Global Expat Survey: UAE ranked 6th for safety

By Eudore R. Chand

Abu Dhabi

DUBAI 22 September 2019: The United Arab Emirates has been ranked 40th out of 64 destinations in the Expat Insider 2019 survey by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with 3.6 million members.

Expats give the UAE above-average ratings for the quality of life (21st) and the ease of settling in (20th), but are unhappy with their personal finances, the cost of living, and their working life.

The UAE ranks worst for personal finance and best for the ease of settling in, said InterNations.

With more than 20,000 respondents, it is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, sharing insights into expat life in 64 destinations. The survey offers in-depth information about expats’ satisfaction with the quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, personal finance, cost of living, and family life in their respective country of residence.

Best Destinations

Meanwhile, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Portugal are the best expat destinations: all of them attract expats with their ease of settling in and good personal finances. While expats in Taiwan and Portugal are also extremely satisfied with the quality of life, those in Vietnam appreciate their great work life.

Worst Destinations

At the other end of the ranking, Kuwait (64th out of 64), Italy, and Nigeria are the worst destinations for expats in 2019. While Kuwait is the country where expats find it hardest to settle in, Italy offers the worst work life, and Nigeria the worst quality of life in the world.

Placing just ahead of Italy, Argentina, and Greece, the UAE is one of the world’s worst countries for personal finance according to expats (61st out of 64 destinations). One in four expats in the UAE (25%) is unhappy with their financial situation (vs. 18% globally), and 34% feel that their disposable household income is not enough to cover all living expenses (vs. 23% globally). The cost of living seems to be high as well (52nd), with 50% expressing their  unhappiness with this factor (vs. 34% globally).

Ranking 47th in the Working Abroad Index, the UAE does not perform a lot better in this regard: one in three expats (33%) worries about their job security (vs. 21% globally), ranking the UAE 60th worldwide for this factor.

“When budgets are cut after working for six to twelve months, there is no general assistance like unemployment benefits,” states an expat from the USA.

Expat parents also struggle with the high costs in the UAE: they are unhappy with the affordability of both education (61% unhappy vs. 35% globally) and childcare (43% unhappy vs. 40% globally).

Plus Side

On the plus side, it looks like childcare options are becoming much more readily available (59% happy in 2019 vs. 47% in 2018).

Lastly, the UAE is considered a very safe country for expats and their children, ranking 6th for safety and security, after Oman, Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Finland.

Nearly all expat parents (96%) are happy with their children’s safety (vs. 81% globally).

The UAE receives its best result in the Ease of Settling In Index (20th): expats find it easy to live in this country without speaking the local language (86% vs. 45% globally) and are happy with the friendly attitude towards foreign
residents (77% vs. 65% globally).

Dubai Gazette