UAE 4th on financial quality of life list

Bank survey shows more than 80% expats say not hit by crisis and don’t plan to return home

The financial crisis has failed to dampen spirit of expatriates in the UAE as they believe that their financial quality of life has improved this year compared to last year.

In a survey of 25 countries conducted by HSBC bank showed that the UAE’s ranking improved by one notch in 2010 against last year, placed fourth worldwide in financial quality of life among expatriates.

Majority of respondents are still sanguine about the UAE economy, with more than three quarters claiming that they have not been directly hit by the economic malaise and don’t plan to return home.

The survey is based on four main factors which are annual income in excess of US$200,000; a monthly disposable income in excess of US$3,000; an increase in saving while living / working abroad (in their current country of residence); and having at least two luxury items in the country in which they live.

Emirate is ranked sixth in wealth hotspot, eighth in income and sixth in disposable income and fourth in luxuries worldwide.

Common perks for expats living in the UAE include more cars (63 per cent in UAE against 29 per cent overall); more exotic holidays (57 per cent versus 46 per cent, nicer and larger properties (58 per cent against. 50 per cent) and domestic help (57 per cent against 37 per cent overall).

The survey also found that expats benefit from much lower tax costs, with almost all (94 per cent) of expats based in the UAE paying lower tax than in their country of origin.

Expats in the UAE, as well as earning higher salaries are saving more too, with 79 per cent stating that they saved more since becoming an expat compared to the worldwide average of 61 per cent.

The UAE is ranked above all the major economies - including G7 - such as Singapore, US, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Netherlands. Russia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain surpassed the UAE in expatriate's financial quality survey.

But due to the financial crisis, expats based in the UAE said that the past year has been difficult economically, with 77 per cent indicating that the economic situation has deteriorated over the past year.

The survey found that a quarter of expats think there are reduced career opportunities in the UAE, with one in ten of those who thought the economy hadn’t improved, actively looking to return home.

However, the majority of expats in the UAE remain optimistic; 81 per cent have said that they have not been directly impacted and are therefore not actively looking to return home.

Around 73 per cent of expats mention career/money prospects as the key reason for becoming an expat.

Brazil, Russia, India and China (Bric) countries are emerging as promising expat destinations, with expats based in these countries having fared well over the past year in terms of earnings, career opportunities, improved economic outlook and the ability to save.

Expats were questioned through an online survey from April 26, 2010 to the June 7 2010, with expats from over 100 countries worldwide taking part .


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