High quality of life in the UAE… comes at a cost

Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 21 May 2021: The UAE has been ranked 18th out of 59 destinations in the Expat Insider 2021 survey.

While expats are happy with the quality of life and the ease of settling in (17th for both), the country also ranks quite well in the Working Abroad Index (28th).

However, it performs poorly in the Cost of Living Index (44th) and even ends up among the bottom 10 in the Personal Finance Index (56th).

Overall, Taiwan, Mexico, and Costa Rica are the best expat destinations worldwide: all of them attract expats with their ease of settling in and good personal finances.

On the other hand, the bottom three countries, Kuwait, Italy, and South Africa, all perform poorly in the Working Abroad Index. Additionally, Kuwait is the hardest country for expats to feel at home in, Italy is the worst for personal finances, and expats in South Africa do not feel safe.

Bahrain the best in GCC

Bahrain remains the best place in the GCC for expats to live and work despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the recently published InterNations Expat Insider 2021 survey. The survey, which samples key indices related to things like quality of life and cost of living, ranks the Kingdom ahead of Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

While the pandemic has caused expats around the world to cut their time abroad short and return home, nearly a third of respondents in Bahrain said they no immediate or future plans to return home due to the global crisis.

In the InterNations survey, Bahrain ranked highly across key indicators including quality of medical care, political stability, ease of settling in and job satisfaction.

Just over 80% of expats in Bahrain are happy with medical care quality, compared with 71% globally. Meanwhile, 84% are happy with the country’s political stability compared to 64% globally. This combined with Bahrain’s best-value cost of setting up and operating a company than neighbouring countries, as well as the Kingdom’s unparalleled access to the GCC region’s fastest growing market are all key factors in ensuring demand from companies looking to set up in the region.

Most expats in Bahrain also feel financially secure while almost 70% of respondents said they are satisfied with their job in general. The majority of expats in Bahrain work in healthcare, energy & utilities, education and hospitality. Rapid population growth in the country is driving demand for both healthcare and education services and workers.

Exactly half of expats in Bahrain rate the cost of living positively and the Kingdom is placed 26th in the global rankings for cost of living.

Despite the pandemic, Bahrain remains a very easy place for expats to settle in, according to the survey. The country was ranked fifth globally for ease of settling in and most expats (87%) find it easy to live in Bahrain without speaking the local language, compared with 54% globally. Bahrain ranks sixth globally in the language subcategory.

Moreover, 77% of expats feel at home in the local culture (versus 63% globally), and 70% say it is easy to settle down in Bahrain (versus 62% globally). Bahrain ranks fifth in the world for ease of settling in.


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