UAE ranked fourth best place to live and work, says global study

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Dubai - 82 per cent of expats are optimistic life in the UAE will return to normal in the next 12 months


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Tue 19 Oct 2021, 11:41 AM

The UAE climbed 10 places to rank fourth best country in the world to live and work, a new study has revealed.

Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand ranked first second and third respectively.

According to HSBC’s 14th annual Expat Explorer study — a global survey of over 20,000 people who live and work abroad – the vast majority of expats surveyed in the UAE (82 per cent) feel optimistic that life will be more stable and normal again in the next 12 months.

These results are despite the global pandemic, far above the 35 per cent global average, with 53 per cent of UAE respondents also expecting an increase in their income and a better work-life balance (57 per cent). In the GCC, Bahrain and Qatar were ranked eighth and tenth, respectively.

“The UAE being billed among the top five best places to live and work globally is inspiring and a clear indication of the huge potential that drives this country’s economy. We saw that potential as the first and only bank here when we opened our doors for business on October 12, 1946, and we’ve been investing ever since, supporting the country and our customers to open up a world of opportunity,” said Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO and head of international.

“The connectivity of the economy combined with the scale of its vision has transformed it from a small fishing and pearling port in the 1940s into a global trade, logistics, shipping, aviation, business and finance hub today,” he added.

“The country’s focus on innovation, infrastructure, quality of life, diversity and inclusion have made it the destination of choice for businesses and professionals looking to grow and prosper."

Economics and quality of life

The progress of the UAE has been attractive for many who make the UAE their home, according to the study. The top three reasons cited by expats for choosing to move to the UAE are: to improve their earnings (56 per cent), to progress their career (49 per cent), and to improve their quality of life (43 per cent).

The quality of life offered in the UAE is what makes expats stay longer than intended. Most expats in the UAE (86 per cent) say their overall quality of life is better than their home country and six out of every 10 intend to stay longer for that reason. Only 11 per cent say the pandemic changed their plans of staying in the UAE, it stated.

“The overwhelming sense of optimism from expats in the UAE about the 12 months ahead is reflective of the quick response from authorities to tackle the social and economic impact of the pandemic,” Abdulfattah said.

He added: “The UAE’s clear appeal to entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals, has driven decisions in our own business that will support the recovery. We have committed USD five billion of lending to support strong companies in the UAE to grow globally with our UAE Growth Initiative, and we have invested in our wealth management business, expanding our private bank in the Abu Dhabi Global Market as part of our plan to double our assets under management over the next three years."

Culture and safety

In addition to a better quality of life, 80 per cent of respondents said their children are more aware and open to different cultures and experiences in the UAE.


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The UAE is currently hosting Expo 2020, the festival of internationalism staged in a new city every five years to showcase ideas and innovations that will shape our world, with as many as 25 million visits expected during its six-month run.

“The UAE’s openness to diverse cultures and views is a key attraction for expats looking to make the country their home. Expo 2020, the Arab world’s largest global event with more than 190 countries taking part, is putting this commitment to diversity and openness on the global stage,” Abdulfattah said.

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