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Old Posted May 30, 2006, 9:45 PM
Slugbelch Slugbelch is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
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Kiwi expats make most of high life in booming, tax-free Dubai
NewZealand Herald
Wednesday May 31, 2006

You could say Aucklander Greg Sang is at the top of his profession, literally. The Dubai-based engineer is overseeing the building of the world's tallest tower - the Burj Dubai.

The final height of the US$900 million ($1.4 billion) building is top secret until completion by 2008, but it's expected to soar beyond 100 storeys and may top 800m. The surrounding 202ha community will include the world's biggest shopping mall, with 16,000 carparks.

Mr Sang's rise to the top began back home in Auckland, where he was schooled and earned an Auckland University engineering degree. He left for Hong Kong in 1990, then later made the move to Dubai for the Burj Dubai project.

Like many New Zealand expats in Dubai, the 40-year-old has no immediate plans to return home.

With so much growth in the city and the lure of working in a tax-free environment, it's easy to see why.

While construction is booming in Dubai - rumour has it up to one third of the world's cranes are in the region - it's just one of a number of industries attracting New Zealand businesses and workers.

New Zealand Trade Commissioner Sam Lewis says New Zealanders are found in a variety of sectors in Dubai.

"What is important to get across is the diversity of the engagement of New Zealanders here," he says.

"And not necessarily working for New Zealand companies, but the fact that they are embedded into the local business infrastructure is a real boon for New Zealand insofar as we can tap into these people."

Expats say they enjoy not paying tax and the city's proximity to Europe, but they miss the New Zealand lifestyle.

Auckland sisters Corinne and Jacqueline Bowker never intended to stay as long as they have - 10 and 15 years. They are managing partners of the Lime Tree Cafe, a genuine New Zealand-style cafe - a rare find in the Middle East.

The cafe has a strong expat following, with Westerners making up 90 per cent of their customers, but is also making inroads with local people.

The intense summer heat - with temperatures soaring up towards 50C - changes the way you live.

"Towards the end of May that's the end really, we don't go outside now until September because it's too hot. So you're pretty much indoors in air conditioning all the time," she says.

The market is quite nationality driven, so they feel a responsibility to maintain New Zealand's good reputation.

But hard work is essential and it's a myth that Dubai can be used as a get-rich-quick scheme. "If you come in and think 'I'm going to make a fast buck and go home' it won't work," Jacqueline says.


* Hannah Lawrence's trip to Dubai was funded by Emirates Airline.

Last edited by Slugbelch; Aug 8, 2006 at 2:49 PM. Reason: added pic
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