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Expat finances thrive in the Middle East

Countries in the Middle East are amongst top destinations for expats to earn and save money. Since the commodity price crash in the region, confidence in the local economy has dropped slightly with 52% saying they are confident compared to 57% last year. There has also been a modest reduction in the average disposable income of expats in the Middle East this year, from 67% to 63%.

5 2 %

52% of expats in the Middle East say they are confident in the local economy

Economic challenges

In 2016, the two Middle Eastern countries in the Expat Economics top 10 are the UAE in fifth place and Qatar at number eight. In 2015 there were five countries: the UAE at number four, Qatar at five, Saudi Arabia at seven, Bahrain at eight and Oman at nine.

Expat finances remain strong

Despite the challenges, however, all six Middle Eastern countries remain among the top places in the world for expats to both enjoy more disposable income and have the ability to save more. Nearly two thirds of expats in Qatar (73%) say they have more disposable income as a result of moving, as do 65% in Bahrain and 62% in the UAE, compared with 56% globally.

Over three quarters (77%) of expats in Saudi Arabia also say moving has helped them to save, alongside 70% in Oman and 65% in Bahrain, compared with 53% worldwide. Some countries in the region are also among the top places to earn more than back home, with 69% in Qatar saying this, 66% in the UAE, and 59% in Bahrain.

Work/life balance

Job security in the region has improved, with 36% saying it’s better than at home this year compared to 30% in 2015. Likewise, work/life balance has improved in these countries, with 53% of expats saying it is better than at home compared to 46% last year.

In total, 76% of expats in these countries say the work/life balance is either better than or as good as at home, reinforcing the fact that having better personal finances does not necessarily come at the expense of a social life.

7 6 %

76% of expats in the Middle East say the work/life balance is either better than or as good as at home

The 2016 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 26,871 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2016. League tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents including at least 30 expat parents is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

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