View Vacancy - DXB - Head of Consular Operations, UAE C4(L)

The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer.  We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Consular Roles)

The British Embassy Dubai has a vacancy for a Head of Consular Operations, UAE.

The Consular Team’s purpose is to support British people living, travelling, and working in the UAE by providing high quality, accessible consular services, focused on those most in need; responding rapidly to all crises, leading cross-government action; and reducing preventable incidents affecting British people through collaboration with partners and governments. This is an exciting leadership opportunity to direct and co-ordinate a high performing and motivated team of 13, the second largest and busiest team in the global Consular Network.

Currently, the UAE is the home of choice to over 100,000 British people (pre-COVID) and with 1.4 million British visitors annually. The UAE is a designated consular prevention priority country—this year’s EXPO (running from October 2021 to March 2022), the first in the region, will provide much opportunity to innovate and increase our prevention and outreach work.

The UAE Consular Team deals with a high volume of casework which has to be managed in a complex and often challenging environment. The ability to work under significant pressure, with discretion and judgement is vital. Cases and issues often attract significant media and Ministerial interest so an eye for the wider political picture is also important. The jobholder will lead on day to day operational management, leading a large, diverse and high performing team dealing with the full range of consular cases. They will be responsible for the local delivery of the Consular Network Business Plan, global consular strategy, as well as the consular elements of the Country Business Plan.

Reporting to the UK-based Consul in Dubai, the jobholder will be required to lead, motivate, and encourage the team to participate in global and regional consular activities and proactively oversee the delivery of consular prevention and outreach work as well as championing learning and development and the well-being of the team.

The jobholder will need to be a highly motivated self-starter, with excellent interpersonal skills and some political nous. They must be able to work independently with minimal supervision and make operational judgements in consultation with senior management locally and in London. In response to a local or regional crisis, the jobholder will also play a key role as Consular Manager as part of the crisis response team. As a team leader, they will also be required to play a proactive role in wider Embassy corporate priorities.

Consular work can sometimes be emotionally challenging, distressing and of a sensitive nature. The jobholder will therefore be expected to demonstrate high levels of personal resilience and maintain absolute consular confidentiality and impartiality.

Duties and responsibilities:

- Leadership and resources

  • Excellent leadership, motivation, and development of the Consular team, ensuring they are appropriately resourced, trained, and supported. Direct line management of four (4) Vice Consuls and oversight of eight (8) Pro Consuls and one (1) Consular Assistant; ensure the team have challenging objectives in line with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) strategic priorities, Consular Strategy, and the Consular Network Business Plan; and robust Performance Development Plans.
  • Manage day-to-day consular operations; have oversight on all cases, lead on high profile/ high risk assistance cases, ensuring a strategic approach to their resolution and management of risk. Conduct regular case reviews, empower Vice Consuls to ensure consular guidance and policies are understood and implemented; ownership of formal response to public correspondence. Drive service delivery and standards ensuring consular public targets are met.
  • Review and interpret all management information, statistics, trends, and other relevant data to ensure teams are correctly focussed and workflows are adjusted accordingly.
  • Project UAE Consular Network’s priorities, challenges, achievements and expertise into wider Embassy, consular region and London.
  • Encourage a culture of change and innovation with overall responsibility for the wellbeing of the team, providing support to colleagues, creating a positive, inclusive and safe working environment.
  • Promote a learning culture within the team; ensure all mandatory learning is completed; identify training and development opportunities.
  • Represent the Consular Section, participate in relevant committees and working groups; co-ordinate with key stakeholders in the British community; promote cross-mission working to achieve objectives; prepare written briefings and reports for seniors, up to and including ministerial level.
  • Coordinate absences to ensure sufficient service coverage; manage bulk stocks of accountable assets such as Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) and cash reserves. Effectively manage the consular section budget.

- Consular Assistance

  • Manage the team’s provision of consular assistance to British people, including providing guidance and support in difficult cases such as: arrests/ detention, hospitalisations, dealing with bereaved families, mental health, child custody issues, debt and employment issues, and other sensitive cases such as rape and sexual assault and forced marriage. Regionally promote sharing of best practice and empowerment of subject matter experts.
  • Play an instrumental role between consular section and wider embassy teams to ensure appropriate and effective escalation/resolution options are considered.
  • Ensure assistance provided is best practice and case notes are well written and concise; monitor caseloads to ensure effective service delivery and quality assurance.
  • Oversight of the Emergency Travel Document (ETD) process, working with the ETD hub in Madrid and provision of various notarial and documentary services.
  • Be prepared to work out of hours, occasionally anti-social hours, as required.

- Prevention and partnerships

  • Working with the Regional Prevention Policy Officer lead on delivery of UAE prevention strategy, use the Consular performance platform to identify trends and case types to prevention objectives; develop and deliver prevention and outreach projects aimed at local partners or the British community; ensure prevention trackers and methods of evaluation are in place; use a variety of channels and work closely with partners internally and externally to increase impact and reach of prevention materials.
  • Deliver sustained engagement with the British community; effective networking and use of contacts in key sectors such as business and education; monitor the local environment and react to any changes which may affect British nationals living in or visiting the UAE; contribute to the formulation of Travel Advice.
  • Build and maintain strong professional relationships with key strategic and operational partners, including local authorities, and other Diplomatic Missions at post as well as call centres, ETD Hub, Consular Directorate, Political/ Press, Immigration Enforcement International (IEI), National Crime Agency (NCA), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Corporate Services Teams, and Senior Leadership Team; as well as external partners such as Prisoners Abroad, Royal British Legion, and Reprieve. Work strategically with partners to tackle issues and improve access to services; ensure cross-mission cooperation and sharing of contacts to solve problems.

- Crisis planning

  • As Consular Manager, take an active role in Posts Crisis Committee, participating in drills, tests, and exercises related to crisis and contingency planning.
  • Regularly maintain and update the consular elements of Post’s Crisis Management Plan; ensure consular staff have access to and are familiar with the Crisis Hub.

The above list is not exhaustive and the jobholder will be required to be flexible and take on other ad hoc tasks as required.

Key competencies required:

  • Leading and Communicating - Showing pride and passion for public service, leading from the front and communicating with clarity, conviction, integrity, and enthusiasm. Championing difference and external experience, supporting principles of fairness of opportunity for all and a dedication to a diverse range of citizens. Managing and engaging with people in a straightforward, truthful and candid way, and upholding the reputation of the organisation.
  • Delivering at Pace - Focusing on delivering timely performance with energy and taking responsibility and accountability for quality outcomes. Working to agreed goals and activities and dealing with challenges in a responsive and constructive way. Building a performance culture where staff are given space, authority, and support to deliver outcomes; and keeping a firm focus on priorities and addressing performance issues resolutely, fairly, and promptly.
  • Collaborating and Partnering - Being a team player, creating and maintaining positive, professional, and trusting working relationships with a wide range of people within and outside the organisation to help get business done. Working collaboratively, sharing information appropriately, and building supportive, responsive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, whilst having the confidence to challenge assumptions. Being approachable, delivering objectives through creating an inclusive environment, encouraging collaboration and building effective partnerships and welcoming challenge however uncomfortable.
  • Changing and Improving - Being responsive and innovative, and seeking out opportunities to create effective change. Learning from what has worked well and what has not; being open to change, suggesting ideas for improvements to the way things are done; and working in ’smarter’, more focused ways. Seeking out ways to improve policy implementation and making use of alternative delivery models including digital and shared service approaches wherever possible.
  • Making Effective Decisions - Using sound judgement, evidence, and knowledge to arrive at accurate, expert and professional decisions and advice. Being careful and thoughtful about the use and protection of government and public information to ensure it is handled securely and with care. Reaching evidence-based strategies, evaluating options, impacts, risks and solutions and creating a secure culture around the handling of information; and aiming to maximise return while minimising risk and balancing a range of considerations such as social, political, financial, economic, legal and environmental to provide sustainable outcomes.
  • Managing a Quality Service - Valuing and modelling professional excellence and expertise to deliver service objectives and striving to improve the quality of service, taking account of diverse customer needs and requirements. Effectively planning, organising, and managing time and activities to deliver a high quality, secure, reliable and efficient service, applying programme and project and risk management approaches to support service delivery. Creating an environment to deliver operational excellence and creating the most appropriate and cost effective delivery models for public services.
  • Proven experience of leading and motivating a multi-skilled diverse team, providing motivation, support and development.
  • A team player who is capable of working on their initiative and who is adaptable to changing priorities. Must be able to work and act without close supervision.
  • Excellent interpersonal and active listening skills, with the ability to cultivate and maintain a range of contacts at all levels.
  • Experience of working strategically and of project development and management.
  • Excellent customer care skills and the ability to respond to a range of customer needs.
  • Ability to bring a flexible and creative approach to your work.
  • Excellent IT skills in the use of Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams).
  • Excellent written and oral English is essential with a keen eye for detail. Ability to express ideas and messages clearly and concisely in English, both orally and in written communication. Ability to write to a high standard for a wide range of audiences.
  • Previous experience in consular services or in another customer facing organisation.
  • Sound judgement and an analytical approach in decision making.
  • Ability to drive excellent service standards.
  • Considerable experience of working in a customer-facing environment including the ability to support customers and team members in traumatic or difficult circumstances.
  • Good self-management and organisational skills, with an ability to work under pressure in challenging, stressful situations, demonstrating a high level of resilience and flexibility, including working unsocial hours when required.
  • Proven experience of managing sensitive personal information.
  • Proven ability to manage internal and external stakeholder relationships.
  • Experience of living in and/ or understanding of the United Kingdom.
  • Understanding of the wider UK/UAE bilateral relationship.
  • Arabic language skills.
  • Comfortable with public-speaking and networking.
  • Previous experience of creating engaging outreach content, use of social media and other platforms.

Changing and Improving, Making Effective Decisions, Leading and Communicating, Collaborating and Partnering, Managing a Quality Service, Delivering at Pace
11 April 2021
C4 (L)
Full-time, Permanent
Middle East & North Africa
United Arab Emirates
British Embassy
1 June 2021


The successful applicant will be required to obtain the necessary security clearance. Higher clearances can be granted only to certain nationalities. For this reason, candidates must be of British, American, Australian, Canadian, or New Zealand nationality in order to gain the level of clearance required.

Working hours and remuneration:

The Embassy aims to offer an attractive working environment and remuneration package for this role, including: 25 days of leave per annum; on-site swimming pool, gym, and sports facilities (subject to COVID-19 restrictions).

Salary is at AED 22,500 per month.

There are no other allowances payable as part of this package. No accommodation and relocation expenses are payable in connection with this position.

Conditioned working hours are 38 hours per week. Standard working hours are from 07:30 to 15:06, including a lunch break of 36 minutes, from Sunday to Thursday.

The jobholder will be required to be flexible in their approach to hours worked as these will be dictated by operational needs and may involve working outside of normal office hours (evenings/ weekends).

Whilst the role will be based in Dubai, the jobholder will be required to visit the Embassy in Abu Dhabi regularly and will be expected to attend when visits/ events are taking place there, which can mean some out-of-hours work. Travel to the UK and within the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia region (and possibly further afield) may also be required for additional training and development purposes.

The successful candidate will be required to transfer their visa under the Embassy's sponsorship.

How to apply:

Interested candidates must attach 1) an updated Curriculum Vitae (CV) and 2) a covering letter to their online application form.

Your application must also include examples of when you have demonstrated the required competencies in the Competence Based Questions section of the online application form.

Applications that do not include these information will not be considered.

Closing date for applications is at 23:55 (local time) on 11 April 2021.

Applications received after the stated deadline will not be considered.


The recruitment process, including security clearance, is expected to take around two months. You may experience some delay in the progress of this recruitment campaign, and we are working hard to minimise any disruption.

Due to the large number of applications we receive, only those shortlisted for the next step of the recruitment process will be contacted. Interviews will be done remotely if the existing situation determines this to be the right course of action.

The start date mentioned in the job advert is a tentative start date and the successful candidate will be required to undergo security vetting procedures. Any offer of employment will be subject to the candidate achieving suitable clearances.

The British Embassy Dubai is an equal opportunities employer, dedicated to inclusivity, a diverse workforce and valuing difference.

Please be aware that you will only be able to apply to vacancies for Local Staff roles with the British Government through this official site (operated by Oleeo). Jobs may be advertised on third party websites, however our adverts will always link back to the official site. If you complete and send an application through any other site, we will not receive it.

This opportunity is closed to applications.