The UAE is home to a significant Indian population that has been contributing immensely to the development of the emirate.
From entrepreneurs and professionals to labourers, Indians are making their presence felt in every sector of the UAE economy.
Each one has his reasons for coming to the UAE... if some move base allured by the quality lifestyle, others fly in to avail of the business opportunities, while a majority come in to simply earn a livelihood. Gulf News spoke to a few Indian expatriates to find out how they feel about the UAE.
Chandru H. Menghani, a businessman, has been in the UAE for 32 years. He's full of praise for the law and order here.
"If you follow the rules, you can live like a king in the UAE. The country is a well-organised place, and has an encouraging business climate. It is a very safe place, too. One can move without fear during any part of the day or night. The only thing that makes me unhappy is that in spite of having contributed to the country's development for more than three decades, I hold no right to permanent residency. Having said that, the pace of development is appreciable, and the expatriate population stands to benefit from the country's development."
Dr Indira Venkataraman, a doctor, practised in Dibba for 13 years, before moving to Dubai.
"We shared an excellent relationship with the people at Dibba. There was mutual respect. In fact, Dubai was a small place two decades back. We knew one another well within the medical fraternity then. That's not the case now. With the fast-paced development came the influx of people. Now the place has become very commercialised and glamorous. We've lost the sense of belonging. And the never-ending traffic is irritating. Otherwise there's freedom and security here, and that's very important when you have children."
Mahesh Kumar, a salesman for the past 12 years, chose to try his luck in the UAE because of the quality lifestyle.
"Unlike other Arab states, the UAE, especially Dubai, is more flamboyant. I really feel at home here because the place offers freedom that is close to that of your own home country. You can provide a quality life to your family, including healthcare, education and entertainment. Not to mention the security. However, of late, increasing house rents are proving to be a spoilsport. The government should take strict measures to implement the rent cap to help expatriates who contribute enormously to the development of the country."
Dr Manju Ramachandran, an entrepreneur, has been here for two decades. Her parents set up a jewellery chain in 1988.
"I like the security the place offers, the multinational population, and the harmony among people. As a child I just got to read about the various religions and nationalities, but today my daughter celebrates Eid, Christmas and Diwali with equal fervour here. This place makes us more tolerant and open-minded. The UAE, especially Dubai, has witnessed tremendous growth since 1996. However, this has not helped all sections of the population. Inflation is high and lower-middle class expatriates are sending their loved ones back home, as they cannot afford the cost of living, especially rising rents. The other thing that puts me off here is the traffic."
Prashant Singh, an IT professional, was hooked on the place as soon as he landed here a decade ago.
"I love the numerous opportunities the place throws up. Anyone can come here and earn a living. Hard work is adequately rewarded. Thanks to the developmental strides the nation is making, Emiratis and expatriates alike get to grow in their chosen fields. In spite of an increase in the expatriate population in the last few years, everyone gets a chance to prove his worth. However, the tremendous progress has adversely affected the cost of living, which unfortunately comes in the form of increased house rent that has hit the common man hard."
Amanda Ahmed, a teacher, has been in the UAE for 10 years and values the multicultural lifestyle and quality of education.
"The first thought that comes to mind when talking about the UAE is its safety and security. It's a very tolerant place. The multi-cultural experience is a bonus. And thanks to quality education, expatriate parents are rest assured about the education of their wards. The syllabus here is the same as that in India, therefore Indians feel comfortable bringing in their families. However, with the rise in the cost of living, it's becoming difficult for the working class."