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Overseas Health Insurance News: UAE overtakes Spain for expat quality of life

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is becoming increasingly popular with the 350,000 Brits who move abroad each year.

While Australia retains the top spot, the NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) Quality of Life report shows just how far perceptions of the UAE have come.

Back in 2010, the country languished in tenth position, but has slowly worked up the rankings in the intervening years, overtaking the likes of Spain and Portugal, to reach third place.

The opinions of 1,800 British expatriates were analysed with regard to lifestyle for the poll, which ranked Canada second.

Some of the biggest draws for moving to the UAE include tax-free salaries, warm weather, good beaches and interesting scenery.

Many expats have a privileged lifestyle in the UAE that they would not be able to sustain if they returned to the UK.

Within the country, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah are the most popular destinations, where jobs in the oil industry, construction, banking and tourism come to the fore.

A spokeswoman for NatWest IPB said that 75 per cent of the expats in the UAE moved there because of career opportunities, but just eight per cent indicated they intended to stay there forever.

Dave Isley, head of NatWest IPB, said: "The most notable shifts in our Quality of Life results this year is the rise of the UAE as an expat destination.

"The once-loved traditional expat communities of France, Spain and Portugal are diminishing, with quality of life drastically reducing for expats living there, making way for newcomers such as UAE and Singapore.

"It seems expats are willing to adjust their lifestyle in exchange for a stronger economy and better job opportunities."

Studies such as these can be useful for those thinking of moving abroad, as they canvas the opinions of those who have already made the decision.

It is a good idea to think about the reasons why traditional favourites are becoming less popular and which factors would have the biggest bearing on a new life in a different country.

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