Revealed: The top 10 countries for expats to live and work
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Revealed: The top 10 countries for expats to live and work

Revealed: The top 10 countries for expats to live and work

The UAE has been ranked among the top five places worldwide for expats in HSBC’s annual survey

Dubai UAE

The UAE has been ranked as the fourth best country in the world to live and work, according to HSBC’s latest annual Expat Explorer study.

The Emirates climbed 10 places from last year based on “strong optimism among expats” in the country, the report stated.

The vast majority of expats surveyed in the UAE (82 per cent) feel optimistic that life will be more stable and return to normal in the next 12 months despite the global pandemic, above the global average of 75 per cent.

Up to 53 per cent of UAE respondents also expect an increase in their income and a better work life balance (57 per cent), the report stated.

The top three reasons cited by expats for choosing to move to the UAE are: to improve their earnings (56 per cent), to progress their career (49 per cent), and to improve their quality of life (43 per cent).

Most expats in the UAE (86 per cent) say their overall quality of life is better than their home country and six out of every 10 intend to stay longer for that reason. According to the study, 11 per cent of the respondents stated that the pandemic changed their plans of staying in the UAE.

Overall, Switzerland was ranked as the top destination in the survey, which polled over 20,000 expats worldwide.

Among the GCC states, Bahrain and Qatar also ranked high – at 8 and 10 – while overall, the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) was the highest ranking region for quality of life, with 71 per cent of expats recommending it.

“The UAE being billed among the top five best places to live and work globally is inspiring and a clear indication of the huge potential that drives this country’s economy,” said Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO and head of International.

“The overwhelming sense of optimism from expats in the UAE about the 12 months ahead is reflective of the quick response from authorities to tackle the social and economic impact of the pandemic.

“The UAE’s openness to diverse cultures and views is also a key attraction for expats looking to make the country their home,” he added.

Globally, the study found that 67 per cent of those who live abroad believe their quality of life is better now than in their home country or region. Also, 61 per cent of the respondents said they have experienced little change to their work situation due to Covid-19.

“Travel and understanding the local culture are now topping the list of expat priorities in 2021. More traditional factors like career progression remain important, but are less of a factor this year than in others,” the study added.


1. Switzerland

2. Australia

3. New Zealand

4. UAE

5. Guernsey

6. Jersey

7. Isle of Man

8. Bahrain

9. Singapore

10. Qatar

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