Hi SnowymtnRn. I have a little information regarding Saudi Arabia & United Arab Emirates. I have friends who have worked in both countries via government & as contractors. However, they were not employed in nursing, but I can tell you some interesting tidbits regarding those areas.
Some of the above posters mentioned that United Arab Emirates was more favorable to work there, which my friends concurred. Women were treated better as opposed to working & living in Saudi.
Now in Saudi, my friends could dress how they pleased living in the compound. However, when they left the compound, they wore an abaya....and also driven by a male driver. Women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia. In some areas my American & Brit friends (women) did wear long sleeved shirts & pants...providing no skin was visible from neck to ankle; but they said it more of a hassle due to the Saudi religious police. They had to keep their heads covered, as well. So, that is why they wore their abayas...much easier to throw over their shorts & tops! No more hassles!
Yes, as the other posters stated...its is quite a different atmosphere in Saudi & they did see mistreatment of women. Also, the American televison stations via sattelite that they could watch in their compound, often was edited. For example: some of the American shows viewed the actors/actresses in long-sleeve pants/tops...no skin showing & of course no kissing, passionate love scenes!!
On a sad note & quite horrific as we know...there were public stonings once a week in the city where they often went to the market. My friends actually witnessed a stoning & amputation of a hand (someone got caught stealing).
As far as money goes...yep..pretty much tax free. My friends were there approx 16-28 months..depending on the contract they accepted & what type of bonus they received by extending their contract. It did help them get ahead of their debt.
Also, they made lots of new friends, travelled out of the country for different things to do....and as you know alcohol is forbidden in this country, but, living on the compound there was no problem finding it.
There are international travel agencies that do hire nurses in these areas, I typed in a search & found a few. Good luck! We were thinking about it as well...as you said...it would certainly help one get out of debt much more quickly!