The UAE has been ranked the 33rd most suitable destination for people looking to move abroad, according to the Expat Insider 2014 report, which surveyed 14,000 expatriates from over 160 countries.
Expats find that the UAE is “neither a bad nor a great country to relocate to,” the report said.
The country ranks high in the ‘Quality of Life’ index at 19th position, with residents saying they enjoy having a strong sense of personal safety and a stable political situation. Up to three in five participants (68 per cent) also find the availability of leisure activities to be good.
The UAE also ranks 21st for ‘Ease of Settling In’, with 63 per cent of the respondents stating that the resident population is friendly to expats.
However, the UAE fell sharply behind global averages for all aspects of personal finance, occupying the 49 spot in the ‘Work and Finance’ index.
Up to 74 per cent of the expatriates were unhappy with the affordability of housing, with only 38 per cent viewing the cost of living to be good. A total of 84 per cent also find education to be unaffordable, compared to the global average of 58 per cent.
The UAE also scored poorly in work satisfaction, with only 15 per cent of the respondents finding complete satisfaction in their careers. Also, only 55 per cent said they were happy with their work-life balance, below the global average of 63 per cent.
“Although Dubai, the city of gold, is part of the UAE, expats are unsure of what carat the country is, landing it about halfway down our survey,” the report added.
Among the other GCC countries, Oman ranked 30, Bahrain 48, Qatar 58, Saudi Arabia 60 and Kuwait ranked the lowest in the overall list at 61.
TOP 10 EXPAT COUNTRIES 2014
The South American country ranks first on the Personal Finance index and eighth on the Ease of Settling In index. Ecuador also came first for personal happiness, with over nine out of 10 expats reporting being satisfied with their lifes. Almost half of the expats in Ecuador plan to stay there “possibly forever”.
The small European country ranks second primarily due to its second-place ranking in the Working Abroad index. Up to 64 per cent said that career opportunity was to be the most important reason for their move abroad. However, only 28 per cent want to stay in Luxembourg for the long run.
Mexico came third because of ranking the highest in the Ease of Settling index. Nine in 10 expats are pleased with their expat life in Mexico, with 44 per cent saying that they would like to stay in the country forever.
Topping the Quality of Life index, Switzerland ranks high on safety and healthcare facilities. More than 90 per cent of expatriates express a positive attitude towards the medical services available, while 97 per cent rate their personal safety positively.
Ranking fifth overall and no lower than 31st in any of the main indices, the United States presents a “fun and convenient choice” for expats, said the report. The country ranks fourth in terms of settling in, with 29 per cent of resident expat agreeing that it is easy to get used to the American culture.
Despite high living expenses, expatriates based in Singapore are happy with their well-being, health, safety, family life and work, with 50 per cent reporting satisfaction with overall life in the country.
Except for Switzerland, Spain tops all other countries on the Quality of Life index, with less than one per cent of participants describing the climate as bad, and just two per cent having personal safety concerns. Spain also ranks second in the Ease of Settling In index, but stumbles to the 55th spot in the Personal Finance index.
The Philippines secures a rank among the top five countries for the availability of educational options for children, with expatriates also most satisfied with the variety, availability, and costs of childcare in the country. The Asian nation also ranked fifth on the Personal Finance index.
One in five of respondents moved to Australia primarily for a better quality of life, with the country ranking 12th for the overall local quality of life and topping the Leisure sub-ranking. On a whole, 43 per cent of the expatriates said they are satisfied with life in Australia.
10. Hong Kong
The fast-paced Asian nation was placed fourth on the General Quality of Life index, with up to eight per cent of expat households having more than $250,000. However, accommodation is particularly expensive in Hong Kong, with 38 per cent giving their housing expenses the worst possible rating.