x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE above Switzerland on migration wish list

The UAE has beaten Switzerland and Singapore in a poll of the most desirable countries to move to.

DUBAI // Potential migrants see the UAE as a more attractive destination than either Singapore or Switzerland, according to a global survey conducted by Gallup.

The country was in 11th place in the survey as the preferred destination for 2 per cent of respondents.

Gallup's report, The World's Potential Migrants, also named the UAE as the second most popular destination in the region, behind Saudi Arabia, which was in sixth place with 4 per cent of respondents.

Both nations have sought to attract large numbers of foreign workers over the past decade, said Azfar Khan, a migration specialist with the regional office of the International Labour Organisation, based in Beirut.

"In recent years, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been in the vanguard of attracting migrant streams, particularly from Asia," he said.

"The ease of effecting migration may also play a role in the choice of destination. The high demand for workers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE is also matched by the number of agents recruiting workers for these countries."

A separate report released last week by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Centre found that, of the migrants who wanted to come to the UAE, 46 per cent were from Asia, 33 per cent from the Middle East and North Africa, 18 per cent from sub-Saharan Africa, 2 per cent from Europe and less than 1 per cent from the Americas.

The findings of The World's Potential Migrants report were based on surveys of nearly 350,000 adults in 148 countries between 2007 and early 2010. They were asked whether they wanted to migrate to another country and which one they would pick.

Fifteen per cent said they would like to switch countries.

The most popular nations were the United States (24 per cent), Canada and the United Kingdom (7 per cent each), France (6 per cent), and Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Australia (4 per cent each).

Next came Italy (3 per cent), Japan (slightly above 2 per cent), the UAE (2 per cent), and Switzerland, South Africa, Singapore and Russia (1 per cent each).

Together, these 15 countries attracted 70 per cent of the people who would like to migrate.

Of those in the Middle East and North Africa who said they wanted to migrate, 11 per cent picked Saudi Arabia and 7 per cent chose the UAE.

Among the Asians who would like to move, 9 per cent named nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

chuang@thenational.ae