Located to the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates.
It is a well-developed city and boasts a multiethnic population made up of expatriate workers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.
In terms of weather, the city has a desert-like climate. The summers are hot with temperatures going above 38 ºC. The winters are mild and January is the coolest month with temperatures averaging around 18 ºC. Sunny skies are prominent throughout the year and rainfall mostly occurs during the winter months (November to March).
Living in Abu Dhabi
Choosing where to live in Abu Dhabi depends on your preferences and way of life. The city centre, also known as Downtown Abu Dhabi, offers numerous amenities including five-star hotels, malls, restaurants and retail outlets. Accommodation is more expensive but there are lots of opportunities for socializing and entertainment.
The areas of Al-Muroor, Al-Karamah, Al-Rowdah and Al-Mushrif are popular with families. There are several international schools in these areas along with stand-alone apartments and villas. In addition to gyms and swimming pools, the corniche is within walking distance of Al-Muroor.
Madinat Zayed, Khalidiya and Al-Wahda are about 15 minutes away from the city centre. These districts have good parks, malls and shopping centres. Housing is more affordable and the traffic is also lighter as compared to Downtown Abu Dhabi.
Taxis and buses are the most common forms of public transport in the city. Taxis are operated by different companies and are silver in color with a yellow roof sign. Fares are charged by distance and time starting at AED. 3/- and going up to AED.50/- for a trip across the city.
Many people also use the bus service. All of the buses are air-conditioned and offer great value for money. Smartcards are used to pay the fare. Single trips are charged at AED.2/- or you can get a monthly pass for AED.80/-
The government has also started a Park and Ride system. According to this scheme, drivers can park their cars in designated areas and continue to the city centre via express shuttles completely free of charge. In addition to reducing congestion, this initiative also reduces the travel time and cost for commuters to Downtown Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi offers a wide variety of leisure and entertainment activities. Yas Waterworld, located on Yas Island, attracts a large number of visitors on a daily basis. It’s built on 15 hectares of land and has over 40 rides and attractions.
The Middle East’s leading tourist attraction, Ferrari World, is also situated on Yas Island. It covers an area of 86,000 square meters and is also home to Formula Rossa (the world’s fastest roller coaster).
For sport enthusiasts, the city has activities such as rock climbing, camel racing, horse riding, bowling, ice skating, powerboat racing and sailing.
Working in Abu Dhabi
1. Job Prospects
Employment opportunities are available in different industries in Abu Dhabi. Skilled workers are always needed in finance, banking, administration, IT, education, construction, tourism and healthcare sectors.
The oil and gas industry is the largest contributor to the job market in the city. Numerous multinational corporations have established their offices in the city and offer excellent job prospects for experienced individuals. Dar Al-Riyadh, Emirates Global Aluminum, Sofomation, Abdulla Fouad Holding and MGR Management Consulting are just some of the major firms based here.
2. Starting a Business
The city is ideal for starting a business because its location provides companies access to markets in Asia, Africa and Europe.
After doing a thorough market study, you’ll need to apply for a trade license. There are three main types of legal structures in Abu Dhabi i.e. a Representative Office, Foreign Branch Office or Limited Liability Company (LLC). Most startups get an LLC license.
Keep in mind that you’re licensing requirements will change depending on where you’re operating from. Businesses in the Free Zones have different requirements as compared to businesses on the mainland.
Setting up a company on the mainland requires that you have a local partner as a Sponsor (for an LLC) or as a National Service Agent (for a Representative Office or Foreign Branch). You will also need to show a capital of AED.150,000 when applying for an LLC license.
Once all the paperwork is in order, an LLC can be incorporated in two to three weeks. Representative Offices and Foreign Branch Offices take longer to set up.
3. Finding Office Space
As compared to Dubai, Abu Dhabi offers more cost-effective office space. The most well-known areas for offices in the city includes Al-Tibbiya, the Abu Dhabi Mall and Al-Zahiyah.
Serviced offices in Abu Dhabi are a popular option because of the many benefits they offer. Coworking areas can be found in Al-Tibbiya while the Abu Dhabi Mall has office space along with world-renowned shopping outlets.
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