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How to Find a Job in Dubai on a Visit Visa

Joel Mason

How to Find a Job in Dubai on a Visit Visa

Joel Mason • Mar 07, 2023

In 2013, when we were a little younger and a little braver, we arrived in Dubai airport on a 30-day Dubai visit visa, we were excited and ready to embrace all that the city had to offer.

We ended up enjoying eight great years in Dubai. We became Dubai recruiters and over the years we have helped, and continue to help, many people from all over the world find jobs in Dubai. 

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In this article I'm going to explain four steps that you can take right now, that will help you find a job whilst on a visit visa in Dubai.

Many people arrive in Dubai on visit visas hoping to secure employment, unfortunately many are unsuccessful.

This is not because they lack the right skills of experience, but rather, they fail because they don't understand how recruitment works in Dubai.

By the end of this article you'll have four very simple steps that you can take right now, to dramatically improve your chances of finding a job in Dubai.

Four-steps to finding a job on a Dubai visit visa

1. Decide exactly what kind of job you want to get in Dubai

When you arrive in Dubai on a visit visa, you will have a very limited amount of time at your disposal.

You need to hit the ground running, and you should do as much preparation as possible before you arrive.

One of the main things you need to do before you arrive in Dubai, or as quickly as possible after you arrive, is to have a clear goal in mind.

• What job do you actually want to get? 

• What industries are you targeting?

• What companies would you like to work for?

When you know exactly what job it is that you are looking for, you'll be able to perform a very targeted job search.

A clear goal will improve your chances of getting a job in Dubai on a visit visa

I know this sounds too simple but this is absolutely fundamental to your Dubai job search success.

When we first arrived in Dubai, Hannah knew exactly what job she wanted, she had her CV tailored and targeted and had completed most of the steps outlined in this article. Within one week she had accepted a job offer!

I on the other-hand, had no idea what I really wanted to do. I was offered a job selling private jets, a wealth management role and other random jobs that I didn't really want.

After three whole months I finally decided that I wanted to be a Dubai recruiter. I tailored my CV accordingly, updated my LinkedIn profile and within two weeks I had three job offers!

Hopefully my point is obvious, those who know what they want are much more likely to get it.

If you are happy to get any job in Dubai, you are likely to end up with no job in Dubai!

Many of the clients that we work with become frustrated when they apply for huge numbers of roles and hear nothing back.

This typically happens when they haven’t decided on exactly what role they want, and instead believe that applying for more jobs will increase their chances.

Unfortunately, this approach rarely works and is often one of the major reasons that people seem to get stuck in their job search, here’s why:

It leaves recruiters in Dubai unsure as to how they can help you

Recruiters in Dubai are tasked to source candidates that meet very specific requirements. Companies in Dubai are quite inflexible in regards to their requirements.

If your CV, LinkedIn profile or applications are too generic, Dubai recruitment agents will be unclear about what roles they should approach you for and whether or not you will be a good fit for the role for which they are recruiting.

It can show you lack intention and focus

Many people don’t realise that a single Dubai recruiter will likely be handling multiple roles at any given time and when they see the same candidate applying for lots of roles, even roles that they are not suitable for, it can undermine the candidate’s credibility, giving the impression that this candidate does not really know what job they want or what role they would excel in.


Your job applications will be low quality

It’s very easy to quickly click ‘apply’ on Dubai job boards and recruitment platforms, but this typically results in lots of low-quality applications, applications that have not been given enough thought or attention.

Generally, fewer, high-quality applications yield a greater degree of success than many low-quality applications.

Deciding on exactly what kind of role you want will enable you to conduct some thorough research and to begin communicating the value that you can add to specific organisations on your CV and LinkedIn.

It will also provide you with more time to follow up on your applications with high-quality and personalised communication.

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2. Create profiles on Dubai job boards

Signing up for the most commonly used job boards should play a role in your Dubai job search.

However, the extent of the role they will play will largely depend on the kind of role and level you are aiming for.

It’s important to understand that applying on job boards alone is unlikely to be the quickest route to finding a job in Dubai on a visit visa.

Having said this, my advice would be to register on a few key job boards sooner rather than later.

If you are planning to visit Dubai on a visit visa to look for a job, you should do this before you even arrive so that you don’t waste time once you land.

What are job boards in Dubai useful for?
Conducting your research

Dubai job boards can be an effective means of scoping out and understanding the job market in Dubai, you should use them to;

• Find the names of recruitment companies, as well as understand the types of roles that they handle. You can then reach out to them directly.

• Get an idea of how active the market is at the moment. Fewer jobs on job boards is an indication of a slow market.

• Better understand how in demand your skills and experience are and even get some idea of the companies that are currently hiring. 

• Understand the salary levels that are on offer for the roles you desire.

Getting found by organisations and Dubai recruitment companies

Most recruitment companies and a lot of internal HR departments will use job boards to some extent.

• By uploading your CV and personal details you are more likely to get found as and when a recruiter or HR manager conducts a search for candidates with your skillset using a job board platform.

• Very often recruiters and HR managers will store the details of good candidates that they find on job boards for later. Registering on a job board can be a good way to get into the databases of recruitment firms or organisations that handle their own recruitment to some extent.

Applying for jobs

This is the obvious one and it’s the main reason that people register on job boards, however, remember what we said in tip number one and don't just apply for anything and everything! It’s worth noting the following;

• Most job boards are designed to advertise jobs in the junior to mid-level range.

• Very senior or specialised roles tend not to be advertised this way but will often be recruited through executive search firms. 

• You can get more in-depth advice for using job boards in Dubai.

3. Get a Dubai telephone number

When we moved to Dubai, we were advised to get local Dubai phone numbers as soon as possible.

This was some of the best advice that we received, because the minute we updated our new local number on our CVs, LinkedIn profiles and job boards, we started to receive calls from Dubai recruitment companies.

Generally speaking, recruiters and organisations in Dubai prefer to attract local talent, people who are already located in Dubai for two reasons;

• It's less risky – when offering a job to someone abroad there is always a risk that they will choose not to relocate.

• It’s cheaper – Relocating someone from abroad comes at a cost, these costs can be avoided when hiring someone already in the country.

Having a Dubai number on your CV, job board profiles and LinkedIn profile tells recruiters and hiring managers that you are here and ready to go!

Take a trip to one of the many malls in Dubai as soon as possible, and visit an Etisalat or DU store and get yourself a pre-paid sim card.

Make sure you take your passport as you will need ID.

Also, don’t forget to change your location on LinkedIn to ‘Dubai’ so that you start showing up in searches for people based in the region.

​​4. Partner with Dubai recruitment agencies

One of the first things you need to do when embarking on your Dubai job search is partner with one or two Dubai recruitment agencies.

You should find identify recruitment agencies in Dubai that:

• Are specialists in your particular industry or area of specialisation.

• Are reputable and trusted.

• Are willing to meet with you.

Take some time to read our dedicated article to find out what you should expect from a recruitment company in Dubai.

Download a copy of our 20 Top Recruitment Agencies in Dubai to find the recruitment agencies in Dubai that specialise in your industry and use the email address, website links and telephone numbers to get in contact directly.

You'll also get a copy of our Email and Inmail templates and scripts or contacting recruiters, which will help you to make a great first impression.

Once you have identified the Dubai recruitment agencies that specialise in your particular industry, and recruit for the roles that you are targeting, visit the company’s website and find the name of the recruiter in the team specialising in your field.

Next, call up the company and ask for that particular recruitment consultant by name. Explain a little bit about who you are, suggest a coffee chat and follow-up with an email to thank them for their time on the phone and attach an up-to-date copy of your CV.

Failing all of the above there is an alternative way to get on the radar of a recruitment company and that is by applying for a role that they are advertising.

Just make sure the role is a good fit for you, it’s important that you make a good first impression. If they like your profile they will get in touch and usually your CV will be added to their database regardless.


It is possible to arrive in Dubai on a visit visa and find a job.

However, your chances of successfully finding a job in Dubai on a visit visa will be greatly improved if you carry out the four above steps before or right after you arrive!