Bahrain is the number one place to live and work in the world, according to expats surveyed for a study analyzing the top destinations for quality of life. The Kingdom was given high marks by expats as a place to work and raise a family and for making foreigners feel welcome, an international survey said. Nearly nine in 10 expats (87 per cent) said they are happy with their lives in Bahrain, a country that offers them everything they need, Expat Insider 2017 Survey Report said.
The annual study by InterNations, now in its fourth year, polled 12,500 respondents from 166 nationalities. The final ranking is based on how countries were rated by expat residents with factors analyzed including the cost of living, safety and security, family life, personal finances and working abroad.
Expats in Bahrain described the country as a “beautiful melting pot of many different cultures,” and local Bahrainis as friendly and welcoming to foreigners. Because most speak English, respondents said it was easy to settle in, with a quarter of respondents saying they felt at home right away — particularly noteworthy given that a third of these expats had never lived abroad before.
Bahrain also ranked highly in subcategories like job and career, work life balance, along with family life. Meanwhile, expats in Costa Rica and Mexico reported high levels of satisfaction with their new homes as well, putting their host countries in second and third places respectively.
The UAE fared well for safety and security, just missing out on a top five spot overall. It was also one of the ranking’s biggest movers, shifting up 14 positions from its 2016 position of 40th overall.
However, while the Emirates was among the top 10 nations for expats earning more than they would in similar positions back home, when it came to the cost of living and personal finances, it fared less favorably. According to the report, 65 per cent of UAE expats aren’t happy with schooling costs.
The report also noted a key attraction for relocating to the Gulf states was the “non-existent tax rates”.
However this is set to change in the coming months with the roll out of VAT in January 2018 in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and excise duties in the UAE in the fourth quarter . Saudi Arabia introduced excise taxes in June, the first Gulf country to do so. Other Gulf countries will follow with VAT and excise duties at a later date.
“Financially, the average UAE and Bahrain expat are very different,” said David Daly, Partner at Argent Gulf Consulting. This reflects the UAE’s status as a destination and Bahrain’s as a contemporary working environment.
“VAT will always have a larger impact on those domiciled in destination environments. With Bahrain more family orientated, the big ticket items of education and residential contracts will be, respectively zero rated and exempt from VAT, whereas the UAE is a more consumptive environment and a destination location, therefore for residents here VAT will be a larger part of their lives. On that measure Bahrain should continue to retain the top GCC position in the future.”
Elsewhere, the United Kingdom and United States’ reputations as good expat locations were under threat, according to the poll. The UK ranks 54, down 21 places from last year’s survey, after its June 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Before the referendum, 77 per cent of expats in the UK had a favourable opinion of the nation’s political stability—down to 47 per cent this year.
The US also seems to have lost some luster after a year of political volatility, said Malte Zeeck, a founder and co-chief executive officer of Inter Nations. Just 36 per cent of expats have a positive opinion of America’s political stability, down from 68 per cent in last year’s survey.
The country expats considered the worst to work and live in is Greece, which is weighed down by the country’s economic problems.
Here are the top 10 expat destinations of 2017, according to Inter Nations:
2. Costa Rica
6. New Zealand
At the bottom of the list are Greece, Kuwait and Nigeria.
Article Source – https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/bahrain-tops-best-expat-country-in-the-world-to-live-survey-1.626406