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Hi, I'm a Portuguese maintenance engineer. I received an offer as a chief engineer in a hotel at Dubai. Now they are asking me to pay for my work permit and I think this is not normal. Can you explain me if this is normal in UAE? Best Regards, Ilidio Guedes Ferrao.

Dear Ilidio: Thank you for your question. No, it is not common practice at all in the UAE for the employer to request payment for your work permit. The employer always shoulders the cost of the work permit.

The only area where I can see you paying anything is to get your documents attested, which is very normal. Employers do not pay you to get your documents attested; this is something you have to do at your own cost.

If you have the company’s phone number, I suggest you call them up and speak with the person who interviewed you or request their website and read up more about them. My guess is that the offer may not be legitimate if it’s simply coming out of the blue and they are requesting a payment up front.

Hi Anna. Recently I got an offer from a Dubai based company to work in their IT dept for a salary of around Dhs.7000 monthly. Currently I am working in Bangalore drawing a salary above Rs.30,000 monthly. Would you please advice me whether it will be beneficial for me to take up this new deal if I go for a shared accommodation with ordinary life style? Thanks in advance!! Regards Jacob

Dear Jacob: Thank you for your question. Dubai is a luxurious city with many attractions and shopping centers. If you will be living there in shared accommodation and take the bus to work, it won’t be so bad. Once again, it really depends on your lifestyle. Many expats forget to factor in their additional expenses apart from the basic monthly accommodation. First, you have to think about your food expenses (will you be able to cook every day or will you be taking out every other day or eating in a restaurant), travel expenses (will you be taking the bus or renting a car – in that case car insurance, car payments and gas have to be factored in), clothing, entertainment and recreation. You have to tally up all these important factors before you decide if the salary will be worth your move or not. Remember that the salary may look tempting now because of the large difference between Indian Rupees and UAE Dirham but remember that once you are in Dubai, you will be spending in Dirham as well and generally speaking Dubai is very expensive and it’s easy for expats to go into debt.  Keeping that in mind, my advice is to think out your expenses carefully before you accept the offer.

Question: Hello Anna, I’m wondering what the prospects are for me as I have just completed a course in Aviation management? Thanks, R Lalrinfela.

Dear R Lalrinfela: Thank you for your question. Without a doubt the aviation industry is booming in the Middle East. In recent news, Satyam, a leading global business and information technology services company, will be sponsoring the first Middle East Aviation Outlook Summit (MEAOS) 2008. Due to Satyam’s region growth, it’s global requisition, to worldwide manufacturers, totals up to 50 per cent of the world’s aircraft orders! For your info, the even is being held at the Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi from February 26-28, 2008. Satyam is also set to launch a series of road shows targeting the aviation sector across the region. MEOS 2008 will feature international industry players discussing the future and emerging opportunities of aviation in the Middle East. You can expect feature presentations, interactive panels and discussions. These will help participants gain valuable information to enter the market and hear the views from the leaders in the regional aviation industry. All in all, now definitely is the time for you to start networking to get into the industry while it’s hot!

Hello Anna, I am Computer Graduate and have 3+ of experience in IT Software Development (Expertise in .NET Technologies). Can you provide me some technical questions that employers can ask during interviews? Can u give me some technical example questions related to my area of expertise (.NET)? Regards, Kam.

Dear Kam: Apart from generic interview questions, the employer may also give you a multiple choice sheet and some scenario questions which you will have to successfully complete. You can find a list of some basic ASP.NET interview questions below:

1. Explain the life cycle of an ASP .NET page.
2. Explain the .NET architecture.
3. What are object-oriented concepts?
4. How do you create multiple inheritance in c# and .NET?
5. When is web.config called?
6. Differences between DLL and EXE?
7. Can an assembly have EXE?
8. Can a DLL be changed to an EXE?
9. Compare & contrast rich client (smart clients or Windows-based) & browser-based Web application
10. Compare Client server application with n-Tier application
11. Can a try block have more than one catch block?
12. Can a try block have nested try blocks?
13. How do you load an assembly at runtime?
14. If I am writing in a language like VB or C++, what are the procedures to be followed to support .NET?
15. How do you view the methods and members of a DLL?
16. What is shadowing?
17. What are the collections you’ve used?
18. What is a static class?
19. What is static member?
20. What is static function?
21. What is static constructor?
22. How can we inherit a static variable?
23. How can we inherit a static member?
24. Can we use a static function with a non-static variable?
25. How can we access static variable?
26. Why main function is static?
27. What is garbage collection?
28. Can we force garbage collector to run?
29. What is reflection?
30. What are different type of JIT?
31. What are Value types and Reference types?
32. What is concept of Boxing and Unboxing?
33. What’s difference between VB.NET and C#?
34. What’s difference between System exceptions and Application exceptions?
35. What is CODE Access security?
36. What is a satellite assembly?
37. How to prevent my .NET DLL to be decompiled?
38. What’s the difference between Convert.toString and .toString() method ?
39. What is Native Image Generator (Ngen.exe)?
We have two version of the same assembly in GAC? I want my client to make choice which assembly to choose?
40. What is CodeDom?

The questions above are some of the many questions the employer may pose on you during an interview. Sometimes questions will be divided into sections. So, for example, there may be a section on Threading and you would have to answer a series of questions under that. Some other popular sections would be Remoting and Webservices, caching concepts, OOPS, ASP.NET, .NET Architecture, ADO.NET, SQL Server, UML, XML.
Hope this helps you prepare! Good luck!

I am a physiotherapist living in South Africa. I have a husband and 3 children (11, 8, and 4). What would I need to earn if I were to be the breadwinner in the family for six months.

I would want to send my kids to an English school and rent a decent apartment. Please advise me as to what I would need to earn as well as the starting salary of a physiotherapist. Thanks Shazia

Dear Shazia: Thank you for your question. Salaries for physiotherapists vary in Dubai depending on the clinic which hires you. The salaries start as low as 5000 AED and go up to 10000 AED a month.  For a family of 5 you can look at spending approximately 5000 AED a month depending on your lifestyle. Since you have young children, you will no doubt have to enroll them in school. The education system is varied and you can choose from many international schools. My advice is to get networking to get an idea of what school to select for your child. Top schools are usually on a waiting list and you may have to pay a registration fee to get registered on the waiting list. Definitely get in touch with colleagues or friends and family you know in Dubai to get a better understanding of where you will enroll your children.

You can either rent or buy property in Dubai. You may be offered a monthly allowance as part of your benefit package or some employers provide specific accommodation; you can always ask for the monetary equivalent, which most employees do, and employers are usually flexible with this. Rental prices are very high in Dubai. I recommend that you start working on your networking skills to obtain information on what makes some areas a popular choice than pothers. You should also consider commuting time and speaking with colleagues usually helps.

You can hire a real estate agent to help you find a home or if you have time to drive around, keep looking for “to let” signs and ask the watchman for information; he may just give you the number for the landlord. As a family your accommodation options include standard apartments or villas. Both of which are very expensive but networking with family, friends or colleagues helps! Find out if your accommodation includes parking. Rent is always paid for the whole year up front or some landlords can choose to divide the payments into three post dated cheques.

I hope this information helps. Once again, it helps to tweak up your networking skills to get an idea of how and where you would want to take up residence!