The island kingdom of Bahrain has been ranked the top expat destination globally in a survey by network InterNations for the second year running, while its Gulf peer peers Saudi Arabia and Kuwait stood at the bottom of the table.
Male and female participants in the 2018 Expat Insider Survey ranked Bahrain in first after a strong performance across most categories.
More than seven in 10 (72 per cent) respondents said that there was little problem communicating in the country, while it stood second out of 68 for friendliness and finding friends and first for feeling at home and ease of settling in.
The Gulf state also topped the working abroad index and stood seventh out of 50 countries on the family life index but had one of its worst rankings for money, standing 22nd out of 68 for personal finance after dropping nine places since last year.
This was likely a reflection of the country’s financial situation after it was among the hardest hit by the recent oil slump, forcing its neighbours to announce they would provide support last month.
However, Bahrain did improve its ranking for quality of life at 20th in 2018 from 32nd last year.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Oman ranked in 31st, Qatar in 38th and the UAE in 40th.
Oman, which was also ranked the most peaceful GCC state, saw dramatically contrasting results from female and male respondents with women placing it in sixth for satisfaction and men in 53rd.
Female expats ranked the sultanate fifth for settling in, 11th for personal finance and 27th for quality of life, while men ranked it in 25th, 41st and 52nd respectively.
InterNations said this was likely because more men said they were moving for work (54 per cent compared to 28 per cent) while 31 per cent of women said they had moved for their partner’s careers.
Qatar stood in 42nd for quality of life, 41st for ease of settling in, 35th for working abroad, 27th for family life, 30th for personal finance and 62nd for cost of living.
This compared to ranks of 25th, 26th, 46th, 31st, 59th and 55th for the UAE respectively, which was ranked first for personal safety.
Overall satisfaction was highest in Bahrain at 90 per cent, followed by Oman with 79 per cent, the UAE with 75 per cent, Qatar with 69 per cent, Saudi with 41 per cent and Kuwait with 35 per cent.
Kuwait, Saudi ranked worst in the world
Kuwait once again stood at the bottom of the ranking in 68th – the same position it held from 2014 to 2016 – after coming second to last in 2017.
The Gulf country stood last for quality of life, ease of settling in and general satisfaction with life abroad. It was also in the bottom five for working abroad and family life and came in 50th for personal finance.
The poor results come as the country moves to replace foreign workers in government roles and rebalance is population.
Standing just one place above was Saudi Arabia, which has been in the bottom 10 of the survey since 2014.
This year it stood in 67th after ranking in the bottom five of all indices except for personal finance (31st). Three in five expats said their disposable household income was more than they needed to cover costs but general satisfaction with life in the country was rated negatively by 40 per cent of respondents.
Across the Gulf region, five out of the six countries (with the exception of Bahrain in 49th) were in the bottom 10 for online freedom, while the strongest subcategory was safety and security.
Outside of Bahrain, the region saw generally high dissatisfaction with working life.
More than a third of Saudi expats (35 per cent) were dissatisfied with their jobs compared to 18 per cent worldwide and job satisfaction in Oman (62 per cent), Qatar (59 per cent), the UAE (57 per cent) and Kuwait (46 per cent) was below the 65 per cent global average.
Job security stood even lower with seven in 10 regional expats saying they feel secure in their role compared to 59 per cent globally.