Dubai is essentially a very small area, with a huge amount going on within its boundaries. And because everything is all in process, and this is a city in the making, the infrastructure is not yet there to provide there to support the large influx of people who are coming to live or to holiday in the Emirate. The main infrastructural problem is the traffic. The roads are not yet capable of handling the large numbers of commuters toing and froing from one end of the city to the other. In areas that could take 10 minutes to drive through without traffic, at peak times, you could be stuck in a jam for an hour or two. While interchanges are being built constantly, the problem is being addressed, but will take a few years to sort out. The Dubai Metro will help to alleviate the problem, but this is still some years off, and until then, the stress will remain. Couple this with some erratic driving by some individuals and a high road accident death rate, and traffic becomes a big issue.
Cost of Living
The fact is that Dubai is not as cheap as it once was, and the main reason for this is the cost of housing. Rental prices have shot through the roof by as much as 100% over the last few years, as the supply of units has not been sufficient for the demand. As more and more apartments and developments come to fruition, this problem should calm down, but it is unlikely that prices will reduce to the more reasonable levels of yesteryear.
Perceptions of Race
Whether you call Dubai a melting pot or multicultural, the day to day issues faced by the many different nationalities sometimes result in longstanding stereotypes coming into the spectrum. While the society is not racist, there is an unofficial hierarchy of race, which sometimes factors into salaries of individuals. It is not necessarily overly apparent, but it is something worth watching out for.
Blue Collar Worker Issues
In the last couple of years, there have been many articles written, most notably in the international press concerning the working conditions for the lower segment of society. Notably, the cases of the big contingent of construction workers have been given more prominence resulting in the culmination of the "Burj Riots". There has been talk of unions to prevent this sort of mistreatment, so that these individuals are paid in a fair way for their work.
Of course, there are numerous more issues and gripes that many have on a day to day basis, whether it be to do with customer service, changes in the law, or general inefficiency. But despite all the issues that people face here, for many, it is a choice to move to the UAE for a period of time, and thus many accept the transient nature of the downside. For others that have been duped or are forced to work here, it is clearly a different story.