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Fri 23 Sep 2016 12:23 AM

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Bahrain beats the UAE to be named top MidEast expat destination

Gulf kingdom ranks ninth globally due in part to ease of making new friends; UAE among top countries for making money

Bahrain beats the UAE to be named top MidEast expat destination
Bahrain World Trade Centre, Bahrain economy, Bahrain skyline, Bahrain business

Bahrain has been named the Middle East's top destination for expatriates, ahead of the UAE, according to HSBC’s Expat Explorer 2016 report.

Bahrain was ranked ninth globally behind top performer Singapore, thanks in part to the relative ease with which expats are able to make new friends in the Gulf kingdom, HSBC said.

More than two in three (67 percent) expats there agree that they found it easy compared with the global average of 52 percent.

This translates to the rest of the family, with four in 10 (42 percent) expat parents saying their children find it easy to make friends too compared with the global average of 31 percent, it added.

Overall, the UAE was placed 12th, ahead of Oman (18th), Qatar (29th), Saudi Arabia (31st) and Kuwait (35th).

Money was not at the forefront of expats' decision to move to Bahrain as the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all polled ahead of the country on economic considerations.

The report said the Middle East remained an excellent destination for expats to improve their earnings, increase their savings and enjoy greater disposable income, despite the fact that all Middle Eastern countries (except Kuwait) slipped slightly in this year’s Economics league table.

Two countries, the UAE and Qatar, remain in the top 10 for Economics in fifth and eighth place respectively, while three countries in the region (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman) were not rated in the top 10 countries this year for economic aspects.

This slight decline comes amid a global reduction in the price of oil, which has affected economies in the region.

Expat confidence in the local economic outlook has fallen slightly in the Middle East to 52 percent, down from 57 percent last year. This is in line with the expat global average of 52 percent, the report said.

It added that the proportion of expats in the Middle East who saw their disposable income increase after moving also declined slightly, from 67 percent in 2015 to 63 percent this year.

Expats in the region also said the quality of their working life has improved this year. More than a third (36 percent) of expats in the Middle East said job security is better than it was in their home countries, up from 30 percent last year.

Expats added that the balance between their working and personal lives has also improved, with 53 percent saying they find it better than at home, up from 46 percent last year.

HSBC’s Expat Explorer 2016 report ranked Singapore, for the second year in a row, as the best place for foreign workers.

Expatriates in Singapore earn $139,000 annually, much higher than the global average of $97,000 while almost a quarter (23 percent) of these foreign workers take home more than $200,000, more than twice the global expatriate average of 11 percent.

Taking the second spot was New Zealand, followed by Canada, Czech Republic and Switzerland in the top five.

The 2016 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 26,871 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2016.

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Jonathon Powell 3 years ago

I agree 100% Our time in Bahrain 1977-78 and 1998-2000 were the happiest in the Gulf. Dubai and Abu Dhabi also came close. Kuwait.............well what can I say!

Fentoni 3 years ago

Do huge 4 x 4 with blacked out windows try to actively run you off the road (and dangerously brake in front of you when they eventually get past) in Bahrain? I only ask because this is the part of UAE life that stands out as a real downer.

chris 3 years ago

Bahrain is a very easy place to live. It has a much smaller-town vibe (in a good way) that keeps everyone pretty grounded. We have been here for over a decade, and we have many close friends from all walks of life and nationalities. It's also still possible to keep costs low, and make hay.