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It doesn't just have to be a fantasy or a holiday destination. It can be home. We'll tell you all about it on this page, as well as linking you to those in the know. You don't have to be stuck in the same old same old. 

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Year round warm temperatures, world leading infrastructure, high wages with low tax, a cosmopolitan city full of life and culture, all your home comforts, plenty of entertainment, safe, clean, organised, everything in English, an excellent location from which to travel the world. Why not turn Dubai into your new home? It's possible to use football to do so! Coaching football in the sun for a living sounds too good to be true, but it is achievable. Dubai doesn't have to be a tourist destination. It can be where you live and work.


The facts...

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Where is Dubai?

Dubai is one of seven emirates within the United Arab Emirates. It is practically a city state, located within the Arabian Peninsular, on the Northwest coast of the UAE. The UAE borders Saudi Arabia and Oman. It is just down the coast from Qatar and Bahrain, across the water from Iran, and a short flight from Kuwait.

Basic Facts

  • It takes around seven hours to get there by plane.

  • The time difference to London is three hours in the summer, and four hours in the winter.

  • It is legal to consume alcohol in certain bars and restaurants.

  • The currency is Emirati Dirham (AED).

  • 1AED is usually around £0.20p.

  • The main religion is Islam, with Dubai being one of the least strict locations in the area.

  • Arabic is the main language, with English being widely spoken. All signs are in both languages, and it will be hard to find someone who doesn't speak English.

More Facts

  • Dubai has a population of around 3.3 million people, with only an estimated quarter of a million being Emirati, demonstrating how very cosmopolitan the Emirate is.

  • Dubai is less than 200 years old.

  • The plugs used there are British, so no need for converters.

  • The weekends are Friday and Saturday.

  • Watching European football is very good with the time zones, if you were to work evenings, meaning you'll be getting home in time to watch Champions League games.

  • All your home comforts are there, from Heinz baked beans, to your favourite English chocolate.

  • You'll be familiar with many of the restaurants, with tons of European and North American options, such as Five Guys, Cheesecake Factory, Tim Hortons, and even Nando's.

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The visas...


The United Arab Emirates, also referred to as the UAE or the Emirates, is a popular destination for expatriates due to its relatively simple visa requirements compared to the surrounding countries in the Middle East. This makes the country an excellent choice for companies that are expanding internationally. However, like any other country, there are specific requirements that must be followed regarding immigration, residence visas, and work permits.


What Types of Work Visas Are Available in the UAE?

In the UAE, there is one type of work permit. This work permit is often referred to as a labor card. However, employees will need to obtain an entry visa, a residence visa, and an Emirate ID card before they can apply for a work permit.


What Are the Requirements to Obtain a UAE Work Permit and Residence Visa?

To obtain a residence visa in the UAE, employees will need the following documents:

  • A valid passport and a photocopy

  • Passport photos

  • An Emirates ID card

  • An entry permit from the Ministry of Labor

  • The results of a medical screening

  • A copy of a company card from the employer

  • A copy of the company’s commercial license

The employee may apply for a work permit after obtaining a residence visa. To get a work permit, the employee will need all of the documents listed above as well as a work permit application form, which must be completed in Arabic, and an employment contract or job offer from a company in the UAE.


The Application Process for a UAE Work Permit

It may be helpful to think of the process of obtaining a UAE work permit in three stages: getting an employment entry visa, getting an Emirates ID card (also known as a Resident Identity Card), and obtaining a residence visa and work permit.

How to Get an Entry Visa for the UAE

An employment entry visa in the UAE is also referred to as a pink visa. To begin the process of obtaining this permit, the employer must apply for visa quota approval on behalf of the employee. This approval will be obtained through the Ministry of Labour (MOL).

Next, the employer will submit an employment contract to the MOL. The prospective employee must sign this contract.

The Ministry must approve the work permit application before issuing an employment entry visa. With the approval and visa secured, the employee will have two months to enter the UAE.

Upon entering the UAE with a pink visa, the employee has a period of 60 days to obtain a residence visa and formal work permit.

Getting an Emirates ID

An Emirates ID is required for the medical screening employees will need to apply for a residence visa. To apply for an ID, the employee must provide their entry visa along with an original passport and a copy. Employees will need to apply in person at the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) center, where they will provide biometrics including fingerprints and a photograph.

Obtaining a Residence Visa and Work Permit

To apply for a residence visa, the employee will need all of the required documents listed in the previous section. A residence visa in the UAE is valid for one to three years and can be renewed. The employee’s work permit will be listed as part of the residency visa.

Once the work permit is approved, the employee can officially begin working.

Other Unique Considerations of UAE Working Permits and Visas

One of the unique considerations of working in the UAE is that work permits must be sponsored by an entity that is locally licensed and incorporated in the UAE. This requirement can complicate the process for companies that are in the early stages of global expansion. If your company does not have an established presence in the UAE, you can work with a global PEO as the Employer of Record in the UAE.

Some employees may also wish to bring family members with them to the UAE. Employees can sponsor residency visas for family members once they’ve received their own resident visa.

Info taken from


In their own words...


Why did you choose Dubai?

  • Positive destination and good opportunity for salary and full time coaching.

  • Because they have a vision.

  • The weather and lifestyle is great, along with the fact it is safe.

  • More facilities for sports.

  • Seemed like a place where football had the opportunity to grow.

What is the best thing about living in Dubai?

  • The opportunity to meet new cultures and different people, and the weather of course is fantastic.

  • The salary is good. Overall lifestyle is great. Meeting different nationalities and people from different backgrounds. The cleanliness of the whole place.

  • The weather in the winter period, and the ability to travel from Dubai airport.

  • Multi cultural society, changing landscape and opportunities.

What took some getting used to after moving to Dubai?

  • Adapting to the culture and you are very much there to work. It’s a very work driven culture and expect a lot. Also, Summers of 48 degrees!

  • The crazy roads out here! No one indicates.

  • The Dubai life style. Back in the UK you have to do everything yourself. Out in Dubai, everything is done for you.

  • The summer heat.

  • Coaching a range of nationalities within a squad and the desire to win outweighs all else.

What is the standard of football like in Dubai?

  • Depends on what academy you’re working with. Most academies have their “high performance” groups as they like to call it. That is a very similar standard your good/very good kids in UK.

  • There is also a lot of recreational based sessions so be expected to work with all abilities (foundation). These type of sessions will more than likely make up your session load. Lots of engagement/fun based sessions to help improve FUNdamentals.

  • Its good but its lower than UK standard!

  • Asian; acceptable. Globally; they have taken advanced steps.

  • It is okay. Not as competitive as Europe or the UK. But still has players who understand the game.

  • Within the Pro League - better than people think. Under that it is vary varied. Some top ex-pros playing in amateur leagues for fun. Private academies using it as a springboard for Europe, all in the same league as Sunday league shitkickers.

  • Differs. There is a lot of grassroots school schools/mass participation. But there are a lot of talented, smart players here.

What are some key cultural differences in Dubai that someone may need to beware of before moving?

  • You need an alcohol licence if you are a resident. There are certain laws around marriage etc. Who you know goes a long way over there. Very much money focused place in a thriving environment.

  • Football is pretty much commercial based over there so competing from a business/marketing prospective with other academies. Be prepared for some discussions around marketing/business strategy to increase participation.

  • Be respectful and don't be seen drunk on the streets of Dubai.

  • Islamic country, but very liberal and modern. Just respect the laws, as you would back in your own country.

  • In the Pro League, Div 1, Div 2 you cannot treat match officials like they are in the UK. The disrespect could get you into a lot of trouble, especially for using loud swearing.


Have you been able to forge a social life in Dubai?

  • Yes lots of expat groups and lots of community based groups.

  • Yes! Its easy to make new mates and have a social life.

  • Not really. But is to do with myself. But others can easily forge a social life, especially through football.

  • I work a lot with the local population. Throughout my 5 years here I have been to 1 brunch. I see so many Brits waste their times and money there getting drunk. Due to the climate it can then take 3-4 days to fully recover from a hangover. If you put the hard work in, genuinely help people through your work and take opportunities whilst other people are loving their social time, you get ahead. That’s not to say it’s all work no play. I turned my work into play and I get involved in amazing experiences that I cannot back home; camel racing, falcon racing, desert camping, jet skiing etc.

  • Yes, huge expat community that is extremely welcoming.

How safe and welcome do you feel in Dubai?

  • Very safe to be there. You feel very protected and great standard of housing and schooling if company help you.

  • Very safe. Uber gets me from A to B for less than £20.

  • Safest place on the planet for me and especially women too.

  • From my previous experience I think it's amazing.

  • Very safe and welcome.

  • I’m from the UK, I’ve visited 50 countries. I live in New Zealand and I can tell you the UAE is the safest country I’ve visited. Switzerland and Iceland would be next.

  • Really its a safe country.

  • 4th country I’ve coached and worked in and Dubai is by far the safest!

What changes do you see happening in the future of Dubai football?

  • Lots of football academies and some very good progressive academies. More qualifications and openings/partnerships with local professional clubs.

  • Great opportunity to go and develop in a fanatic place.

  • More sports academies an bigger complexes being built.

  • Right now, not that much. The city and the country are not sports minded like the UK. There is no proper pyramid structure or grassroots leagues.

  • The FA has just allowed foreign ownership of clubs in its two top divisions for the first time ever this season, with Gulf Heroes and Dubai City FC participating in Division 1.

  • More foreign ownership of clubs, more foreign players. This could mean more spectators at games if for example Dubai City FC (British ran club) markets itself well with the Brit Ex-pat community.

  • The standard of play will also increase as Non-EU passport holders in particular Brazilians and Africans use this place as a means of getting a UAE resident permit as it’s then easier to get an EU tourist visa to go on trial in Europe.

  • Landscape of football is massively shifting in Dubai. Been fortunate to be at the heart of it and the changes have massively affected grassroots roots and now affecting UAE FA.

If you had to convince someone to come to Dubai, what would you tell them?

  • I was there for 5 years and never looked back. To work FT in football with a diverse audience was great. I learned a lot about myself by just doing it. Day off at the beach on your doorstep isn’t a bad shout ether.

  • I progressed from head coach to academy manager within 4 years of being there.

  • Take the risk! After the first week, you'll thank me!

  • A place to make dreams come true.

  • It is a nice place, quality of life is so much more better.

  • Even 1 year of work here will change your outlook on life and your range of skills that you can use within your work for the future - BUT ONLY if you get out of the expat bubble.

  • Best place to work and live.

  • Best advise I would ever give a young coach is to leave the UK and work abroad. Dubai is the perfect place for this due to the environment.

What are some of the misconceptions you have been presented with in regards to Dubai?

  • Financially can be difficult to set up. Lots of deposits required upfront and very expensive lifestyle to keep up with (my advice would be to by entertainer voucher).

  • 12,000 AED looks a lot on paper for example but it definitely takes time to adapt how expensive it is to be over there. Get use to £5 for margarine for example.

  • People saying its strict when its really not! Everyone is polite and helpful!

  • That it is hot all year round. That is not true. Only 4 months of the year. The other 8 months, it is great weather, if not perfect!

  • UAE Nationals are all obese and lazy. There are some top local players and a massive fitness/endurance sports scene here that’s driven by the locals. Whilst most of the Brits are hiding inside AC and sleeping off hangovers people are exercising in 40 degrees and 80% humidity in the summer.


The jobs...

Pro Clubs

The standard of the UAE pro league is growing. More international coaches and players are moving across every year, and Dubai is serious about investment in sport. In Dubai you have Al Nasr, Al Wasl, and Shabab Al Ahli. You may have heard of Al Ain from the Emirate of Al Ain, famously defeating River Plate before losing to Real Madrid in the final of the 2018 World Club Cup. Also check out Dubai City, a club that features many Brits, working their way up the leagues.

Pro clubs occasionally recruit throughout the year, for all positions from first team coaches, to academy staff, and all other positions such as analysts, sport scientists, and technical directors. Like in most parts of the world, opportunities in football still go to who you know more than what you know. This is why it's better to be on the ground in the location, impress locally, and then work your way up while making good connections.

PE Teaching

PE teaching for many is still seen as a doss. It's a serious job that requires a lot of time and effort, not quite getting the respect it deserves. There are many large private international schools in Dubai. These cater to quite well-to-do families, and as such, their facilities are often out of this world. As you can imagine, working as a PE teacher in an amazing place like Dubai is a very competitive market. Many of the professionals who work over there are great candidates, who perform good work and end up staying for many years. The pathway is to progress to Head of PE. Depending upon the school, the holidays can be good, and Dubai is an excellent place to travel from. Packages regularly include a good tax free salary upward of £2,000 per month, with accommodation and transport provided, health insurance, visas, a financial reward at the end of the contract, and likely a place in the school for a child or two. You'll need a PGCE and QTS as a minimum. It will also be beneficial to have a degree in a sport related subject, as well as some basic coaching qualifications.


Example of a PE teaching job at a secondary school:

Salary: Competitive tax free salary, furnished accommodation, premium medical and life insurance, work permit and residence visa, annual flight allowance, tuition fee concession, and End of Service Benefits

Full Time, Permanent

Start date: Immediate Placement

Suitable for newly qualified teachers (NQT)

Apply by31 Oct 2021

The International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes are at the heart of GEMS World Academy and are internationally renowned as rigorous and challenging courses in which students develop rapidly both personally and academically. The IB Programme is widely considered the gold standard of education, and GEMS World Academy is looking for talented and innovative individuals to join our highly successful team of over 130 teachers, 80 teaching assistants and 40 administrative and support staff and to contribute to the already successful outcomes for our community.



Our Physical Education department has transformed student outcomes and succeeded in inspiring a love of learning PE at GEMS World Academy, through the dedication of staff, their exceptional subject knowledge, and the department’s forward-thinking approach to the curriculum. The PE department is highly regarded among our student body for the care and personal support offered to students. We are now looking for an innovative Physical Education Teacher to join this successful team on an immediate basis.

The ideal candidate will have extensive experience of the IB, G6 - G12, and a proven track record of successful and varied teaching. Genuine alignment with the philosophy of the IB and the values embodied in the Learner Profile are essential, as is a passion for working in our truly diverse community. In addition, we seek a candidate with:  

  • A certified professional teaching qualification at degree level, such as B. Ed, PGCE, PGDE or equivalent with a specialism in Physical Education  

  • A minimum of 3 years varied and demonstrable experience teaching PE across secondary school levels

  • Experience ideally within an IB curriculum school, however, this is not mandatory  

  • Immediate availability  

  • The experience, personality and educational philosophy to continue to drive the education agenda at this flagship GEMS World school with an international student body  

  • The desire to provide outstanding teaching and learning  

  • Aspiration to work in a world-class school with real prospects for enhancing their career


An excellent remuneration package is available for successful candidates including; a competitive tax-free salary, furnished accommodation, premium medical insurance and life insurance, working permit and residence visa, annual flight allowance, tuition fee concession, and other benefits in line with the UAE Labour Law. In addition to these, we offer:  

  • The opportunity to shape the future of a highly significant IB programme. The IB Programme at GEMS World Academy is unique and exciting  

  • A collaborative team with an excellent support system  

  • An excellent programme of continuing professional development  

  • Training with the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) for teachers delivering the IB  

  • The chance to shape the future of the subject in collaboration with the leadership team, external education professionals, and exam boards  

  • The opportunity to develop personally and professionally, structured performance management, and opportunities to advance to positions of greater responsibility  

  • A commitment to staff wellbeing, including access to all of our sports facilities, weekly fitness sessions, and staff social events  

  • GEMS Rewards, which offers a package of benefits for staff such as retail discounts, savings on gym membership, cinema tickets and many other offers


GEMS World Academy-Dubai (GWA) is a private, co-educational IB World School for PreK to Grade 12 students. Established in 2008 as a member of GEMS Education, the Academy is authorised to deliver the PYP, MYP, DP and CP programmes, and is also accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). We serve a multi-ethnic community in the heart of Dubai. Our ethos is grounded in the IB Learner Profile; we encourage intellectual curiosity, entrepreneurial spirit, and foster a real sense of communal endeavour. The Academy has gained national and international recognition for its work to improve outcomes for students, as well as its aspirational and inclusive vision. As a member of the GWA community, you will have the opportunity to shape the future of the Academy whilst working alongside an exceptionally talented group of teachers and leaders.

GEMS World Academy-Dubai develops inquiring, reflective and caring learners who, through the rigor of the IB programmes have the knowledge, skills and character to take action and create a better, more peaceful world. Supported by highly qualified staff in world-class facilities, our diverse international community is encouraged to develop intercultural understanding and respect. Our aim is to be a world-class IB school that maximises every student’s learning and character to enable them to choose their own successful path, and positively contribute to the local and global society.



Trusted for over 60 years and now a third generation education family, GEMS Education began in a single school room in Dubai. Today, we have the privilege of educating over 190,000 students from over 176 countries through GEMS owned and managed schools globally. Over 270,000 students access resources through our services division, and we will have impacted 20 million students by the end of 2020 through the initiatives of our charity partner; the Varkey Foundation.

If you are excited by this opportunity and are keen to apply please ensure to mention in your cover letter if you will be travelling with a teaching partner and what subject/year groups they are qualified to teach.

We are committed to safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. We expect all staff to share this commitment. The post is subject to an enhanced check.

For further details about GEMS World Academy, Dubai please visit:


Example of a coaching job

Elite Sports Academy Dubai - Head Academy Coach

Looking for a Full-time Football Coach to deliver sessions to children from 3 – 18 years of age and a full spectrum of abilities.


Range: AED 9-11K per month (2.000/2.500 euros/month)

Visa and Medical Insurance included.


A Sport related Degree (Desirable)

FA Level 2 (Minimum)

An enhanced CRB/DBS check.

Safeguarding & Protecting Children Certificate.

First Aid qualified.

Good communication and organisational skills.

Full Driving Licence.

Proficient in MS Office

Experience in the sports coaching and/or education sector.

The ability to deliver high quality sport and physical activity sessions.

A working knowledge/understanding of effective pupil behaviour management.

Experience working with students aged 3-18 years.

Confident in coaching a range of different sports


Articles and interviews...


Read about and listen to those who have been there and done it. Learn from their successes and failures. The best coaches are often the most happy to share and empower others. Here are a handful who know Dubai well.

Over 12 Years at Southampton FC & Landed at Dubai City FC - Sam White

Neil Ormond's Coaching Journey - Current Destination Dubai

#82 BFCN #56 Coaching in Dubai - Conor Doyle (also available on YouTube)

#97 BFCN #68 Pompey Hall of Fame, England Beach Soccer, PE Teaching in Dubai - Gemma Hillier

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