Working in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
More and more civilian contractors are moving to Abu Dhabi in search of the same tax-free wealth, less the constant commercial frenzy, found in nearby Dubai. Once a desert outpost dependent on pearling and palm gardening, the city and surrounds has grown tremendously in the last decade and has now emerged as an attractive destination luring foreigners from around the globe.
Civilian contractors work on Al Dhafra - Air Base, a military installation in the United Arab Emirates. The base is located approximately 20 mi. south of Abu Dhabi and is operated by the United Arab Emirates Air Force. Life in Abu Dhabi tends to unravel at a slower pace than in Dubai, and the city is often characterised as being more family-friendly and better suited for those looking to settle down and stay awhile.
Contractors there work under a task order called AFCAP. The Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP, similar to LOGCAP) is a cost-plus award fee contract designed to provide on-call capability in a wide range of contingency civil engineer and services support (except crash/fire rescue, explosive ordnance disposal, mortuary affairs and field exchanges). The current AFCAP contractor is Readiness Management Support L.C. a subsidiary of Johnson Controls.
Dubai is about a 90-minute drive north, depending on traffic, and people go back and forth frequently; a passenger rail link between the two cities is in the planning stages, with the first expected service in 2018. Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is a popular weekend destination for diving and dolphin watching, and the northern emirate Fujairah is popular for trekking through the wadis (valleys) and hills. Muscat, the capital of Oman, is around 435km to the east, a four-hour drive or a short flight away.
Most expats rent while living in Abu Dhabi. A two-bedroom flat in a high end building on the Corniche, Saadiyat Island or in Al Raha Beach rents for between $40,000 - $55,000 (140,000 - 200,000 dirhams a year) it is typical for rents to be paid yearly in Abu Dhabi. On Al Reem, a similar property rents for about $30,000 - $35,000 (110,000 to 130,000 dirhams a year). In these prime areas, apartments currently cost 14,200 dirhams per square metre.
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