Hiring practices of English language teachers often reflect stereotypical perceptions of “nativeness” as an indicator of teacher effectiveness. In this respect, the present study explores the impact of teacher’s ethnicity, as well as student and teacher gender, on student expectations of English language instructors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A total of 337 students from three universities in the UAE participated in the study. The students were each given a photograph of a White, Black and South Asian individual unknown to them and were asked to rate the individual in terms of instructor effectiveness for a hypothetical English language course. The results revealed that there were no main or interaction effects for teacher ethnicity or student/teacher gender. However, there was a significant difference in students’ perceptions of the use of precise English, based on instructor ethnicity, with White instructors being rated higher than Black or South Asian instructors.