The availability of school places in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is becoming increasingly important to expat families in those cities, as competition heats up for space at international institutions.
The findings of a study published by UK-based ISC Research said many parents considering a move to the UAE are now more concerned with finding school places for their children than they are about the salaries they earn.
Data published by the body also revealed that expat students were facing competition from local families, many of whom now see value in Western education.
“Many relocating expats with families are now demanding security of their school places before accepting new placements,” said researchers.
“In certain locations, it is the availability of good school places that is driving job decisions by expats rather than salaries and destinations.”
Around the world, ISC says, 80 percent of students at international schools are local children.
The latest figures also show that the total number of children attending the world’s international schools has passed 3m.