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Dubai ranked best city for expats in Middle East and Africa

Dubai ranked best city for expats in Middle East and Africa

The emirate topped the regional rankings for the fourth year in a row

Dubai has been ranked as the top city for expatriates to live in across the Middle East and Africa, according to Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living survey.

The annual report measures cities around the world on factors such as the political and social environment, medical care and health considerations, public services, recreation facilities and natural environment.

A total of 230 cities worldwide were ranked on safety, economic transparency and growth.

Dubai, which topped the regional rankings for the fourth year in a row, was placed 75 globally, down from 74 last year.

Consultant on Global Mobility at Mercer ME Rob Thissen said: “After a few years of sharp increase, Dubai’s residential market is showing signs of slowing down. The delivery of a significant number of new units added pressure to the residential market.

“Prices are expected to continue falling as the additional residential units will be ready for occupancy this year,” he added.

Meanwhile the emirate of Abu Dhabi was ranked 81 worldwide, down from 77 in 2015’s rankings.

“Dubai and Abu Dhabi remain extremely popular destinations among expatriates around the world, to the point that less and less multinationals are actually paying hardship premiums to motivate their employees to move here,” said Thissen.

“The rapid increase in the population comes with its challenges though – such as a worsening air quality – which was recognised in our scoring this year.

“On the other hand, many employees moving to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or the Levant would expect a serious increase in pay, partly to compensate for a decrease in quality of living.”

Regionally, following Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Omani capital Muscat ranked 107 while Doha came in at 110.

Kuwait City was ranked 124, Bahrain came at in 133, with the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jeddah placed 164th and 165th respectively.

“Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices,” said Thissen.

The top 10 cities on the list in 2016 remained unchanged from 2015.


1. Vienna, Austria

2. Zurich, Switzerland

3. Auckland, New Zealand

4. Munich, Germany

5. Vancouver, Canada

6. Dusseldorf, Germany

7. Frankfurt, Germany

8. Geneva, Switzerland

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Sydney, Australia


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