ACCOMMODATION AND UTILITIES
As an employment benefit, the Higher Colleges of Technology provide quality accommodation for employees. Each college has a Housing and Visa Officer who will assist in assigning suitable housing for you and your family. The type of accommodation provided is dependent upon the employee’s position within the organization, the size of your family, and the city in which you will reside. The Housing and Visa departments oversee many residences in each city and typically begin allocating housing to employees a month prior to arrival.
Unlike expatriate accommodation in other Middle Eastern countries, apartments and villas are not typically located in compounds. Instead, employees live in the community amongst other expats and UAE Nationals.
When you arrive in your new city, a 6 night stay in a hotel will be pre-arranged by the college so that you have time to purchase your furnishing essentials. Accommodation comes unfurnished so a Relocation Allowance is provided to the employee for furnishings and other necessities. In the UAE, most accommodation does not come with appliances but even new appliances are generally less expensive than appliances in Western countries. The Relocation Allowance does not require repayment unless the employee leaves the organization before the end of 36 months. In such instances, the remaining, prorated amount must be repaid.
Voltage in the UAE is 220-240V, 50Hz. The dominant socket type if the 3-pin British plug, as illustrated below. Adapters are inexpensive and widely available at most supermarkets since many electrical products sold in the UAE are imported and are equipped with two prong plugs.
Telephone, Cable and Internet Services
The international code for the UAE is +971. Area codes for each Emirate consist of 2 digits and telephone numbers are 7 digits long. Etisalat is the telecommunication service that provides telephone, internet, television cable and mobile phone services across the UAE. International calls and SMS are relatively inexpensive. Television channels from around the world can be added to your basic cable package for a nominal fee.
Mail is not delivered to street addresses in the UAE but rather to post office boxes. The majority of the HCT employees choose to have mail sent to them via their college PO Box.
Driving in the UAE is on the right hand side of the road and women are permitted to drive. Cars, fuel and maintenance are generally less expensive than in most Western countries. Swearing, rude gestures and other forms of road rage can lead to heavy penalties, including a jail sentence, so it is best to keep ones cool while on the road.
Should you choose to buy or lease a vehicle in the UAE, you must hold a valid Residence Visa and a UAE driver’s license. Depending on the origin of your driver’s license, you may be able to convert it to a UAE license. Certain nationalities may be required to take a driving test. Although each Emirate may have slightly different guidelines for obtaining a UAE driver’s license, the following website provides additional details on driving in the UAE:
The Emirates Network – Drivers License
Parking can be difficult to find in certain urban areas and not all housing comes with a designated parking spot. Also, traffic can become quite congested during peak times in urban centres, particularly in Dubai. As a result, many people choose alternative forms of transportation. Taxis are plentiful and very affordable in the UAE. Public transportation services are relatively new to the UAE so not every Emirate has a fully-operating public transport system yet. Currently, there is the Dubai Metro; bus services within Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai; and long-distance buses and minibuses running between some of the Emirates. Motorcycles and bicycles are not commonly used in the UAE as both are considered to be somewhat dangerous forms of transportation under local driving conditions. For up-to-date information on transportation services in each Emirate, please visit:
The Emirates Network - Transportation
ACTIVITIES AND LEISURE
The UAE has a multitude of dining options to suit most international tastes and dietary requirements. Food, beverage and dining outlets come in many different styles, from casual take-away stands, to family brasseries, to fine dining restaurants, and will suit every budget. Alcohol is available at most international hotel chains which house restaurants, bars and clubs, much like any modern city establishment.
The United Arab Emirates is a hub for international and local sporting events, offering residents and tourists many opportunities to see world-class athletes participate in international tournaments, races and competitions. The UAE is home to the Dubai Desert Classic, Abu
Dhabi Grand Prix, Dubai World Championship, Dubai
Formula One Powerboat Racing, Al
Ain Aerobatic Show and the
Dubai Rugby 7’s to name a few. Each year, thousands of sporting fans descend across the Emirates to be a part of these adrenaline-pumping events as both spectators and competitors.
Many locals and expatriates are members of local sporting clubs including football, rugby, cricket, netball, volleyball and basketball. If you are interested in joining a recreational sports league, Duplays provides adult sport leagues and events in various Emirates and is often a good way to meet new people.
Throughout the year, the UAE boasts hundreds of cultural and modern events attracting visitors from around the world. Concerts, exhibitions, theatre and dance events are popular attractions that are sure to meet everyone’s idea of fun and relaxation. The UAE has plenty of parks and recreational areas where families may use facilities for picnics and barbeques. Cinemas, clubs and entertainment venues are also found in abundance and are popular year round, especially during the summer months. There are also plenty of public and private beaches which are safe for swimming, providing a pleasant way to cool off in the desert heat.
The UAE is known for being one of the world’s most exciting shopping destinations. State-of-the art malls and shopping centres offer designer brands from the United States, Europe and Asia, and provide a haven for high street stores and well-known labels. In a mix of “old meets new”, UAE shopping also includes traditional souks where handcrafted goods, jewelry, spices, carpets and other wares are sold by family businesses and traders. Bargaining is an expected part of the souk shopping experience and people can be easily lost in the many avenues and laneways that make each souk unique.
Grocery shopping is made easy thanks to large European supermarket chains that sell international goods and produce at reasonable prices. Grocery items can also be purchased at smaller mini-marts and corner stores which are available everywhere. There are also various markets specializing in fresh fish, fruits and vegetables where prices are very cheap and produce is fresh.
When it comes to buying furniture and other household items, there is a wide range of furniture styles offered. International brands are available and nearly every furniture store offers free delivery and assembly within the Emirates. Some furniture chains offer discounts for HCT employees so it is always wise to ask the store clerk if such a deal exists. In addition, HCT employees will often sell off secondhand household items at the end of their contracts through the HCT’s intranet.
Living in the UAE, you will observe styles of dress from around the world. While
the HCT does have a dress code in place for staff, people are free to wear what
they desire outside of business hours. Because of the heat, many will dress in light
clothing and bring a cover-up to wear inside as air conditioning can make indoor
spaces quite cool. International fashion retailers can be found in all shopping
centres across the UAE.
Most UAE Nationals prefer to wear their traditional clothing. Men wear a kandura,
a long white cloak, along with an egal, a black rope that holds the gurthra (headscarf)
in place. The long black gown worn by females is called an abaya, which serves to
cover the clothing worn underneath, and is accompanied by a head covering known
as a shela.
The UAE is a tolerant country that values the contribution of the expatriate workforce.
The Government is committed to providing a safe environment for all citizens and
residents of the UAE. There is little to no crime as people from all different countries
work and socialize together in harmony. The UAE remains a peaceful country to work
in or visit, with its residents showing respect for all cultures and traditions.
The UAE is located in a sunny, sub-tropical climate with little rain throughout
the entire year. October to June offers warm, sunny weather, while the summer months
from July to September becoming very hot and humid. During the summer, temperatures
are often over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and most people opt to
stay in air-conditioned buildings away from the heat throughout the day. The best
months in the UAE are November to April where the temperatures range from 14 to
33 degrees Celsius (57 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit).
There are several public holidays that fall throughout the year. Holidays are timed
according to local sightings of various phases of the moon so dates given in advance
are usually approximations. For a complete list of public holidays in the UAE, please
Ramadan is an important holiday for all Muslims commemorating the revelation of
the Quran. During this holy month, Muslims abstain from all food, drink, and tobacco
from dawn until dusk. During Ramadan, work hours will often be adjusted, live music
is banned, and restaurants are usually closed during the day. Non-Muslims are expected
to respect this holy period by avoiding the consumption of food and drink in public
forums and by observing a more conservative dress code for the month.
HCT employees can be accompanied by their spouse and children for the duration of
their contract. The HCT will take care of all necessary visa requirements, therefore
employees will be asked to provide certified documentation of all accompanying family
members prior to arrival in the UAE.
Once a residence visa has been granted, an employee’s spouse can seek employment
in the UAE. The HCT provides benefits for a spouse and up to three dependent children,
which includes educational allowances, vacation tickets, and health insurance. Detailed
information regarding employee and family benefits can be found in the HCT Terms
and Conditions of Employment, which are provided to candidates when an offer of
employment is made.
Employees are allowed to bring their pets to the UAE as long as the correct documentation
is in order. Pet documentation must be verified and complete, including health and
vaccination certificates, and documentation containing the animal’s microchip number.
Any expenses incurred bringing the pet to the UAE is the employee’s responsibility.
For more information, please view the following links:
HOUSEKEEPERS, MAIDS, AND NANNIES
Many people in the UAE hire domestic help to assist with childcare and household
duties. Cleaning services are readily available with many people finding a maid
either through word of mouth, cleaning agencies or services advertised on the HCT
For a more formal approach (in particular for hiring a Nanny), there are specialist
agencies that provide Nanny and Maid recruitment services, many of which can be
found online. For more information regarding legal requirements and other associated
factors and criteria for hiring a Nanny click here.
The UAE offers schools with a variety of international curriculums including British,
American, Indian, Australian, Filipino and other national programs of study. Private
schools in the UAE are primarily English-speaking, with Arabic and Islamic subjects
taught in Arabic.
It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure admission/placement of school
aged dependents. There are many school websites you can review prior to your arrival
in the UAE. Please use the following links for further information regarding education.
UAE Links - Schools
Index UAE - Schools
The HCT provides health insurance with regional coverage, through Daman National Health Insurance Company, to all its
full-time employees and their eligible dependents, and also to temporary employees
on one year contracts. Insurance coverage is vital in the UAE and employees and
their dependents will be covered for most general medical expenses (excluding dental).
Dental clinics and orthodontic services are easily found across the UAE. In addition
to general dentistry practices, other available services and products include orthodontics,
periodontic treatments, endodontics, cosmetic dentistry, and dentures. A comprehensive
list of dental services can be found at Indexuae.com.
Terms and Conditions of employment with the HCT are provided to candidates when an offer
of employment is made. Some conditions vary according to the position grade and
entitlements of the position. It is suggested you carefully read the Terms and Conditions
of employment thoroughly prior to accepting an offer of employment and ask any questions
to ensure you understand the terms fully.
Teaching Faculty leave is provided during the summer months (generally in late June, July and August) with a break in December and in the spring. Non-academic staff may also work on this schedule or request vacation at other times with the approval of their Supervisor. Non-teaching professional staff, supervisory and other senior administrative staff receive 44 vacation days; and administrative support staff receive 30 vacation days per year. Vacation is subject to the approval of your Supervisor.
Unlike some Gulf Countries, once you have a residence visa for the UAE you have
the freedom to travel in and out of the Emirates as you require, giving you plenty
of opportunity to further your travel experiences or visit family and friends abroad.