// Contemplating overseas career but ....
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« on: Jan 03, 2013 12:49 PM »


I'm contemplating moving overseas for work but I'm concerned about a few things.

I'm looking at applying for jobs in either the Middle East, South East Asia or the UK, but can't decide where to apply due to the fact that I'm a single Muslimah.

I was contemplating the UAE because lots of people rave about the living standards and the high rate of salaries, but I'm apprehensive about being there on my own.  I'm afraid of the treatment of single, muslim women of colour.  I've heard some horror stories regarding racism and harassment and was wondering if anyone could provide insights.

I was also thinking about an Asian country such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia or Brunei.  I don't think the salaries are quite as high as the Middle East, but the opportunity to experience a different culture is very appealing.

The UK is my last option.  I guess I would like to go there for the opportunity to travel around Europe during weekends and holidays.

If anyone has any advice and experiences that they'd like to share, I'd be most grateful.

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« Reply #1 on: Jan 03, 2013 05:55 PM »

I think it all depends on what kind of job you want to do. Maybe if you tell us what kind of job you are looking for it will help give a better idea.


Also are sure it will be safe for you to live in a foreign country, single with no relatives. Am not saying its impossible but I think if you can have someone you know where you are going it might help.

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« Reply #2 on: Jan 03, 2013 06:41 PM »

Assuming you're an American, the Middle East will love you. I'm considering the Middle East too and I'd drop the UAE if I were you, the cost of living there is higher than elsewhere. Consider Qatar/Kuwait/Oman instead of that. And it's not as bad as you heard, I mean, there are horror stories everywhere but the chances of that happening to 'everyone' who goes there are very less.

Saudi is the best if you're looking to save money, but being single, it will be difficult and the only jobs for women are either in healthcare or education.

I have a cousin, single and female who works in real estate in Dubai and another cousin and three aunts who worked in healthcare in Saudi when they were single and none of them had any major issues whatsoever except for being scared during the first Iraq war. Same thing with my stepmum, she was a teacher in Saudi.

But they were Indians with low expectations so it worked out, it always does for us. Western born and bred folks usually have problems adjusting in the Middle East and get frustrated. So, you should keep that in mind if you fit into that category.

Bottomline is, if you want to save, Saudi(consider restrictions here)>Kuwait>Oman>Abu Dhabi=Qatar>Dubai. In terms of being flashy and having loads of foreigners and resembling the west, Dubai>Qatar>Abu Dhabi>Oman=Kuwait>Saudi. These are just general rules though, there will always be exceptions. Like, if somebody works in finance, they can earn more in Dubai than in Saudi or Kuwait.

Healthcare and education are sectors in which there are a lot of women, so there will be less of the racism or bad treatment and it's always better to work for the government or for big companies.

I know people who came back or are considering coming back to India from the UK because it's getting tough for non EU citizens. A friend of mine returned last Friday after two months in Malaysia because salaries are low there. I've heard great things about Singapore though. No idea about Indonesia or Brunei.

Are you considering Australia/NZ as well? There are some sisters on the board from there who could advise you.
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 05, 2013 01:01 PM »

Hmm, how about the US? If you find a good community and some Muslim roommates you might like it a lot better. It's a bit more open than other countries and less expensive. Easy to move around and so on.

The Middle East might be a bit difficult without relatives as u said. I wouldn't go to SE Asia, I just think those are very family oriented societies and might look at a single woman foreigner in a bad light. The UK is also difficult without friends or relatives.

I think you should make a list of the top 5 things you're looking for ie

1. Support of family/friends
2. Good salary/job
3. Good community
4. Safety and openness
etc

and then try to evaluate all the places based on those!!
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 05, 2013 01:54 PM »

The uk can be very lonely if you won't have any friends or contacts here, plus it rains all the time.

Unless you have an amazing skill set to market, you will find it immensely difficult to get a job here as well.
The economic down turn has hit the job market hard.
There's about a thousand applicants for every job going & immigration rules are so strict most companies prefer home grown employees as opposed to immigrants who cost more in terms of paperwork & home office compliance.


Dubai is as western as you can get without actually being in the west, but it's super expensive from what I recall (& I was last there 9 years ago).

If you're in the west, then look to getting a position overseas through your current employer, they'll pay for moving & give you a living expenses as well as you salary, which makes it worthwhile, otherwise it's very expensive relocating.

I'd live in Saudi in a heartbeat.

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 05, 2013 05:33 PM »

I'd live in Saudi in a heartbeat.
Really? Shocked

If you're in the west, then look to getting a position overseas through your current employer, they'll pay for moving & give you a living expenses as well as you salary, which makes it worthwhile, otherwise it's very expensive relocating.
The Middle East will pay for relocation as well. My cousin went to Saudi a few months ago with pretty much nothing in his pocket. The moment he landed, they put him up in a hotel till he found his own accommodation, gave him a housing allowance, travel expenses, a food allowance and all this on top of the money they paid for his visa and ticket. No country can match Saudi in terms of monetary benefits.
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 05, 2013 05:58 PM »

I would, if the spectre of my children's custody wasn't hanging over my head.

My girls can converse in Arabic and everything Mashallah.

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 05, 2013 06:07 PM »

wow! I thought everybody from the west hated Saudi, or at least didn't want to live there, ever Roll Eyes

Guess I was wrong Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 05, 2013 06:17 PM »

It's the birthplace of the beloved Prophet, that alone makes it the dearest place on earth. I'd wear a Niqab in Saudi tho, the men stare.

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 05, 2013 06:22 PM »

I'd wear a Niqab in Saudi tho, the men stare.
Cheesy True. Same for Hyderabad.

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« Reply #10 on: Jan 05, 2013 06:25 PM »

Has anyone here ever thought about all the places mentioned in the Quran?

Esa (AS) birthplace
The cave of the sleepers mentioned in Surah Kahf
The birthplace of Ibrahim (AS)
Syria because the prophet (saw) went there while handling Khadeeja (RA) business
Egypt- where Musa (AS) & Yusuf (AS) once lived. I want to see the sea that Allahs mercy parted for the banu Israel.

I'd live in the Middle East definitely.

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 05, 2013 06:47 PM »

Nice Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 07, 2013 09:07 AM »

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions.


The UK was my last option and I was only thinking about it because the proximity to Europe was very attractive.  I must say I wasn't too keen on the weather aspect of living there.

Some interesting feed back also on the Middle East.  I had struck Saudi off my list as most of the horror stories I had heard were from people who had come back from a stint there.  But it is interesting that everyone here seems to be favourable to it.  I don't think I'd have a problem working there as I would be working with women and children anyway.  But the thought of living in compounds and not having a male relative to move around with, especially in such a conservative, male gawker society is a bit off putting.  If I went, I'd definitely be wearing nikab too.

I was favouring S.E. Asia and was thinking very seriously about it. Yes, I agree that these countries are very family oriented but  I do have quite a few friends in Malaysia and Singapore so those countries wouldn't be such an issue, though the lifestyle in Singapore is said to be quite fast.  I was leaning towards Brunei in particular.  I've met a few people who have lived there and have said nice things about it.  I just wondered if anybody else out there could shed further light.


Thank you for your suggestions.  I shall make a list of priorities and go from there.

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« Reply #13 on: Jan 07, 2013 09:20 AM »

Good Luck! Smiley
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