Consultant Orthopaedic & Knee Surgeon
We all bring different skills to the table and that's why in an expat environment, it's quite exciting because everyone has something different to offer from different educational backgrounds.
After working for a number of years in the UK, Chris Butcher and his family decided to move to Abu Dhabi eight years ago. Having always had an interest in travelling and having worked aboard, Chris had no fear about starting a new life in a new environment.
However, the Consultant Orthopaedic & Knee Surgeon did have two conditions which needed to be met for their Abu Dhabi journey to take place. The first condition was a great education for the children to broaden their outlook on life.
“Firstly, we moved for our children. We wanted a place that could provide a great education. The exciting thing was they were going to start in a new school whose ethos and culture was going to be built by the children and the teachers which we thought was a fantastic opportunity for them to join and create something.
“Our children gained a lot from being educated here. They seemed to be incredibly comfortable with people from all backgrounds, regions, religions and various different aspects. That has stood them in good stead and broadened their outlook on life.”
The next priority for Chris and his wife was to obtain work that was not only interesting and providing a great sense of work satisfaction, but also one that offered a potential for career development.
“There is a strong emphasis in the healthcare environment in Abu Dhabi for Continuous Medical Education. We are given a lot more time and a lot more resources to keep up-to-date with the latest medical knowledge. In my case, meeting other medical expats has led to collaborations and I have been able to edit a book on knee surgery and produce or co-author several publications, something I would never have had time to do or the opportunity in the previous positions I held.
“In terms of career development practically speaking, the great aspect about moving countries and moving to Abu Dhabi is that you have different challenges and there are a whole load of other things you haven't learnt and you realise you have just got into a bit of a routine and you were a bit stale.
“You build new skills that you never would have attained in your own country. That has happened to me and I enjoy using these skills that I have garnered in Abu Dhabi. We all bring different skills to the table and that's why in an expat environment, it's quite exciting because everyone has something different to offer from different educational backgrounds.”
Chris points out some of the advantages of the medical system that is in place in Abu Dhabi. Everyone who works and lives in the emirate must obtain private medical insurance. And while that may be an usual concept for many expats coming to the UAE, Chris says the system results in faster referrals and investigations at short notice.
“The medical system is very liberating for those who work in the sector thanks to private medical insurance. Everyone who lives here has a visa and it is mandatory to have health insurance. For doctors, it enables us to arrange investigations needed for almost all the patients at very short notice so the healthcare in Abu Dhabi is incredibly efficient and accessible.”
All expats that move to Abu Dhabi for work purposes will need a residence visa as well as a work permit. Chris, however, is one the first Abu Dhabi residents to receive a Golden Visa which enables him to work and live in the UAE for up to 10 years. He says the visa allows expats the freedom and stability to really build a life in Abu Dhabi.
“I am also fortunate to be a Golden Visa resident and this is another advantage of making Abu Dhabi your next home. The introduction of the Golden Visa gives you the opportunity to work and stay in the country for 10 years. Previously, my work visa had to be renewed every three years. The Golden Visa offers the advantage of giving you a chance to look at setting down roots as well as stability which is very important for anyone moving to a new country.”