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Bahrain beats UAE to be named top MidEast expat destination

08/30/2015, 07:30PM
From Primedia International

Bahrain has been named the top expat destination in the Middle East, according to the InterNations Expat Insider 2015 survey.

Bahrain was ranked the 17th most popular destination for expats in the world, ahead of the UAE in 19th and Oman in 24th out of a total of 64 countries analysed.

Other Gulf countries did not fare so well with Kuwait ranked bottom of the global list with Qatar placed 54th and Saudi Arabia 61st.

Globally, Ecuador topped the list of the best places to live abroad in the survey, which polled more than 14,000 respondents, followed by Mexico and Malta.

Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Thailand, Panama, Canada, and Australia were also included in the top 10 expat destinations.

Although the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar did not rank among the top countries for expats, they did surprisingly rank better with women than with men, the survey showed.

The survey said the UAE ranked 13th for women, beating the likes of the US, Switzerland and all Scandinavian countries while only ranking 28th for men.

Reasons include that men are twice as likely to consider the cost of living to be very bad (10 versus 5 percent) while women said they find it easier to settle in and are more satisfied with their career prospects.

In a region often criticised for its treatment of women, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also regarded more favourably by women than by men, the survey said.

However, the survey added that despite this, all three countries host more male than female expats, with Saudi Arabia being the most extreme — only about one in four expats there is a woman.

The survey also showed that working hours for expats in Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are longer than the global average of 42 hours a week.

Expats work considerably longer in these three countries with 46.3 hours in Qatar, followed by the UAE with 45.6 hours and Saudi Arabia with 44.8 hours. Qatar also does noticeably worse than Saudi Arabia and the UAE in regard to its cost of living, ranking 46th out of 64 countries.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is found among the top 10 countries for cost of living while the affordability of housing in the UAE is considered especially problematic with only 24 percent giving it a favourable rating.

The InterNations Expat Insider 2015 survey ranks countries by different factors such as the quality of life, personal finance, working abroad and making friends.