x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The newcomers' view to migration

Arab expats feel at home in a tolerant and safe place to live and work

It is only a month since Hanna Gobaria arrived in Dubai - or what he likes to call "the Arabic Paris".

An optician in his native Egypt, Mr Gobaria, 24, is working as a waiter in a cafe.

"I used to have a great job in a hospital, but then I had to go to the army when I turned 21, and when I finished in a year my job was gone and there were no other openings," said Mr Gobarial, whose Dh1,259 monthly salary is marginally less than he earned back home.

He and 59 other Egyptians landed a job at the same coffee franchise. As a Christian, Mr Gobarial also feels "comfortable" in the UAE, where "tolerance for religion" is high.

"Safety and security is the top priority for all Egyptians. Sadly in Egypt the youth have no value," he said. "I am looking for something as UAE is the land of opportunity."

Ahmed Al Qahtani, 21, said life in the UAE was less restrictive than at home in Saudi Arabia, but he has seen "great change in Saudi Arabia already, indirectly because of the Arab Spring. They just listen to us better and even gave women the right to vote."

Hassan Mohajer, 23, could not imagine going home to Lebanon. "I can't think of leaving the UAE, it is my home. It is safe, great stable incomes, tax free, and has one of the best education systems in the region."