Tax-free salary, health insurance: 5 reasons why Europeans are flocking to UAE

Study last year projected that the Emirates would attract largest number of millionaires in 2022, estimating that 4,000 millionaires would migrate to the nation


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: Reuters file
Photo: Reuters file

Published: Tue 17 Jan 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 17 Jan 2023, 2:11 PM

After Asia and Africa, expatriates from Europe are also relocating to the UAE, attracted by its tax-free income, safety, security and its free health insurance, with the allure of jobs also among others.

According to immigration and human resources consultants, Europeans are looking to relocate to other countries due to high inflation, the energy crisis, and the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war on the European economy.

It was further revealed that most people from the UK and European countries are professionals who are flocking to the Emirates for greener pastures.

According to Aaron Portero, managing director of Connect Group, the top five European countries from where people are moving to UAE are the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

Aaron Portero
Aaron Portero

“Between high inflation, flagging growth and an energy crisis, Europe isn’t in the best shape. We are receiving a record number of visa applications to work in the UAE, mostly coming from Europe. In 2022, we issued 17 per cent of visas to clients from European countries. Companies are looking to move their headquarters to the Middle East for better tax benefits. Skilled personnel are leaving – particularly from the IT sector – and people, in general, are seeking a better work-life balance,” he said.

Inflation has been a major issue of late for Europe, averaging around 10 per cent in November 2022.

Other factors responsible for expats moving from Europe to the UAE are the pull of tax-free income and the energy crisis. “Also, due to the impact the Ukrainian war has had on the economy, people are now looking to relocate their families to a more stable country that is not impacted by the war.”

A study by Henley Global Citizens Report last year projected that the UAE would attract the largest number of millionaires in 2022. It was estimated that 4,000 millionaires would migrate to the UAE in 2022.

“The UAE has become the focus of intense interest among affluent investors and is expected to see the highest net influx of millionaires globally in 2022,” the report said.

The UAE has also become a magnet for high-net-worth individuals after the successful handling of the pandemic. This was reflected in Dubai’s latest population data which showed the number of residents living in the emirate crossing 3.55 million by the end of 2022.

65% are professionals

Imran Farooq, CEO, Samana Group, says Dubai has long been an attractive destination for European visitors.

Imran Farooq
Imran Farooq

“When they experience it, they fall in love with the city due to the metropolitan’s attractive lifestyle options, year-round sunshine, tax-free salary and free health insurance with jobs. The [far sunnier] Dubai is another pull for European expats, especially those from the UK. In addition to lifestyle options, Dubai is attracting Britons and British expats who are moving away from UK’s rising taxes and it's inflation rate of around 10 per cent,” said the chief executive of Samana Group.

Aaron Portero suggested that the proportion of professionals versus investors moving to the UAE from European countries would be 65:35.

“While we do see a lot of professionals moving to the UAE, with the UAE government amending the federal Commercial Companies Law, we are also witnessing investors relocating with their families to open their own businesses,” he added.


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