Dubai employs many of its paramedics from overseas because paramedics are difficult (expensive) and time consuming to train. The good news for overseas paramedics is that this means that there are many job opportunities for overseas paramedics to get a job in Dubai. What are the basic requirements for overseas paramedics wanting to work in the UAE?
Generally, a job needs to be vacant and unable to be filled by current competent paramedics from within the UAE. This results in an Ambulance Service sponsoring your work VISA and ensuring your legal ability to work as a paramedic in UAE and particularly within Dubai, which offers the most paramedic jobs per year. Once a job has become vacant, you will need to apply for the paramedic job position by providing a complete resume (or CV) with references from at least 2 or more current paramedic supervisors. You will need to have a minimum of 3 years experiences as a qualified paramedic under your belt so that any employment agency or Ambulance Service knows that it is getting value for the money that it is putting in sponsoring your work VISA and travel costs. Qualificaitons such as tertiary education in paramedics are useful but not necessarily required and any specialist skills or paramedic training such as Rescue or Intensive Care Paramedic training are always a bonus that will give you a higher chance of getting a job in Dubai.
What is it like working as an overseas paramedic in Dubai?
Overseas qualified paramedics are generally well respected in Dubai by both the UAE trained paramedics and the general community, as you are still seen as an important health provider that serves many important functions withing the community and basic health infrastructure.
Depending on where you work and who you work for, your employment opportunities and quality of life may differ. In general, paramedics work 4 days on and then have 4 days off with 12 hour shifts. However, some areas require that you are available in an “on call” capacity for a certain amount of your days off or in-between shifts, where as other Ambulance Services require you only during your rostered shift period.
Accomodation is generally provided for or heavily subsidised by the organisation that you are working for. This often leads to paramedics and other health care professionals from overseas living together.
There will be certain cultural and religious differences noted while living in Dubai. At the end of the day, you are living in their country and are expected to respect their culture and religion. Although it has been estimated that almost 80% of the United Arab Emirates population are non-UAE citizens from around the globe, those who are native are almost 100% Muslims.
This means that islamic law in dubai is paramount and applies to all persons (both citizens and visitors alike). Although as a visitor you are not required to adhere to rules such as refraining from eating during sunlight refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse during daylight hours during Ramadan (intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God) you are expected not to do so in front of any Muslims. Muslims take public signs of affection very seriously, and public displays as basic as holding your wife’s hand in public may be seen as inappropriate and is even ilegal. Dubai itself, is considered one of the more liberal cities within the UAE, but at the end of the day, its their country and their rules – ignorance is no excuse.
Most people speak English and more than 80% of the population of Dubai are foreigners, so many languages are spoken. This provides a unique and interesting working environment for the overseas paramedic.
I highly recommend the experience of working as a paramedic in Dubai for anyone interested in a change in culture, work exposure, training, and… lets face it, money… Dubai is considered one of the highest paying cities for paramedics in the world.