According to a global ranking released on Tuesday, Dubai is the second-best city in the world for expats to live and work, and Abu Dhabi is the ninth-best.
Expat City Ranking 2022, which evaluates 50 locations around the world, places two cities in the United Arab Emirates at the top of the Expat Essentials Index, and both also in the top 10 for Quality of Living. InterNations’ annual Expat Insider poll, one of the most comprehensive studies regarding working and living abroad, serves as the basis for this ranking. There were 11,970 foreigners who filled out the poll this year.
Quality of Living, Ease of Settling In, Working Overseas, Personal Finance, and the new Expat Essentials, which encompass digital life, admin topics, housing, and language were all taken into account to determine the final ranking.
Dubai & Abu Dhabi: Best Cities for Expats
Top 10 cities for expats to live in include Valencia, Dubai, Mexico City, Lisbon, Madrid, Bangkok, Basel, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore.
Romans regard Rome as the 41st worst place to live in the world, while foreigners rank Johannesburg as the 50th worst city in the world.
When it comes to expat satisfaction with their jobs and their salary, however, Dubai ranks sixth while Abu Dhabi ranks 27th. Both UAE cities score very well on the Ease of Settling in Index, however they rank poorly on the Personal Finance Index.
Particularly impressive is Dubai’s top ranking in the Admin Issues Subcategory, as 66% of expats find it easy to work with the local bureaucracy/authorities, compared to 40% overall. The fact that 88% of foreigners report being satisfied with the accessibility of administrative/government services online likely plays a role (vs. 61 per cent globally).
An Indian expat says, “The essential things can be taken care of, you do not have to strive for them.”
One further area in which Dubai shines is the Ease of Settling In Index, where it ranks in the top 10 for all three subcategories. Compared to the global average of 56%, expats are more satisfied with their social life in the host country (68% vs. 56%, respectively) (81 per cent vs. 66 per cent globally). The Quality of Life Index (6th) is also positive for expats, and both the Travel & Transit and Leisure Options Subcategories rank Dubai as fifth best.
Eighty percent of expats in Dubai are satisfied with the infrastructure for cars, significantly higher than the global average of 75 percent (vs. 43 per cent globally). As Dubai is ranked fifth for culture and nightlife and third for culinary diversity and eating alternatives, there appear to be many reasons to take advantage of this infrastructure. Expats in Dubai are happy with both their personal and professional lives, ranking the city sixth in the Working Abroad Index.
Fifth in the Work Culture & Satisfaction Subcategory is Dubai, one of the world’s most desirable locations for expats because 70% of them are satisfied with their jobs (compared to 64% globally) and 78% say that the local business culture encourages creativity (vs. 51 per cent globally).
Eighty-two percent of respondents said that moving to Dubai had a positive impact on their professional prospects (vs. 60 per cent globally). One-third or more of foreign workers say they can’t afford a comfortable lifestyle in their host country, despite their high levels of job satisfaction (vs. 28 per cent globally).
Living Their Best Lives Possible?
In terms of the Expat Essentials Index, the nation’s capital ranks second best, behind only Dubai. For example, 74% of expats in Dubai are satisfied with the ease with which they can create a local bank account, compared to 64% of expats worldwide (53 per cent vs. 40 per cent globally).
Seventy-two percent also claim that it is simple for foreigners to find a place to live (vs. 54 per cent globally). While Dubai rates highly (6th) on the Working Abroad Index, Abu Dhabi falls to a more average (15th) position (27th). A majority of expats in Abu Dhabi (75%) believe that moving there has boosted their job chances (compared to 60% globally), yet a sizable minority (31%). (vs. 20 per cent globally). A below-average score on the Personal Finance Index may have something to do with the city’s position in the bottom 10 for expats’ contentment with their financial condition (43rd) (34th).
In terms of the Ease of Settling in Index, expats in Abu Dhabi are very satisfied (12th). Seventy-two percent are of the opinion that the locals are welcoming to foreigners (vs. 65 per cent globally). Once an expat has settled in to Abu Dhabi, they report a high Quality of Life (ranked eighth). As compared to Dubai, which ranked 13th in this area, the city claims first position for both the availability and quality of medical care in the Health & Well-Being Subcategory (1st). Abu Dhabi scores 21st for Recreation Choices, significantly below Dubai’s 5th place, however both cities score quite highly in terms of individual safety (3rd and 2nd, respectively).