Approximately half of all expatriates say they moved to the UAE without the necessary practical information to make the transition, while a third found the overall relocation experience more challenging than anticipated, according to research released today by Zurich, one of the world’s leading insurance groups.
According to the survey of almost 800 UAE expats conducted by YouGov, 29 per cent of expats found the overall experience of moving to the UAE more difficult than expected. Obtaining a driving license (21 per cent) is cited as the most difficult part of relocation, followed by finding employment (18 per cent), the cost of living (17 per cent) and the weather (12 per cent).
The greatest concern for most people before they move to the UAE is the cost of living (24 per cent) and the ability to find or keep a job (22 per cent). Younger people are most concerned about the cost of living, with 31 per cent of those between the ages of 18-24 year citing this as a worry before they moved to the UAE. For people over the age of 35, continued employment is the greatest concern, with 34 per cent highlighting this as an issue.
A lack of available information appears to account for the anxiety felt by expatriates before moving to the UAE, with almost half of respondents (45 per cent) reporting they had very little or no information about the UAE before they moved. Only one in ten (10 per cent) expats said that they had all the information they needed before relocating.
“Although the majority of people find moving to the UAE straightforward and simple, a third of expats struggle with the experience,” said Maroun Mourad, CEO of Zurich's General Insurance operations in the Middle East.
“Moving to a new country is always a daunting undertaking, and everyone’s experience is different, but it seems that a lack of information increases the anxiety of people relocating to the UAE.”