Saudi expats 'most keen' to leave country

HSBC's Expat Explorer survey says 34% actively seeking exit compared to 13% globally
Saudi expats 'most keen' to leave country
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 16 Oct 2012 05:18 PM

Nearly a third of expats working in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman are actively seeking to leave their adopted countries, according to HSBC's Expat Explorer survey.

Expats in Saudi Arabia are the least settled with 34 percent saying they are keen to move out of the country, followed by Qatar (30 percent) and Oman (29 percent).

The figures compared to just 13 percent of expats globally who are actively looking to leave, the survey showed.

However despite this, the survey also showed that expats in the Middle East showed higher levels of satisfaction in the state of their economy.

In Oman, 90 percent of expats expressed satisfaction with economic prospects in the country, closely followed by Qatar (89 percent), Saudi Arabia (83 percent), the UAE (77 percent) and Kuwait (68 percent).

All these ranked better than expats globally, of which only 59 percent were satisfied with economic performance in their country.

The survey also said roughly two-thirds of expats in Qatar (67 percent), Bahrain (66 percent), and Oman (65 percent) have reported higher disposable income since relocating to their current country, compared with only 52 percent of expats globally.

Despite the desire for many Gulf expats to leave their country, the survey showed that they were not particularly unhappy in their current posting.

It said that many expats who head to the region retain a much stronger affiliation with their home country than expats in general.

"This suggests that many expats always intended to move to the region for a set period of time, potentially to take advantage of the higher income available, before moving elsewhere or back to their home country," the survey added.

HSBC Expat's Expat Explorer survey indicated that Southeast Asia has come to the fore as a leading destination for expat earning potential.

The largest global survey of expats showed that Singapore this year topped the Expat Explorer Economics league table, which ranks countries based on a number of factors such as earning levels, disposable income and ability to accumulate luxuries.

Four additional countries in the region also make the top ten, including Thailand (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), China (7th) and Vietnam (10th).

The annual Expat Explorer survey is the largest global survey of expats and polled 5,339 expats from nearly 100 countries worldwide.

Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat, said: "Despite some of the pressures expats are facing across the globe, financially-minded expats are taking the right precautions to ride out periods of uncertainty and are able to spot the right opportunities to help them weather the storms to advance their careers.

"While Southeast Asia has historically been a popular choice for those looking for increased quality of life, we're also seeing a steady increase in the levels of expat wealth heading to the region. These two factors combined indicate that the region is fast becoming an all-round top expat destination."

By contrast, expats across Europe have reported feeling the impact of the Eurozone storm but those in Spain are feeling the effects most acutely.

Bucking the trend for European countries is Germany. More than nine in ten (91 percent) expats in Germany believe that the economic situation in their country is either getting better or staying about the same, with a similar number reporting that they are satisfied with the current state of the economy (86 percent).

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