UAE Ranks Third Most Popular Hub For British Expats

Tumbling bonuses in the west and improved employment prospects in the UAE are attracting British expats to the country.



The UAE has been ranked the third most popular destination for British expats, ahead of France and Spain, revealed a NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Report.

According to the report, career opportunities and a better quality of life are major attractions for British expats heading to the UAE. However only eight per cent of those surveyed for the report said that they will be considering a permanent stay in the UAE while 92 per cent said that they were on a “temporary assignment.”

“The most notable shifts in our quality of life results this year is the rise of the UAE as an expat destination,” said Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking.

Isley said that the attractiveness of once popular traditional expat destinations of France, Spain and Portugal are diminishing, with quality of life drastically reducing for expats living there, making way for newcomers such as the UAE and Singapore.

The report found that 96 per cent of those living in the UAE, Hong Kong, China and Singapore enjoy larger disposable incomes on a temporary basis.

“It seems expats are willing to adjust their lifestyle in exchange for a stronger economy and better job opportunities,” said Isley.

The recent recession that hit the Eurozone region has initiated a migration of labour force to countries like Singapore and the UAE.

Falling property prices, austerity measures and fears over job security are prompting 63 per cent of expats in Europe to consider returning to the UK, the survey found.

Expats living in Spain are feeling the pinch the most as unemployment stands at almost 20 per cent. A third (32 per cent) of respondents in Europe said they were already looking into returning to the UK.

According to an earlier survey conducted by eFinancial, a global recruitment site for finance professionals, 88 per cent of the respondents said that they would consider taking a financial services job in Dubai while 57.1 per cent pegged the emirate to be a more attractive destination to work than during the boom years.

Aiming to be a tourism hub in the GCC, Dubai is also increasingly perceived as liberal while nearly 70 per cent of the respondents emphasised lifestyle as one of the key benefits of working in the emirate.

However the report also said that the emirate will have to dispel preconceptions about a “restrictive lifestyle” and has to develop its infrastructure in order to drive down the costs of living.

Apart from Dubai, Singapore too is growing in popularity among expats from the United States and the UK owing to the quality of life offered in the city.