Bahrain, UAE among top 10 countries for expats – HSBC

Singapore topped the list as the most attractive destination for expatriates worldwide

The United Arab Emirates has been ranked among the top 10 countries globally for expatriates, according to a survey by HSBC.

The country ranked ninth worldwide on HSBC’s Expat Explorer 2015 survey, up from the 15th position on last year’s report.

However Bahrain topped the Gulf countries, ranking fourth on the list, up from the fifth place last year.

The UAE’s “diverse business landscape” and its position as a hub in the Middle East means that it continues to be an appealing destination for expats from across the world, the report stated.

The country’s entrepreneurial environment, job prospects, and better salaries were the main factors attracting expats.

Up to 86 per cent of the respondents said Dubai is a good place to start a business, compared to the global average of 56 per cent. The city was second only to Singapore (87 per cent) for entrepreneurs globally.

The city provides good business conditions, world-class infrastructure, and work/life balance, the survey said.

Over half of the respondents – 56 per cent – also expressed confidence in Dubai’s economy, while 68 per cent stated that the emirate also offers political stability.

“Given these supportive conditions, it’s not surprising that Dubai attracts twice as many expats looking to start their own businesses (9 per cent) compared to the global average (4 per cent),” said head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management HSBC MENA Khalid Elgibali.

“This is a ringing endorsement of the government’s diversification efforts and its investment in setting up the infrastructure needed to nurture entrepreneurs.”

The Emirates also scored well on wage growth – expats in the UAE earned an average of $124,000 per annum, 19 per cent above the global average of $104,000 per annum.

Respondents also stated that the country is a good place to advance a career (53 per cent) and acquire new skills (47 per cent).

In terms of benefits, 55 per cent said they receive accommodation support, compared to the global average of 33 per cent.

Three in five also believe the overall quality of life is better here than in their home country, the report said.

However, the survey also found that rising cost of living is an area of concern. Up to 79 per cent stated that their accommodation is more expensive, and 60 per cent said that they spend more on bills than in their home countries.

The high cost of raising children was also cited as a major issue, with the UAE ranking 36 globally within the category.

“We recognise that high cost of living presents challenges for expats. While certainly there are aspects that are out of people’s controls, nearly two thirds (65 per cent) say that they have more disposable income since they moved to the country, which means that these expenses can be managed through better financial planning,” stated Elgibali.

Overall, the survey found that the top 10 countries for expatriates worldwide are Singapore, New Zealand, Sweden, Bahrain, Germany, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, UAE and Switzerland.

The survey – in its eighth year – polled 21,950 expats from across the world including 2,000 in the UAE.

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