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Sat 10 May 2014 09:41 AM

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More UK expats picking UAE to start new lives - poll

UAE is the fastest climber in NatWest's Quality of Life Index; now the third most popular destination after Australia and Canada

More UK expats picking UAE to start new lives - poll
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

UK expats are increasingly choosing the UAE as their destination of choice when deciding on a new life overseas, according to a new report published by NatWest International Personal Banking.

While Australia and Canada were ranked first and second in the banks's Quality of Life Index, the UAE was the highest climber, rising three places to third compared to the previous year.

In five years, the UAE has leapt from 10th place in the index, boosted by the emergence of Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the global stage.

NatWest said career opportunities are the key driver for expats heading to UAE, with 75 percent citing it as their reason for moving to the country.

However, only eight percent of respondents said they believe they will stay in UAE forever with the majority (92 percent) considering themselves as on ‘temporary assignment’.

A large disposable income is enjoyed by 96 percent of those living in UAE, Hong Kong, China and Singapore on a temporary basis, the index said.

The UAE, and especially Dubai, is attracting thousands of young British professionals for reasons ranging from a zero-rate income tax to scores of opportunities offered amid the city’s booming economic sectors.

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

"The once loved traditional expat communities of France, Spain and Portugal are diminishing, with quality of life drastically reducing for expats living there, making way for newcomers such as UAE and Singapore.

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

Falling property prices, austerity measures and fears over job security are prompting 63 percent of expats in Europe to consider returning to the UK, he added.

The index also said that Singapore is increasingly attracting expats particularly those from the UK and Europe. Singapore has built a reputation for offering a good quality of life, as well as a range of interesting career opportunities.

Expats living in Singapore have higher average incomes and greater wealth than expats living anywhere else in the world, NatWest said.

The top 10 destinations for UK expats, according to the index, were Australia, Canada, the UAE, South Africa, New Zealand, the US, Singapore, France, Spain, Portugal, China and Hong Kong.

WHJ 5 years ago

Well I hope they don't mind eating Halal meat...
Seriously, not that this comes as a surprise, it goes to show that the UAE is fast overtaking some European countries in terms of quality of life.
I just hope they don't come here and join the league of whiners who entertain us very often here on this forum. Speaking of whom, I wonder what they have to say about this article. Can't wait.

me2 5 years ago

Desperate to link in other stories to just have a go at people WHJ, huh. Nothing changes.

At least they will know the meat is labelled and identified properly, and nobody can object to that.
Equally anything/one, new should be good news, not leaving things stale with inversion.

It is a bit like comments from some posters.
Some love to see their name all the time on anything as the self-appointed expert on everything.
Others prefer quality over quantity.

chalky6766 5 years ago

Its nice to see and after being here for a long time I can safely say I love it here despite ups and downs. You adjust and learn to just accept things that take time. Dubai for e.g is expanding at an exponential rate and there are bound to be ongoing issues linked to that expansion. I just hope those that come here learn quickly the differences between the UK and the UAE and respect their position here in the mix, if they are able to do that they will have a wonderful time.

Doug 5 years ago

Here's a starter for 10...92 per cent of the UK expats coming to the UAE said they would only be coming here temporarily before moving back home.

Sorta begs the question that if the UAE has such a high quality of life, why does everyone basically want to leave once they've got a bit of cash?

The study's also a bit dishonest anyway. It talks about France and Portugal being traditional British expat destinations - yes, they are, for the elderly and retired. I suspect your average Brit pensioner isn't about to swap the Algarve for JBR. People coming here are going to likely be either fresh out of university or early on in their career.

All this really tells you is that the UAE has a lower bar for entry and less competition for jobs for graduates than in the UK. I'm certainly doing a job here in the UAE that I wouldn't be qualified for in the UK.

WHJ 5 years ago

You got me all figured out me2...or is it who2 ;-)

DubaiMike 5 years ago

@WHJ getting in early with a bit of whining of your own.

WHJ 5 years ago

@Doug. You took a perfectly objective study and tore it to pieces. You're discrediting a study made by a British institution just because it shows the UAE in a good light.
The question you claim begs itself is actually a no brainer; all expats end up going home! Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that expats want to leave "once they've got a bit of cash". The question was if they would want to stay forever, and only 8% said yes. The remaining 92% responded the way most expats would respond in a host country, especially that expats cannot stay indefinitely in the UAE even if they wanted to. The fact that the UAE came third after Australia and Canada is really a testimony to the undeniable truth about the quality of life here.
@Telcoboy. It is actually a well established fact that when people move to a new country, especially to a very different culture, they would need to adjust their lifestyle...but I'll let you enjoy this major discovery of yours!
Man! Talk about brains....

tfg 5 years ago

The biggest whiners are South Asians, who overstay their visa and milk the region with remittance and carefully crafted hidden black market!

Why don't they take a hint from other law abiding nationals who know their time is limited here?

me2 5 years ago

No as you confirmed, it's you2! :)

Doug 5 years ago

So what if it was by a British institution? But yes, the survey does offer an undeniable truth about the quality of life here - namely, it's pretty good. No-one's disputing that.

However, it is quite clear the bar for employment here is definitely set low, seeing as it seems to attract the sort of people who genuinely believe a study by Natwest International Personal Banking would be completely objective and impartial....