Recent expatriates might have more motivation

I believe that one can have an advantage over the other or vice versa. People born and raised in the UAE may have the edge of knowing the culture, language, work environment and norms. Expatriates who have just arrived, on the other hand, may use their experience with their previous workplaces from their home country or elsewhere to combat the unfamiliarity of this new territory. Many expatriates may have been exposed to different work cultures that could make them more adaptable to a new environment. More so, these two groups of people may slightly have different motivations as to why they have arrived here. I can’t speak for all of them but given that I’m an recent expatriate, I speak from my experience.

I work here to get exposed to new skills; learn how marketing and public relations work in a diverse culture; boost my resume; earn a decent living to save more for the future but most of all, provide for the needs of my grandmother – this gives people like me a more personal motivation to persevere as I not only provide for myself but for someone who needs support.

However, whether one was born here or an expatriate who is still delving into the UAE, both should be open about each other’s limitations, share each other’s knowledge, accept each other’s differences, and explore each other’s commonalities — learning to do all these will help build each other individually and nurture the workplace as a whole.

From Ms Nadia Shami

Marketing executive based in Dubai


Dos and don’ts

People who have lived in the UAE understand the culture

Yes, I believe that people born and raised in the UAE do in fact have an edge over the recently arrived expatriates. That is because firstly, moving to a new country can be overwhelming in general. I believe that every country has a certain way of doing things, certain dos and don’ts which people have to get used to. New expatriates have to adjust themselves according to the culture and the societal norms and simple things like the weather. Whilst people born and raised in the UAE do not have to face that problem.

Also, people coming from different parts of the world will be used to a different work culture and will have to adjust themselves when they come to the UAE, this might be a hurdle for them in the workspace.

Another aspect is family. For people born and raised in the UAE, they generally have their families and friends living here as well, whilst this is usually not the case for recent expatriates. They would have to not only cope with the burden of living away from their families but also need to make new friends.

Lastly, UAE is a very heterogeneous society, there are very few places in the world that are as culturally diverse as the UAE. Recently arriving expatriates will need to get used to working and living in such a multicultural society, which can be a challenge for some.

From Mr Hashim Noor

Computer programmer based in Dubai



The UAE is accepting to all people

As someone who was born and grew up in the UAE, I do believe that there are some advantages that come with growing up in a country that you decide to live in. I sometimes see people who have recently moved here struggling with some cultural aspects that might differ from what they are used to.

However, that might not be a problem in the UAE. This country is so accepting and multicultural that being an outsider is seen as an advantage. Compared to people who have spent their whole lives in the same country, recent expatriates might be seen as having a ‘fresh’ outlook on things and more culturally experienced which is very important for an ethnically diverse society like this one. Also, I sometimes notice that recent expatriates are more enthusiastic about learning the culture and integrating into the society than long-term residents.

From Ms Nida Gulzar

Pupil based in Sharjah


Right attitude

Expatriates need to have a positive attitude towards learning

I think it depends on which place these recent expatriates are moving to and where from. If I speak about my personal experience, I moved to the UAE from Pakistan a few years ago. However, I did not experience a culture shock because of the similarity of the society in the UAE with what I was used to and also because of the diversity UAE has. These things made it easier to integrate and helped in not setting me apart from any other resident.

Shifting to a new place however, did bring some unfamiliarity. There were some rules, norms and regulations that I had to learn and unlearn what I previously knew. That definitely gives people who are brought up here a head start over someone like me. That is not to say that recent expatriates will be behind those who are familiar with the culture because it all depends on how much effort one is willing to make and their social skills play a big part as well. I know people who have just arrived and speak more Arabic, are better at navigating around the country and respect and abide by the rules and regulations more than anyone who has stayed here for a long period. The right attitude is very important, people just need to be more open to accepting ‘outsiders’ and giving them a chance, the rest is up to each individual.

From Mr Mohammad Osama Ahmad

Transportation and city planner based in Sharjah


Poll results

Do you think people who are born or brought up in the UAE have an advantage over those who have recently moved here?


Yes, they know the dos and don’ts of the country: 39%

No, they might assume that they have that ‘edge’ and take it for granted: 22%

It depends on each person’s determination: 39%


Have Your Say

Do people brought up here have an advantage over recent expatriates because they are more aware of the culture?

Do people who have stayed here for a longer time understand the corporate culture, giving them an advantage in terms of employment?

Can people brought up in the UAE assuming that they have that ‘edge’ be disadvantageous to them?

Are expatriates who have just arrived to the UAE more enthusiastic to learn about the culture?

To share your views on this topic or join future debates, write to us at readers@gulfnews.com