UAE only ranks FOURTH for best expat countries in the GCC

So which Gulf state takes the top spot?

EDGAR staff October 28, 2014

If you live in the UAE, you probably think you've got a pretty sweet deal, with year-round sunshine, excellent job prospects and a buzzing social scene. However, it may surprise you to hear that the UAE is not the best expat destination in the world, or even in the GCC. In fact, the emirates rank 15th globally according to the Expat Explorer 2014 survey by HSBC, which questioned more than 9,000 expats from over 100 countries about their attitudes towards their host countries, taking into account various factors including economics, experience and raising children.

The top GCC nation and in 5th place globally is Bahrain, with expats there reporting the ease of set up, quality of life and work/life balance as the main factors they enjoy about living in the country. Also coming out above the UAE are Qatar and Oman, ranking in 13th and 14th places respectively. Qatar skyline.

Qatar ranks in 13th place overall. Switzerland has the best score overall, with respondents reporting excellent earning potential as well as a host of sporting opportunities as contributing factors. Singapore, China and Germany make up the rest of the world's top four. But for people in the UAE, the question is why does their adopted country not rank as high as the likes of Bahrain, Qatar and Oman? After taking a detailed look at the survey results, it seems to come down to one main problem: the cost of living. Over half of respondents reported that utilities and household goods cost more than in their home country, while 60 per cent said that rents pose the biggest risk to their financial stability and that they'd even consider leaving the country because of the rising costs.Dubai Marina. Survey respondents reported high rents as a big issue in the UAE. Another issue is the lack of integration with locals, with 64 per cents of expats saying that they tend to only hang out with other expatriates rather than emiratis, stating communicating in Arabic as the main issue. However, it's not all doom and gloom for the UAE, as the country does come out extremely well in terms of career opportunities, with 60 per cent of people saying the job prospects are better than in their home country and higher salaries as well as satisfaction with the local economy proving important. How do you rate the UAE as an expatriate destination? Let us know in the comments below.