The United Arab Emirates represents one of the most popular worldwide destinations for expats. These days the native Emiratis are finding themselves considerably outnumbered by expats, who make up over 90% of the estimated 9.4 million population.
That the UAE is popular among travellers cannot be denied. However with the dry, desert environment and soaring summer temperatures, the question is really what is drawing expats here in such numbers?
Zero Income Tax
It’s no secret that the Emirate’s natural riches; namely oil in all its various forms, has created vast wealth within the country. So much, in fact, that the government feels no need to tax salaries. Depending on what tax you pay in your current country of residence, just imagine what a difference a tax-free income could make to your finances.
For many Brits, for example, this tax-free status could mean the equivalent of a 20% pay raise; something that could make a significant difference to most people’s bank account.
It’s not just that the UAE charges no tax on income; the income itself tends to be rather generous too. And combining a high initial salary with a tax-free regime means that the vast majority of expats in the UAE find themselves considerably better off than they would be in their home country.
According to statistics from HSBC, 70% of expats in the UAE say they earn more than they did in their home country. Contrast that with the global average of 53% and it’s clear just how positive this aspect of life here really is.
All this money and industry creates a wealth of opportunities for workers and investors. Everywhere you look new buildings are going up, new businesses are starting up and all of these require experienced staff to build and manage them.
For those from countries where unemployment rates are high, a move to the United Arab Emirates can therefore represent far better odds of landing a suitable job. One that pays well too.
Another highly rated factor in the UAE is just how safe expats feel here. Crime rates are incredibly low thanks, at least in part, to the stern penalties offered up to law breakers. The research suggests that 72% of the expats surveyed feel that their children are safer in the UAE than in their home country.
Liberal, Open-Minded Society
The one weakness sometimes levelled at the Middle East is the culture shock that many Westerners feel on arrival. However expats in the UAE report that this clash is significantly less than it is for other Middle Eastern neighbours. Generally speaking the United Arab Emirates are more relaxed and liberal than other countries in the region which makes it far more welcoming to Western ideals.