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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in India and the Middle East - United Arab Emirates

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Population: 2,369,153
note: includes 1,576,472 non-nationals

Literacy rate: 79.2%

Life expectancy at birth: male – 71.64 yrs, female – 76.61 yrs

Infant mortality rate: 17.17 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate: 1.61%

GDP growth rate: 2.5%

GDP per capita: £12,000

Unemployment: N/A

Inflation: 4%

Climate: desert; cooler in eastern mountains

Time: GMT + 4.

Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square 3-pin plugs are widespread.


The UAE’s homepage, with links is at

UAE Yellow Pages are at http://uae-ypa

The federation has a fascinating history. Until 1819, the coast was famous for its pirates. The British launched an attack and forced the treaty of 1820 by which the locals renounced piracy. By 1853 the Treaty of Maritime Peace in Perpetuity had been signed and the area became known as the Trucial Coast, later the Trucial States. From 1873 to 1947 the area was administered by British India and then the London Foreign Office. In 1960 the Trucial States Council was formed and when the British left in 1971 the states federated and assumed their current name. Ra’s al-Khaymah joined in 1972, but Bahrain and Qatar voted for separate independence. There are now seven member states.

The country is a classic example of what anyone would do after winning a lottery or discovering oil in stupefying quantities in the backyard – do nothing yourself; pay others to do it. A large part of the population is made up of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Iranian workers who make up some four fifths of the labour force. Two thirds of the population is male, but this is all down to the foreign worker population, as is the federation’s enormous population growth rate in the 1980s. The UAE’s reserves of petroleum constitute 10% of world reserves; the natural gas reserves 5%. The reserves are expected to last for the next 100 years. Oil and gas exports account for 33% of the economy and services another two fifths. The rest is accounted for by dates, aluminium, dried fish and pearls.

The country is really just a desert plain with a few high mountains (up to 3,050m) in the east. The yearly rainfall, at 3 to 4 inches, is about that of a rainy afternoon in Manchester. Everything concentrates in Abu Dhabi, although Dubai is also important as the major port.

Restrictions on women are not so severe as in other Arab states, but you should remember that this is an Islamic country and act accordingly. Smoking and drinking are out during Ramadan.

Entry requirements

Rules change often. Check with your local UAE embassy or consulate for the latest wrinkles.


Hepatitis A, Polio, Typhoid and Malaria.

Tax and Insurance

Tax? No, thanks, we have oil. You can get a health card for about £130. A wise investment.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in UAE

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