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Fri 18 Dec 2015 01:00 AM

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Expats vote Gulf region best in world for financial incentives

New survey shows expats single out the Gulf for the greater ability to save and higher disposable incomes

Expats vote Gulf region best in world for financial incentives

Countries in the GCC rank the highest in the world when it comes to expats being able to own additional property as a result of moving, according to HSBC’s 2015 Expat Explorer survey.

With the region offering higher salaries, better work incentives, and a less complex environment to manage finances, expats have singled out the Gulf in the survey for the greater ability to save and the higher disposable incomes they enjoy since moving.  

Now in its eighth year, the survey examined the responses of 21,950 expats from across the world to assess their views towards life in their host countries.

Countries in the GCC were highlighted by the greatest proportion of expats as the places to move to that offered the best financial incentives, the survey showed. 

The HSBC poll said that working age people in the UAE have the highest degree of confidence in property as a good way to generate income for their retirement, with over 8 out of 10 (81 percent) identifying with this sentiment.

Expats said the region offered them opportunities to put them on the right financial footing to purchase property.

Expats in Bahrain (30 percent), Saudi Arabia (27 percent), UAE and Oman (25 percent) are the most likely to identify with this sentiment, compared to the global average of 17 percent, the survey showed.

These attitudes vary significantly across the world among expats in the UK (6 percent), India (24 percent) and the US (19 percent), indicating that these views are closely linked to the wealth creation dynamics in countries.

Commenting on this trend, Gifford Nakajima, head of regional wealth development, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, said: “The GCC continues to be recognised by expats as the place that offers the greatest financial opportunities, despite the recent economic slowdown we have witnessed.

"We see that they are, in particular, highlighting the growth in their disposable income and their ability to save as factors boosting their long-term planning capabilities, which allow them to achieve their biggest aspirations, including purchasing a home.”

The research also showed that the largest proportion of expats recognised that moving to the GCC pays the most compared to other regions across the world.

Expats in Qatar (76 percent) and Oman (72 percent) are the highest in the world to say that they have more disposable income since moving, compared to a global average of 57 percent.

Similarly, expats in Oman (76 percent), Qatar and Saudi Arabia (75 percent) said that they are able to save more since moving, far above the global average of 52 percent. The UAE also ranked highly among these criteria with 65 percent and 61 percent of expats, respectively, expressing these sentiments.

Expats between the ages of 18 and 34 in the GCC were also among the highest to express that their ability to own a property rose since moving to the region. Young expats in Qatar (31 percent), Canada (26 percent) and the UAE (25 percent) were the highest globally to identify with this view.

This was backed up by a majority of young expats in the region – 71 percent in Qatar and 58 percent in the UAE – stating that they earn more in their host country, compared to the global average of 43 percent. 

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