Revealed: Kuwait named the world's worst expat destination

Expat Insider 2016 also ranks Qatar annd Saudi Arabia among the 10 least popular places to relocate
Revealed: Kuwait named the world's worst expat destination
By Staff writer
Wed 31 Aug 2016 01:44 PM

Kuwait has been named the worst destination for expats in the world for 2016, according to a new survey.

The Expat Insider 2016 poll showed that the Gulf state ranked 67th out of 67 countries cover for the third year running.

It even managed to go down in each index this year, most notably in the Working Abroad and Personal Finance indices.

Qatar (60) and Saudi Arabia (67) were also named in the bottom 10 countries to relocate to in the survey which measured quality of life, ease ease of settling in, personal finance, working abroad and family life.

Bahrain was ranked highest of the Gulf countries for expats at 19th, ahead of Oman (22) and the UAE (40), which has traditionally been most popular with expats in the region.

Globally, Taiwan, Malta and Equador were voted the best destinations for expats.

The survey showed that expats are generally dissatisfied with leisure activities available in the Gulf region - only the UAE does better than the worldwide average, with 38 percent of expats expressing complete satisfaction with local leisure options while only 5 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia said the same.

Political instability in the Middle East is a major problem at the moment, and the Gulf States are also affected by it, according to the survey respondents.

In fact, fewer expats in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia are satisfied with the political stability in their country of residence than the global average of 61 percent. On the other hand, Oman and the UAE performed a lot better than the worldwide average with 85 percent and 81 percent, respectively, saying they are generally happy with this factor.

The region is less attractive to expat women than to men, according to the poll. For example, there are only 15 percent of female expats in Saudi Arabia, and 33 percent in Qatar, compared to the global average of 49 percent. Three of the GCC states (Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia) are also among the 10 worst-rated destinations for expat women. 

In the Ease of Settling index, Oman and Bahrain featured in the global top 15 while Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait ranked 61st, 66th, and 67th out of 67, respectively.

Furthermore, 21 percent of expats in Oman and Bahrain said that making local friends is very easy, compared to the worldwide average of 12 percent. However, all the other Gulf States have below-average ratings for this question.

In the Working Abroad index, the best-ranking Gulf countries were again Oman and Bahrain, both featuring among the top 20 worldwide. The UAE came in just above the global average, in 36th place, while the rest (Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) were all in the bottom 20.

Expats in the region said their top three reasons for relocation are all financial or work related, with the exception of the UAE, where an improved quality of life was another deciding factor.

The lack of a work-life balance also seems to be a problem in most of the Gulf States, with expats working on average more than 45.2 hours a week, except for those in Oman, where the average work week is 43.3 hours, still more than the global average of 41.4 hours.

Moreover, in the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar, more than 50 percent of expats also stated that they are dissatisfied with the cost of living, compared to less than a third worldwide (32 percent).

In the Family Life index, all Gulf States ranked in the bottom 15 out of 45 destinations, with the UAE coming in at 33rd and Saudi Arabia at 44th.

When it comes to the available childcare options, only Bahrain (48 percent) and the UAE (51 percent) outperformed the global average of 46 percent positive ratings. Oman had the lowest percentage in the region (23 percent).

According to the survey, expats in the region are generally as satisfied as the global average among expat parents when it comes to the quality of education (64 percent positive ratings).

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