Manama named the world's best city for expats

Bahraini capital tops global rankings ahead of Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, and Amsterdam
A general view shows the Bahraini capital Manama. (MOHAMMED ALSHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Fri 17 Nov 2017 12:23 AM

Manama, the capital of Bahrain, has been named as the world's top city for expats in this year’s Expat City Ranking, mirroring Bahrain’s overall lead in the Expat Insider 2017 survey.

Manama was placed ahead of Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, and Amsterdam in the global top five while the best of the other Gulf cities were Muscat (12th), Abu Dhabi (15th), and Dubai (17th).

At the other end of the scale of 51 cities analysed, Doha (45th), Riyadh (48th), and Jeddah (50th) are significantly less popular with their expat residents, the survey said.

The ranking is based on data collected in the annual Expat Insider survey, conducted by InterNations, the largest expat community worldwide.

With nearly 13,000 respondents living and working abroad, Expat Insider 2017 is one of the most extensive expat studies worldwide.

The survey ranks cities by a variety of factors from the areas quality of urban living, getting settled, urban work life, as well as finance and housing.

Most of the surveyed cities in the Gulf region perform poorly when it comes to urban work life, with Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Dubai, Riyadh, Doha, and Jeddah all appearing in the bottom half of the ranking for factor. Manama, however, bucks the trend, coming in 12th out of 51 cities worldwide.

More than six in ten expats in the Bahraini capital (63 percent) feel positively about their job security, followed by Abu Dhabi (55 percent), but far ahead of Jeddah (37 percent), Dubai, and Muscat (both 39 percent).

While about half the expats in Dubai (53 percent), Riyadh (50 percent), and Manama (48 percent) rate local career prospects positively, less than four in 10 in Jeddah (30 percent), Doha (37 percent), and Muscat (39 percent) agree, according to the survey.

The Gulf cities are a bit of a mixed bag in terms of getting expats settled in, it added. The local residents in Abu Dhabi (75 percent), Dubai (73 percent), Manama (84 percent), and Muscat (85 percent) are perceived as particularly friendly towards foreign residents but the Saudi Arabian cities of Jeddah (47 percent) and Riyadh (40 percent), as well as Doha (56 percent), seem to be less welcoming, ranking well below the global average (67 percent).

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