April 1, 2021

“I’ll just wait another few months” – something I find myself saying about a lot of things! Whether it’s starting a health kick or saving for a holiday, thinking about your next career move shouldn’t be put on the back burner, even if you are looking to relocate up to 6 months in advance.

From initial consultation to placement…

This is a difficult topic to put a set timestamp on but, generally speaking, it can take from 3 weeks to 6 months to secure a role in the Middle East. This can vary due to a number of factors including:

  • Market demand for your particular practice area
  • The firm’s recruitment process
  • Your own background – previous employment, additional skills etc
  • Your own personal timescale

As a rule of thumb, I advise candidates to start looking at potential opportunities 6 months ahead of when they would ideally like to move. This does not mean that you have to actively put yourself forward for roles straight away – it can be as simple as having an initial conversation with one of our experienced consultants who can advise you on upcoming roles within the market.

Once you are in process with a firm(s), you can usually expect things to advance relatively quickly. The majority of firms that I work with in the Middle East will conduct 2 – 3 stages of interview before extending an offer. From initial interview to offer stage it is usually between 2 to 3 weeks if the firm are actively looking to make a hire. You will often find that larger firms may need to get approval or ‘sign-off’ before extending you an offer, which can delay the process slightly.

The inside scoop – relocations this year (2021)

The following are examples of overseas moves I have assisted with into the UAE from initial consultation to offer:

Top regional firm (Riyadh) – 4 months

Magic circle firm (UAE) – 5 weeks

International firm (Qatar) – 3 weeks

Top regional firm (UAE) – 4 weeks

International firm (UAE) – 6 weeks

Top regional firm (UAE) – 5 months

Maximising your chances

In order to give yourself the best chance at securing an overseas role, stay in touch with your recruiter regularly and keep yourself open to exploring opportunities that you may not have initially considered.

By having a consultation in advance, your recruiter can keep you in mind for upcoming roles. Many of the positions that I have recruited for this year have had a start date 3 – 4 months after the offer has been accepted. Relocation takes time and the majority of firms in the market are aware of this when making overseas hires.

Many of my clients are now looking for associates to commence this summer.

To start your relocation today, contact Rebekah Allen on


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