GNcareers, from Gulf News

Are these the best places for expats?

Dubai: The UAE is one of the world’s popular destinations for people seeking to work and live abroad,  according to the latest report from InterNations, a network of overseas workers.

As of May 2016, data from 2.1 million individuals working abroad showed that the UAE is home to six per cent of the expatriate population on InterNations, one of the highest in the world.

The United States claims the top spot, hosting eight per cent of the expat community, while seven per cent found their new home in Germany and another six per cent settled in the United Kingdom.

The majority of expatriates, about eight out of ten of them who are living in one of these countries, find themselves generally satisfied with their life abroad.

InterNations is the author of the annual Expat Insider survey that looks into the living situation and happiness of 14,000 expatriates from around the world. In the latest 2015 edition, the UAE is ranked as the 19th top expat destination, beating popular hubs like United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan.

The UAE takes the number one spot in the Middle East, but still lags behind other countries like the Philippines, United States and Switzerland.  According to the survey, the UAE scores highly in terms of making new friends, with 72 per cent of the expatriates saying they “enjoy the general friendliness of the people.” However, only more than a third (38 per cent) consider making friends with the locals easy, while 69 per cent agree that making new friends in general is straightforward.

Almost three in five expatriates in the UAE agree that it is easy to settle down, get used to and feel at home in the local culture (59 per cent, 58 per cent and 57 per cent, respectively).

There’s room for improvement in the area of job satisfaction, however. While the majority (62 per cent) find their career prospects appealing, working hours and work-life balance each earned positive scores from 57 per cent of the respondents, which is still below the global average of 62 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively.

Overall, Ecuador claims the title as the top-rated destination for people seeking to work and live abroad. Expatriates are generally satisfied with the cost of living and personal finance in Ecuador. The country’s quality of life, as well as its leisure options, has also scored positive ratings.

Home to a significant number of Americans, the country has earned the reputation for being easy to settle down in and ranks first when it comes to finding friends and feeling welcome. Its job security, however, has some room for improvement.

Mexico is the second top destination for expats, followed by Malta, Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Thailand, Panama, Canada and Australia.

The Expat Insider survey took into account how expatriates rate the quality of life abroad, including leisure options, personal happiness, safety and well-being; state of personal finance, family life and work-life balance, among others.

Top Expat Destinations 2015

1. Ecuador
2. Mexico
3. Malta
4. Singapore
5. Luxembourg
6. New Zealand
7. Thailand
8. Panama
9. Canada
10. Australia
11. Austria
12. Costa Rica
13. USA
14. Switzerland
15. Poland
16. Germany
17. Bahrain
18. Philippines
19. UAE
20. Portugal

Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter, gulfnews.comGN