Before I came here, I heard and read stories about people getting into financial trouble in Dubai and bailing out, leaving behind everything, including pets, furniture, and cars. They simply pack up a few suitcases, and in the dead of the night head to the airport and leave, for good. Because if you have a bad loan, or go bankrupt in Dubai, they put your arse in jail, no questions asked. When it come to Sharia banking, they don’t joke around.
I know this is a fact and not a desert legend because you see abandoned cars everywhere. Proof of quick and speedy departures. Run for your life, and don’t forget your wife.
Oh, and does anyone want this BMW? It’s been sitting outside my building for over two months now. Somehow I don’t think the owner is coming back!
If you want to do business in Dubai, you therefore have to be very careful. Of course, you have to be careful in ANY country. But, as an expat, your worst nightmare is getting locked up overseas. It’s one thing getting in trouble in your home country. It’s quite another getting in trouble in someone else’s. I have to assume the people who were in such a bad situation that they abandoned everything they owned made some SERIOUSLY bad financial decisions or investments that went very very sour. I know we are only here for a few years. This is why I’ve decided to live very carefully and frugally while I am here. I am not getting a credit card here, or ever starting up a business here, or buying a property, or doing anything that puts me in any financial risk in a foreign country. In fact, many expats choose to move their salaries every month out of their Dubai bank accounts and into accounts in other countries and jurisdictions. I would assume this is something Dubai will have to deal with in the future — the loss of talented workers who won’t stay here for more than three years or keep any of their money in Dubai banks. But hey, if you want to play in someone else’s yard, you better respect the rules of the house….