Clara Wiggins, 47, was the child of a British diplomat, an expat singleton and now a trailing spouse, and has turned her life of travelling into a sympathetic book, The Expat Partner’s Guide. Courtesy Clara Wiggins
Clara Wiggins, 47, was the child of a British diplomat, an expat singleton and now a trailing spouse, and has turned her life of travelling into a sympathetic book, The Expat Partner’s Guide. Courtesy

The Expat Partner’s Guide: Help for spouses in the UAE and elsewhere



Although almost 90 per cent of people living in the UAE are expats, something rarely discussed is the dilemma of the trailing spouse.

This is the partner who often sacrifices their career to move to an overseas posting with their partner and enhance the family prospects.

According to a survey by the global mobility specialist Expat Research, two-thirds of partners gave up a career to relocate for their spouse’s overseas move, and half were left unable to work because of work permit or visa limitations.

Clara Wiggins, 47, was the child of a British diplomat, an expat singleton and now a trailing spouse, and has turned her life into a book, The Expat Partner’s Guide. Born in Cuba, she lived in the Philippines, Nigeria, Venezuela and Gibraltar as a child before being sent to a boarding school in the United Kingdom. Having worked as a journalist, she joined the Foreign Office, meeting her husband Keith, a law enforcement officer and civil servant, on her first posting to Jamaica; they married in 2005 and she worked as a diplomat for seven years.

Together they have lived in Islamabad in Pakistan, St Lucia and, since 2015, Pretoria in South Africa with their two daughters, Martha, 10, and Emma, eight – but with Ms Wiggins now a “trailing spouse”.

She talks about the isolation and “overwhelming loneliness” and feeling like a “spare part”. On her first move as a trailing spouse, she says of her husband: “His life carried on as before, but in a different office”.

The accompanier is the one organising schooling and finding the local doctor, she says, adding: “While the worker will have a routine, a structure to their day, the accompanier will be left with hours to fill, often stranded without transport.”

St Lucia was where she had the idea for the book; there, most expats worked in tourism and partners had a limited support network. “People think St Lucia will be a fantastic life and on the beach every day, but that wears off after a few weeks.”

But while Ms Wiggins is brutally honest about the struggles of an expat partner, she is ultimately positive about the opportunities it can bring.

“Think of it as a joint venture that you are going through together but in different ways,” she says, adding that when relocating, non-working spouses should consider whether work defines them – if it does, can you work? If not, what will you do?

While many women in the UAE are happy to fill their time with childcare and hobbies – a photography course, a blog or a local cooking course – others pick up work along the way.

Briton Hayley Morath lived in Islamabad with her husband and three children, aged 10, nine and six, moving to Abu Dhabi in 2009 until 2011 and then heading to China.

“I had the opportunity to work in the visa sections for two of our postings,” says Ms Morath, whose husband works in the civil service. “Now the children are at school, this gives me an identity and something to structure my day.”

Former Dubai resident Elizabeth Gover also found a work niche – setting up a business as a doula and antenatal educator. She had lived in Saudi Arabia for three years before moving to Dubai in 2013 with her doctor husband and two daughters, then aged three and two. “Our move to the Middle East provided me with the opportunity to be a full-time, stay-at-home mum, finish my studies and start a business,” she says. They have since moved on to the United States.

Ms Wiggins suggests working remotely or volunteering, perhaps at your child’s school. Even a low-paying job might be worthwhile, she points out, to keep your CV and skills up to date.

Along the way, she retrained as an antenatal teacher. She currently works 15 hours a week, remotely managing a journal about birth and parental education.

But with a return to UK on the cards, she acknowledges that her career days may be over – certainly as far as the Foreign Office is concerned.

However, the author says she is financially secure, having agreed with her husband he would pay her pension while they were abroad and also having savings from selling her own flat.

The book, first published in April last year, has thrown up enough conversation for an accompanying blog.

One of her top tips comes from her hardest period – moving to Islamabad in 2008 in the height of summer before realising all other expat families had gone home for the holidays.

Her most reassuring piece of advice: know that however bad it seems now, it will get better.

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FOOTBALL TEST

Team X 1 Team Y 0

Scorers

Red card

Man of the Match

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Director: Wes Ball

Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allen, Kevin Durand

Rating: 3.5/5

Ready Player One
Dir: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance

HWJN

Director: Yasir Alyasiri

Starring: Baraa Alem, Nour Alkhadra, Alanoud Saud

Rating: 3/5

Race card

6pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 – Group 1 (PA) $50,000 (Dirt) 1,600m
6.35pm: Dubai Racing Club Classic – Handicap (TB) $100,000 (D) 2,410m
7.10pm: Dubawi Stakes – Group 3 (TB) $150,000 (D) 1,200m
7.45pm: Jumeirah Classic Trial – Conditions (TB) $150,000 (Turf) 1,400m
8.20pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 – Group 2 (TB) $250,000 (D) 1,600m
8.55pm: Al Fahidi Fort – Group 2 (TB) $180,000 (T) 1,400m
9.30pm: Ertijaal Dubai Dash – Listed (TB) $100,000 (T) 1,000m

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Profile of Udrive

Date started: March 2016

Founder: Hasib Khan

Based: Dubai

Employees: 40

Amount raised (to date): $3.25m – $750,000 seed funding in 2017 and a Seed+ round of $2.5m last year. Raised $1.3m from Eureeca investors in January 2021 as part of a Series A round with a $5m target.

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

THE SPECS

Engine: 3.6-litre V6

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 285bhp

Torque: 353Nm

Price: TBA

On sale: Q2, 2020

Essentials

The flights
Emirates and Etihad fly direct from the UAE to Los Angeles, from Dh4,975 return, including taxes. The flight time is 16 hours. Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Aeromexico and Southwest all fly direct from Los Angeles to San Jose del Cabo from Dh1,243 return, including taxes. The flight time is two-and-a-half hours.

The trip
Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic’s eight-day Whales Wilderness itinerary costs from US$6,190 (Dh22,736) per person, twin share, including meals, accommodation and excursions, with departures in March and April 2018.

 

Three ways to limit your social media use

Clinical psychologist, Dr Saliha Afridi at The Lighthouse Arabia suggests three easy things you can do every day to cut back on the time you spend online.

1. Put the social media app in a folder on the second or third screen of your phone so it has to remain a conscious decision to open, rather than something your fingers gravitate towards without consideration.

2. Schedule a time to use social media instead of consistently throughout the day. I recommend setting aside certain times of the day or week when you upload pictures or share information. 

3. Take a mental snapshot rather than a photo on your phone. Instead of sharing it with your social world, try to absorb the moment, connect with your feeling, experience the moment with all five of your senses. You will have a memory of that moment more vividly and for far longer than if you take a picture of it.

The Indoor Cricket World Cup

When: September 16-23

Where: Insportz, Dubai

Indoor cricket World Cup:
Insportz, Dubai, September 16-23

UAE fixtures:
Men

Saturday, September 16 – 1.45pm, v New Zealand
Sunday, September 17 – 10.30am, v Australia; 3.45pm, v South Africa
Monday, September 18 – 2pm, v England; 7.15pm, v India
Tuesday, September 19 – 12.15pm, v Singapore; 5.30pm, v Sri Lanka
Thursday, September 21 – 2pm v Malaysia
Friday, September 22 – 3.30pm, semi-final
Saturday, September 23 – 3pm, grand final

Women
Saturday, September 16 – 5.15pm, v Australia
Sunday, September 17 – 2pm, v South Africa; 7.15pm, v New Zealand
Monday, September 18 – 5.30pm, v England
Tuesday, September 19 – 10.30am, v New Zealand; 3.45pm, v South Africa
Thursday, September 21 – 12.15pm, v Australia
Friday, September 22 – 1.30pm, semi-final
Saturday, September 23 – 1pm, grand final

How to report a beggar

Abu Dhabi – Call 999 or 8002626 (Aman Service)

Dubai – Call 800243

Sharjah – Call 065632222

Ras Al Khaimah - Call 072053372

Ajman – Call 067401616

Umm Al Quwain – Call 999

Fujairah - Call 092051100 or 092224411

From exhibitions to the battlefield

In 2016, the Shaded Dome was awarded with the 'De Vernufteling' people's choice award, an annual prize by the Dutch Association of Consulting Engineers and the Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers for the most innovative project by a Dutch engineering firm.

It was assigned by the Dutch Ministry of Defence to modify the Shaded Dome to make it suitable for ballistic protection. Royal HaskoningDHV, one of the companies which designed the dome, is an independent international engineering and project management consultancy, leading the way in sustainable development and innovation.

It is driving positive change through innovation and technology, helping use resources more efficiently.

It aims to minimise the impact on the environment by leading by example in its projects in sustainable development and innovation, to become part of the solution to a more sustainable society now and into the future.

Tightening the screw on rogue recruiters

The UAE overhauled the procedure to recruit housemaids and domestic workers with a law in 2017 to protect low-income labour from being exploited.

 Only recruitment companies authorised by the government are permitted as part of Tadbeer, a network of labour ministry-regulated centres.

A contract must be drawn up for domestic workers, the wages and job offer clearly stating the nature of work.

The contract stating the wages, work entailed and accommodation must be sent to the employee in their home country before they depart for the UAE.

The contract will be signed by the employer and employee when the domestic worker arrives in the UAE.

Only recruitment agencies registered with the ministry can undertake recruitment and employment applications for domestic workers.

Penalties for illegal recruitment in the UAE include fines of up to Dh100,000 and imprisonment

But agents not authorised by the government sidestep the law by illegally getting women into the country on visit visas.

Baftas 2020 winners

BEST FILM

  • 1917 - Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes, Jayne-Ann Tenggren
  • THE IRISHMAN - Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • JOKER - Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE - Bong Joon-ho, Kwak Sin-ae

DIRECTOR

  • 1917 - Sam Mendes
  • THE IRISHMAN - Martin Scorsese
  • JOKER - Todd Phillips
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE - Bong Joon-ho

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

  • 1917 - Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
  • BAIT - Mark Jenkin, Kate Byers, Linn Waite
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • ROCKETMAN - Dexter Fletcher, Adam Bohling, David Furnish, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn, Lee Hall
  • SORRY WE MISSED YOU  - Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
  • THE TWO POPES - Fernando Meirelles, Jonathan Eirich, Dan Lin, Tracey Seaward, Anthony McCarten

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

  • THE FAREWELL - Lulu Wang, Daniele Melia
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • PAIN AND GLORY - Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar
  • PARASITE - Bong Joon-ho
  • PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE - Céline Sciamma, Bénédicte Couvreur

LEADING ACTRESS

  • JESSIE BUCKLEY - Wild Rose
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON - Marriage Story
  • SAOIRSE RONAN - Little Women
  • CHARLIZE THERON - Bombshell
  • RENÉE ZELLWEGER - Judy

LEADING ACTOR

  • LEONARDO DICAPRIO - Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
  • ADAM DRIVER - Marriage Story
  • TARON EGERTON - Rocketman
  • JOAQUIN PHOENIX - Joker
  • JONATHAN PRYCE - The Two Popes

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • TOM HANKS - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • ANTHONY HOPKINS - The Two Popes
  • AL PACINO - The Irishman
  • JOE PESCI - The Irishman
  • BRAD PITT - Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • LAURA DERN - Marriage Story
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON - Jojo Rabbit
  • FLORENCE PUGH - Little Women
  • MARGOT ROBBIE - Bombshell
  • MARGOT ROBBIE - Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • THE IRISHMAN - Steven Zaillian
  • JOJO RABBIT - Taika Waititi
  • JOKER - Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
  • LITTLE WOMEN - Greta Gerwig
  • THE TWO POPES - Anthony McCarten

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • BOOKSMART - Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
  • KNIVES OUT - Rian Johnson
  • MARRIAGE STORY - Noah Baumbach
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE - Han Jin Won, Bong Joon ho

DOCUMENTARY

  • AMERICAN FACTORY - Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
  • APOLLO 11 - Todd Douglas Miller
  • DIEGO MARADONA - Asif Kapadia
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • THE GREAT HACK - Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaime

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

  • BAIT - Mark Jenkin (Writer/Director), Kate Byers, Linn Waite (Producers)
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab (Director/Producer), Edward Watts (Director)
  • MAIDEN - Alex Holmes (Director)
  • ONLY YOU - Harry Wootliff (Writer/Director)
  • RETABLO - Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio (Writer/Director)

ANIMATED FILM

  • FROZEN 2 - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho
  • KLAUS - Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh
  • A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON - Will Becher, Richard Phelan, Paul Kewley
  • TOY STORY 4 - Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen

CASTING

  • JOKER - Shayna Markowitz
  • MARRIAGE STORY - Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Victoria Thomas
  • THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD - Sarah Crowe
  • THE TWO POPES - Nina Gold

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)

  • AWKWAFINA
  • JACK LOWDEN
  • KAITLYN DEVER
  • KELVIN HARRISON JR.
  • MICHEAL WARD

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • 1917 - Roger Deakins
  • THE IRISHMAN - Rodrigo Prieto
  • JOKER - Lawrence Sher
  • LE MANS ’66 - Phedon Papamichael
  • THE LIGHTHOUSE - Jarin Blaschke

EDITING

  • THE IRISHMAN - Thelma Schoonmaker
  • JOJO RABBIT - Tom Eagles
  • JOKER - Jeff Groth
  • LE MANS ’66 - Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Fred Raskin

COSTUME DESIGN

  • THE IRISHMAN - Christopher Peterson, Sandy Powell
  • JOJO RABBIT - Mayes C. Rubeo
  • JUDY - Jany Temime
  • LITTLE WOMEN - Jacqueline Durran
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Arianne Phillips

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • 1917 - Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales
  • THE IRISHMAN - Bob Shaw, Regina Graves
  • JOJO RABBIT - Ra Vincent, Nora Sopková
  • JOKER - Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh

SOUND

  • 1917 - Scott Millan, Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate, Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson
  • JOKER - Tod Maitland, Alan Robert Murray, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic
  • LE MANS ’66 - David Giammarco, Paul Massey, Steven A. Morrow, Donald Sylvester
  • ROCKETMAN - Matthew Collinge, John Hayes, Mike Prestwood Smith, Danny Sheehan
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Wood

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • 1917 - Thomas Newman
  • JOJO RABBIT - Michael Giacchino
  • JOKER - Hildur Guđnadóttir
  • LITTLE WOMEN - Alexandre Desplat
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - John Williams

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

  • 1917 - Greg Butler, Guillaume Rocheron, Dominic Tuohy
  • AVENGERS: ENDGAME - Dan Deleeuw, Dan Sudick
  • THE IRISHMAN - Leandro Estebecorena, Stephane Grabli, Pablo Helman
  • THE LION KING - Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Elliot Newman, Adam Valdez
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan, Dominic Tuohy

MAKE UP & HAIR

  • 1917 - Naomi Donne
  • BOMBSHELL - Vivian Baker, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan
  • JOKER - Kay Georgiou, Nicki Ledermann
  • JUDY - Jeremy Woodhead
  • ROCKETMAN - Lizzie Yianni Georgiou

BRITISH SHORT FILM

  • AZAAR - Myriam Raja, Nathanael Baring
  • GOLDFISH - Hector Dockrill, Harri Kamalanathan, Benedict Turnbull, Laura Dockrill
  • KAMALI - Sasha Rainbow, Rosalind Croad
  • LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL) - Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva
  • THE TRAP - Lena Headey, Anthony Fitzgerald

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION

  • GRANDAD WAS A ROMANTIC - Maryam Mohajer
  • IN HER BOOTS - Kathrin Steinbacher
  • THE MAGIC BOAT  - Naaman Azh
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Emiratisation at work

Emiratisation was introduced in the UAE more than 10 years ago

It aims to boost the number of citizens in the workforce particularly in the private sector.

Growing the number of Emiratis in the workplace will help the UAE reduce dependence on overseas workers

The Cabinet in December last year, approved a national fund for Emirati jobseekers and guaranteed citizens working in the private sector a comparable pension

President Sheikh Khalifa has described Emiratisation as “a true measure for success”.

During the UAE’s 48th National Day, Sheikh Khalifa named education, entrepreneurship, Emiratisation and space travel among cornerstones of national development

More than 80 per cent of Emiratis work in the federal or local government as per 2017 statistics

The Emiratisation programme includes the creation of 20,000 new jobs for UAE citizens

UAE citizens will be given priority in managerial positions in the government sphere

The purpose is to raise the contribution of UAE nationals in the job market and create a diverse workforce of citizens

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

The Laughing Apple

Yusuf/Cat Stevens

(Verve Decca Crossover)

MO

Creators: Mohammed Amer, Ramy Youssef

Stars: Mohammed Amer, Teresa Ruiz, Omar Elba

Rating: 4/5

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now