At the time of the 2001 UK Census, there were 5,406 people born in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who were residents in the United Kingdom. In the 2009/10 academic year, around 400 new UAE students enrolled in various higher education institutions across the UK and the overall number of Emirati-domiciled students registered on higher education courses totalled over 2,800. This represents growth from 2005/2006, when the population numbered 2,000, which itself was an increase of 15 per cent on the previous academic year. The UK continues to remain one of the top choices for overseas study amongst UAE nationals.
Britain is one of the most popular destinations for UAE expats and is the most popular choice of Emirati students travelling overseas for their higher education. Language and cultural difficulties, living outside the "comfort zone" and the different weather conditions are reported to be perpetual difficulties for new Emirati students in the UK. The London branch of the Dubai National Bank is considered to be one of the central social venues for the capital's Emirati community. Emirati students tend to retain certain cultural and religious practices when studying in the UK, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. The Emiratis see Ramadan as a time during which they can fast and more frequently offer prayers. It is also a period of interaction, something they miss during their time in London.