UAE: 76% of expats say their careers improved after moving to Emirates

Country has topped in expat essentials such as no bureaucratic hurdles, red-tapism and complicated immigration laws, according to a study by InterNations


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 4 Jul 2024, 8:52 PM

Last updated: Fri 5 Jul 2024, 8:26 AM

The UAE has emerged among the world’s top 10 countries for expatriates to live and work in 2024 with the country being ranked first in expat essentials such as no bureaucratic hurdles, red tapism and complicated immigration laws, according to a new study released on Thursday.

“One area in which the UAE outshines all other countries in our ranking is the Expat Essentials Index. The country is placed first in two out of four subcategories: Language and Admin Topics. While learning Arabic is considered neither particularly easy nor difficult, 80 per cent of expats agree that it’s not necessary to get by. And bureaucratic hurdles, red tape, or complicated immigration laws are not major issues for expats in the UAE,” said the study by global network InterNations for 2024.

The UAE has been aggressively pursuing reforms to remove red-tapism from the public sector to serve customers better. In February, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced new initiatives which is called the “Zero Government Bureaucracy Programme.” Under this programme, public sector entities will work to remove 2,000 procedures within a year and re-engineer hundreds of government services.

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Careers of 76% expats improved

InterNations said expats are full of praise regarding the state of the economy (1st) and the local job market (4th). A staggering 76 per cent of expats agree that moving to the UAE has improved their career prospects, which is the highest percentage worldwide and 20 percentage points above the global average.

In addition, 64 per cent of expats in the UAE also find it easy to get accommodation as against 45 per cent globally. Affordability is, however, a challenge after over three years of rise in rentals as only 37 per cent of expats are happy with the prices against 34 per cent globally.

Third best for quality of life

InterNations ranked the UAE 10th in overall ranking and third best for quality of life among 53 nations worldwide. The three factors that have the highest approval ratings in the quality of life index are the government’s environmental policies, the infrastructure for cars, and political stability.

Earlier this week, Numbeo ranked Abu Dhabi 17th in the first half of 2024 compared to 54th at the beginning of the year. Similarly, Dubai’s position also improved from 57th to 49th among 178 cities in January-June 2024.

Nearly 9 in ten respondents – 86 per cent – agree that the UAE government supports policies to protect the environment, higher than the global average of 61 per cent.

When it comes to travel and transit, 91 per cent rate the infrastructure for cars positively versus 73 per cent globally. But cars are not the only way of getting around: satisfaction with affordability (16th) and availability (17th) of public transport has improved compared to 2023, the InterNations survey finds.

High safety

In the safety and security subcategory, political stability has exceptionally high approval ratings at 86 per cent compared to 59 per cent worldwide.

“It’s very safe, especially as a woman. I can go out jogging at night with headphones in and not even think about safety. People leave their front doors open,” InterNations said, quoting an unnamed Australian expat.

Personal safety – ranked 4th – is also highly appreciated by expatriates. Healthcare is an important aspect of quality of life, and at the 12th place, the UAE does well in this subcategory. The country impresses with good availability (4th) and quality (6th) of healthcare, but not so much in terms of affordability (31st).

The UAE also ranked high in leisure, ranked 8th in culinary variety and 3rd in culture and nightlife.

Other countries

Panama, Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, Colombia, Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines and UAE rounded off the top 10 overall ranking. Kuwait, Turkiye, Finland, Germany, Canada, Norway, Italy, Malta, Ireland and UK were ranked the worst by the expats in InterNations’ 2024 survey.


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