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As a Belarusian engineer moved to one of the most expensive cities in the world and what came of it

In Belarus, Sergei had a job in Minskproekt, a failed construction project that turned into a long construction, and vague prospects for the distant future. The guy decided not to wait and packed his bags. For five years he has been living in the richest city of the United Arab Emirates and is blogging about life in one of the most impressive places on the planet. Over the shoulders of a man designing a Trump golf club, a good job and own apartment in the Dubai Marina area. Sergey says that it was difficult, but he was lucky that everything turned out that way. About life in another universe, the nuances of moving and prices – our reportage.

Short. What is it about?

  • How can I move to Dubai?
  • How are things with employment?
  • In the UAE really buy an apartment?
  • What was the “Mayak of Minsk” to become?

Who is this and how did this person find himself in Dubai?

Sergei Yakovenko – an ordinary guy originally from Vitebsk. He graduated in BNTU, worked in the Minskproekt as an engineer, got married. In principle, everything was going well, but something was missing. In 2013, a thirty-year-old Sergei firmly decided to move. He twisted the globe and stopped at a country that is completely different from ours.

– Why Dubai? For me and my wife, the climate was very important. Six months of heat, which are unbearable for many, were quite acceptable for us. We love warm weather. 

The second criterion is ease of moving . You do not need a green card, no special permits are required. Found a job – and come. In addition, there are no taxes, and permission to receive loans that are issued at 3.5-4%, is given right after employment – there are a lot of pluses, – Sergey shares.

The system of moving here is extremely simple: once the employer takes you to work, you have the right to issue a work visa. Usually it is issued for two years and can be extended an infinite number of times. If you are suddenly fired, the government gives 30 days to leave the country or settle down in a new place.

On average, 30-50 people apply for a job

Find a job in the specialty, having a Belarusian diploma of an engineer, abroad is not so simple, although Sergei somehow turned out. Let it be and not immediately.

– To move to Dubai, the main thing is to find a job. There are two main ways: come at random and look for work on the spot or take care of it in advance and start looking for a home. I chose the first option – more risky and expensive, but also more effective. 

If you look for a job remotely, there is very little chance of reaching an agreement with someone. Eichars are much more likely to contact you if the number of the local operator is indicated in the summary.

The guys understood how small the chances of catching in a huge city with an unusual way of life, but still decided to try. They issued a tourist visa for two weeks and rushed. Literally a few days later, Sergei agreed to take on the position of realtor, although he did not have the necessary education and experience. It did not bring much money, but it helped to stay there and learn more about life in the Emirates.

– I found the job almost immediately, but it does not mean that everything here is so simple. You can say it’s luck. 

Every evening, walking past the shops, I saw how the employees throw out hundreds of resumes. On average, 30-50 people apply for one job here, regardless of the offer. 

According to Sergey, at the beginning it’s the easiest get a job as a shop assistant or as a waiter. True, they pay very little to such specialists.

– Most of the jobs are occupied by immigrants from India or Pakistan. They are often unpretentious and take up any job, without requiring much money. Although there are some specialties that do not take workers from third world countries. This gives a great advantage to our compatriots, which are very many, for example, in the service sector.

As explained by Sergei, working in a store or restaurant, you can get from $ 1500 to $ 2500 per month. For living in Dubai, the sums, of course, are quite small, but with this money you can afford a rental room or a bed-place and at the very least live, while looking for a more suitable job in parallel.

– A bed costs about $ 400, as much as you need to live, so that there is somehow and there to move around the city.The rest can be postponed. In general, there is no limit to perfection: you can squeeze to the impossible and, for example, move around the city on foot. 

I know people who brought a suitcase of buckwheat with them and ate only it, and put off all the money … 

Waiters in general can pay 800 dollars, but they are always fed and give them housing. Sellers have a slightly higher salary, but still there is a certain ceiling, above which you can not jump. 

In general, it is necessary to understand that Dubai is a very expensive city, which is a great source of money. If you decide to take a chance and try to settle here, you need to have a good financial cushion. Ideally, $ 15-20 thousand.This will allow you to find work without haste and not worry about anything. Although this is not necessary – if there is motivation and interest, you will get a couple of thousand in your pocket.

Having $ 50 thousand, you can build a nice apartment

At first, Sergei together with his wife huddled in a rented room. Then they rented a small one-room apartment, and recently built their own “kopeck piece” in a good area. And it’s only five years.

– In Dubai, there are two options for renting an apartment: monthly or for a year. The first option costs 1.5-2 times more expensive, but immediately after moving to afford to give a large sum for the year ahead, there may be a few – you have to overpay.

To get a loan for a purchase here can absolutely every employed person in the city. Conditions are most comfortable: loans are issued for 20 years at 3.5% per annum. The initial payment is usually 25% of the total cost, if it is a purchase of the first real estate object. If you decide to get a second apartment, you will have to deposit 40% at once.

Sergey is sure that buying a square meter in Dubai is an incredibly profitable business: the apartments are relatively inexpensive, but the rent is penned.

– We do not live in our apartment. We rent it out and rent a studio in a more convenient area for us. Here, many do so: the city is in constant motion. I’ll explain on the numbers, why all this is necessary. An apartment in a good area (Dubai Marina) costs $ 220,000. The loan costs $ 1,060, and you can rent an apartment for $ 3,140 per month. Thus, the revenue completely covers the loan and brings a good income, which in just a few years covers the entire initial fee. 

With cheap apartments the story is the same. Having $ 50-55 thousand, you can take a loan and repulse it for two or three years. Therefore, real estate in Belarus is bad, and real estate in Dubai is very, very good, “the man continues.

“We have no problems like bad sound insulation for a long time. Developers compete in the length of the water slide built into the house, or as simulators in the foyer. “

Dubai property is considered one of the most dynamic and developing in the world. Sergei is convinced that no Belarusian company could compete in the UAE.

– I follow the Belarusian news and now and then come across articles about how the companies are squinting in Minsk. The windows drop out, the gondolas disappear – we would not tolerate this. 

If suddenly someone from the developers plans to put the Chinese entrance doors into the new high-rise building, he will be ridiculed by all the city media, after which he will restore his reputation for years, and his apartments will drop in price. In Minsk, I do not observe anything like this: builders allow themselves to do badly and are not afraid of anyone, because people still take it. 

In Dubai, construction has reached a new level and there are simply not building bad houses. Today, developers are trying to surprise other things: water slides built into the house, roof basins or incredible storeys. 

According to our interlocutor, there are no problems with the infrastructure either, since everything, including kindergartens and schools, belongs to private companies: everything appears naturally, as soon as people need it.

I live in the micro-district, which Minsk Mayak promised to do. And it looks completely different 

Today Sergey rents an apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. This is one of those microdistricts, which are built on the basis of the concept of “city in the city”. In the distant 2009 suchthe well-known “Mayak of Minsk” should have been done. The Belarusians were promised a 35-meter lighthouse, Europe’s largest water park, gondolas, which became a local meme – it is possible to quote the PR-statements of that time. It was reported that there are only three such projects in the world – in Dubai, Macau and Las Vegas, and the Minsk microdistrict should become the fourth.

Despite the fact that the PR specialists’ fantasies did not come true in Minsk, such objects are perfectly existing abroad. To show how such a neighborhood might look like, Sergei armed himself with a camera and arranged an online tour of JLT, where he lives for four years.

– Jumeirah Lakes Towers is considered the business district of Dubai. In Russian its name can be translated as “Towers near Jumeirah lakes”. In total in this area there are 80 multi-storey residential and office buildings. That is, a lot of people live and work without leaving their district, and sometimes even without leaving their homes, as some buildings include both office and residential premises. 

In JLT there are many small shops such as Carrefour and Spinneys, sports and gyms, pharmacies, kindergartens, swimming pools and so on. But a big shopping center is only in the nearby area of ​​Dubai Marina, so here “Mayak Minsk” wins. There are no JLT schools  either – they are located in the neighboring districts. The children take and bring back the school bus. By these parameters, the JLT is a little underdog to the “city in the city”. 

Once we were promised that the focus of Mayak Minsk will be an administrative-residential building of 78 floors and we will be able to admire the panorama of the capital from a 300-meter height. In this case, “Mayak Minsk” bypassed JLT Dubai, however, only on the pages of the brochure. The tallest dominant area is the Almas Tower – a total of 68 floors.

Of course, there are no water channels, floating gondolas, fountains and shops, but there are three artificial lakes, on which a single motor boat is floating, designed for maintenance and cleaning of lakes.

In 2012, at the request of the residents of the district, one of the lakes was covered, and in its place the construction of the park, which is ready today, was started. There  is a rubber-coated running track, simulators, a basketball and children’s playground, a green picnic area. For the convenience of visitors in the park there are stationary toilets, which are open from 8 am to 11 pm.

Despite the fact that most recently this whole territory was a desert, there is a lot of greenery in the JLT. To each tree and bush there is a hose for irrigation. On the tracks are many benches, navigation elements, lighting, as well as special stations with plastic bags for walking dogs. Special services even wash and clean the pavement tracks near the lakes. 

In JLT in each building there is a swimming pool, a gym and, as a rule, a sauna with a therma. The pool is often located on the roof – in most of Dubai’s buildings, an exploited terrace or green roof is arranged. 

Every three buildings in the JLT area are united in a so-called cluster and have a common 4-storey underground parking and a stylobate part.

The region is divided into western and eastern parts. A circular traffic is organized around each of them so that traffic flows never intersect. The traffic light is installed only in one place, where both rings intersect. Each ring additionally has several traffic lights to pass pedestrians, but they work only on demand and are usually in flashing yellow mode. To connect the eastern and western parts of the pedestrian bridge is constructed, so as not to stop the traffic flow. You can go around the area and never stop. This almost completely eliminates accidents and significantly increases the capacity.

At the end of his trip, Sergei says that, despite all the advantages of this microdistrict, it is not considered exemplary, it is the same as dozens of other areas of Dubai.

Belarusian specialists are no worse than foreign specialists, but it will be difficult to get a job in their specialty

The last three years, Sergei worked as an engineer in a large company, which currently supervises the tallest building in the world – the Creek Tower. Also, the man claims to have worked on designing a huge Motiongate park and the Trump Golf Club.

– It’s difficult to get a job abroad, but it’s still possible. If you learn technical English and understand how everything is arranged, you can get a license and work. There is a special base for checking your diploma, and if everything is in order, then you are allowed to work. BNTU in this database is exactly, BSU, probably, too.

Our specialists are not as bad as many think. In the UAE, I have been almost five years and will soon renew my work visa again. Here I feel better, here is another level of life. I’m definitely not going back, at least not yet.

More about life in Dubai, Sergei says in his blog .


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