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)
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 10 May 2014 09:41 AM

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.

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