550 to £15,000 per month

  • In international practices you can earn £6,800 to £21,000 per month

  • At In-house practices you can earn £6,800 to £21,000 per month

For more information, take a look at our 2024 IDEX Consulting Legal Salary, Benefits and Skills Guide.

What areas of law can solicitors practice in Dubai?

The UAE’s economy has become stronger since the pandemic, experiencing a surge in specialised legal services, particularly in the following sectors: 

  • Construction and Major projects 

  • Real Estate

  • Intellectual property

  • Corporate M&A

  • Banking and finance

  • Dispute resolution

  • Environmental sustainability

What visa do you need to work as a Solicitor in Dubai?

To work as a solicitor in Dubai you’ll typically need a residency visa, which comes with a work permit if a job has been secured with a law firm. A medical health check must be passed beforehand. The application process is handled by the law firm, and once made can be granted in as little as a couple of weeks.

Residency and work permits, granted by the Emirati government are valid for three years but can be renewed. It’s also important to note that a residency visa is essential for obtaining a health card, liquor license, driving license and in order to rent accommodation.

You can find out more information about living and working in the UAE for more than 60 days from the following websites: 

Things to consider before moving to Dubai 

The UAE legal system is largely influenced by Sharia law, making the lifestyle very different to the UK.

  • There are strict laws surrounding alcohol and where it can be consumed – it is illegal to drink or be under the influence of alcohol in a public place. A licence is required to drink alcohol but a fee is no longer required for the application.

  • Non-marital displays of overt affection are frowned upon 

  • It is illegal to have sex outside of marriage, as well as to commit adultery

  • Homosexuality is illegal 

  • The cost of living is much higher which may outweigh the tax benefits

Benefits of moving to Dubai 
  • Subtropical climate

  • Cosmopolitan, city lifestyle 

  • Competitive salaries

  • Tax-free living 

  • Emerging markets 

  • Strong expat communities 

Speak to a specialist Legal consultant at IDEX Consulting

If you work in the Legal sector and aspire to work as a solicitor in Dubai, our consultants are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to help you make an informed career decision. Contact one of them and they’ll be happy to have an informal, confidential chat.