x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE top destination for expats in Middle East

Data from HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey for 2013 found that quality of education and childcare services in the UAE received scores from expatriates that were above the global average.

A healthy environment for bringing up children and good employment prospects make the UAE the most attractive destination in the Middle East for expatriates, according to new research from HSBC.

Data from HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey for 2013 found that quality of education and childcare services in the UAE received scores from expatriates that were above the global average, even though concerns about rising education costs were increasing.

The report surveyed more than 7,000 respondents across 100 countries and close to 800 people here, assessing expat attitudes towards their host countries.

The full report will be released at a later date that the bank declined to specify.

The UAE scored highest in the GCC as a place to bring up children, in terms of quality of education and childcare services. The country came 13th globally out of 24 in the survey’s Raising Children Abroad league table, with 72 per cent of expats surveyed feeling that their children are safer in the UAE, compared with a global average of 57 per cent.

This year’s survey shows that the UAE is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for expats, said Francesca McDonagh, the head of retail banking and wealth management, HSBC Bank Middle East. “As the UAE continues to grow and the quality of living improves, we will see it becoming an increasingly popular expat destination.”

Such positive sentiments, however, are tempered somewhat by the rising cost of education in the country, as well as perceptions of rising inflation, rising rents and higher property prices.

Expats surveyed here had among the lowest levels of disposable income (ranked 27th out of 37 countries) compared with other countries surveyed.

Consumer prices grew by 1.26 per cent year-on-year to September, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. However, a survey of HR professionals released last month by Hay Group found that perceptions of inflation were closer to 5 per cent.

Three out of five expatriates surveyed chose to move to the UAE because of better job prospects than in their own country, compared with a global average of 36 per cent, the report found.

Despite such concerns over inflationary pressures, the prospect of higher salaries and better job prospects are key motivating factors for expats relocating to the Emirates.

The report found that 70 per cent of expats believe that they earn more here than they do in their home countries, and 73 per cent say that the financial status on their households has improved upon relocation. Such figures outpace the global average, where only 53 per cent feel they earn more in their host country and 59 per cent believe the financial status of their household is better.

The report also found that 80 per cent of expats surveyed in the UAE were satisfied with the state of the local economy, in comparison to the global average of 56 per cent, making the country one of the most attractive for expats.

jeverington@thenational.ae