Emiratis in the United Kingdom

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Emiratis in the United Kingdom
British Emirati
Total population
UAE-born residents
5,406 (2001 Census)
Regions with significant populations
Arabic · English

Emiratis in the United Kingdom are Emirati expatriates in the United Kingdom. They number several thousand and include many students pursuing higher education.


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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] In the 2002/03 academic year, there were 1,400 students.[4] The UK remains one of the top choices for overseas work, study or tourism amongst UAE nationals.[5][6][7] As of 2013, up to 3,200 students from the UAE were pursuing education in the UK.[8]

According to UAE government figures, between 1990 and 2012, around 250 UAE nationals became British citizens. The UAE does not allow dual citizenship.[9]


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.[10] Around 40,000 Emiratis visit the UK every year. Many of the UAE's leaders received their education in UK universities and institutions.[11] 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.[2] The London branch of the Dubai National Bank is considered to be one of the central social venues for the capital's Emirati community.[12] 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.[13]

The UAE government has issued its own version of a tourist map of London for Emiratis who visit the UK, with the map identifying "dangerous areas" to avoid. The warning came as a measure after incidents of fraud, theft and attacks on Emirati nationals in London.[14][15][16]

Notable people[edit]

Notable Emirati expatriates in the UK include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Alice (29 July 2010). "Helping UAE students prepare for life in the UK". Gulf News. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "VisitBritain and the British Council create a new online community to update perceptions of the UK amongst young Emiratis". AMEinfo.com. 9 March 2008. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Nazzal, Noor (21 July 2013). "What courses do UAE students pick when studying abroad?". Gulf News. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "UAE nationals flock to the UK for higher education". Dubai City Info. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Karmi, Omar (29 April 2013). "Emiratis living in the UK hope Sheikh Khalifa's visit will boost close ties". The National. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Heathrow's Personal Shoppers to welcome 250,000 UAE passengers over Eid". Emirates 24/7. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Sophia, Mary (29 September 2013). "3,200 UAE Students Enrolled In UK Universities". Gulf Business. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Swan, Melanie (22 May 2014). "More than 250 Emiratis have switched to become British citizens in 22 years, UK figures show". The National. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  10. ^ Al Qassemi, Sultan (21 November 2010). "The other special relationship: the UAE and the UK". The National. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Hussain, Abdul Ghaffar (10 October 2008). "Emiratis feel at home in London". Gulf News. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  12. ^ Shaheem, Samineh I (August 30, 2010). "Ramadan away from home". Khaleej Times. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  13. ^ "UAE Ministry issues its own tourist map of London with emphasis on safety". The National. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Emirati students feel safe in London but urge caution". The National. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "#BBCtrending: Emiratis say 'London is not safe'". BBC News. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Water tycoon 'Scotland's richest'". BBC News. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2010.