UAE rated highest for expat lifestyle, earnings and family stability

In HSBC's latest research across nine key markets participants rate UAE most highly for five of the top 12 motivations behind the decision to relocate internationally

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Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Wed 1 Mar 2023, 7:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Mar 2023, 1:54 PM

The UAE is the most popular destination for expatriates as the emirate rated highest for expat lifestyle, earnings and family stability, according to a survey.

The HSBC latest research across nine key markets rated the emirate most highly for five of the top 12 motivations behind the decision to relocate international. Motivations to move see the UAE ranked top for lifestyle, increased earnings, family stability, purchasing power and sustainable living conditions.

Lifestyle is the prime motivation for 36 per cent of respondents, who have relocated to the UAE – a proportion higher than any other global market surveyed – with expat life in the UAE rated most favourably compared to other markets for increased earnings (36 per cent), family stability (34 per cent), making money go further (37 per cent) and the option of living in a more sustainable environment (30 per cent).

The survey, which highlights the motivations and challenges faced by those who take the decision to move abroad, was conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Australia, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Daniel Robinson, head of Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC UAE, said the attractiveness of the UAE as a place to live has drawn people from all over the world.
Daniel Robinson, head of Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC UAE, said the attractiveness of the UAE as a place to live has drawn people from all over the world.

Top reasons for relocations

The research also identifies a better work-life balance, opportunity to travel, learn new skills at work, wealth growth, living in a more sustainable environment, exploring new location, accelerate career progression and flexible remote working rules, among others some of the top reasons for relocation.

HSBC estimates there are over 90 million international customers across just 10 of its key international markets – people already living, working and studying abroad. The study was commissioned to understand how, post pandemic, international citizens’ financial lives are evolving, their motivations for moving abroad and the issues they face as they settle into their new home.

Daniel Robinson, head of Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC UAE, said the attractiveness of the UAE as a place to live has drawn people from all over the world.

“While moving anywhere internationally can be a challenge logistically, financially and personally, we see the UAE so highly rated among the categories that matter most to expat.”

Getting settled and getting help

Globally, the survey also uncovered some of the difficulties people face when moving abroad as 53 per cent, for example, say they were unsettled by the initial struggle with setting up a bank account or home utilities. A lack of local credit history was the reason for these challenges say 56 per cent of respondents.

Qamariya Ibrahim, HSBC UAE’s head of Retail Distribution, said HSBC people are diverse.
Qamariya Ibrahim, HSBC UAE’s head of Retail Distribution, said HSBC people are diverse.

For the UAE, these figures are much lower than the global survey’s average at just 44 per cent for both feeling unsettled and citing local credit history as the reason.

Half of all respondents (51 per cent across all nine markets in total and in the UAE) say nobody helped them prepare financially for the move while 70 per cent of all respondents (74 per cent in the UAE) say they need help understanding tax implications of overseas investment.

“Like our customers, HSBC people are diverse and international in outlook so it’s natural that we understand expats’ needs and are best-placed to connect them with their previous – or their next – home country,” Qamariya Ibrahim, HSBC UAE’s head of Retail Distribution, said.

Hatem ElSafty, chief executive at Business Link, said it's been a tremendous sight watching the UAE become one of the most sought-after destinations for our clients, and for good reason.

"The country offers a high standard of living, coupled with luxurious amenities, making it an attractive destination for both personal and professional pursuits," he said.

In addition to this, he said the UAE also provides favorable incentives for businesses to thrive, making it an international business hub for investors. "It's no surprise that most of our clients choose the UAE as their preferred destination, and we expect the numbers of entrepreneurs and foreign investors to continue flocking to the UAE," he said.

Feel at home factor

Shaji Abu Salih, corporate director of Business Development at Shaza Hotels, said the UAE makes everyone feel home.

“Starting from its inclusive approach to all people despite of any backgrounds, the country facilitate an elevated lifestyle to all its residents. I, personally being a frequent traveller, I have never worried about my family back in UAE as it’s safety and security is world class and second to none!”

He said the country’s long-term vision and development plans guarantees immense opportunities at work or in business.

“The easiness in doing any government or related services, connectivity to home country or any part of the world, the world class education and healthcare, and the best in class infrastructure makes this country a second home for many,” he said.

Adam Abdul Nazar, deputy CEO, Life Healthcare Group, said living in the UAE is not only about earning more money or finding a more sustainable environment.
Adam Abdul Nazar, deputy CEO, Life Healthcare Group, said living in the UAE is not only about earning more money or finding a more sustainable environment.

UAE — A global hub

Adam Abdul Nazar, deputy CEO, Life Healthcare Group, said living in the UAE is not only about earning more money or finding a more sustainable environment, but it's also about embracing a lifestyle that offers a perfect balance between work, personal time and health.

“With the highest proportion of respondents citing lifestyle as their primary motivation for relocating, the UAE has truly become a global hub for those seeking a healthy, fulfilling and rewarding life, no matter where they are from in the world," Nazar told Khaleej Times.

Ms Ghada Chater, regional communication manager for Mena at QNET, said the UAE's attractive economic environment is a significant factor for expats seeking increased earnings and greater value for their money.

Ms Ghada Chater, regional communication manager for Mena at QNET, said the UAE's attractive economic environment is a significant factor for expats seeking increased earnings and greater value for their money.
Ms Ghada Chater, regional communication manager for Mena at QNET, said the UAE's attractive economic environment is a significant factor for expats seeking increased earnings and greater value for their money.

“As the region continues to thrive as a global business hub, it will continue to offer unparalleled opportunities for those that are seeking better careers and financial prospects,” she said.

“The country’s stable economy, coupled with its dynamic and cosmopolitan environment, make it an ideal destination for expats looking to maximise their earnings potential and maximize their lifestyle satisfaction,” Chater told Khaleej Times.

Top reasons for relocating

> Better lifestyle

> A better work-life balance

> Higher earnings

> Opportunity to travel

> Stability for my family

> Learn new skills at work

> Wealth growth opportunities

> Living in a more sustainable environment

> Explore new location

> Accelerate career progression

> Technology-savvy

> Flexible remote working rules

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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