UAE, Bahrain and Qatar among top 10 places to live in the world

UAE, Bahrain and Qatar among top 10 places to live in the world

The GCC scores high in HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer study

The UAE has been ranked as the fourth-best country in the world in terms of quality of life and professional opportunities, according to HSBC’s newly released annual Expat Explorer Study.

The country climbed 10 places from its ranking last year based on criteria including “strong optimism among expats”.

The vast majority of expats surveyed in the UAE (82%) feel optimistic that life will be more stable and return to normal in the next 12 months despite the global pandemic. This figure is above the global average of 75%.

Up to 53% of UAE respondents also expect an increase in their income and a better work-life balance

In fact, the top three reasons cited by expats for choosing to move to the UAE are: to improve their earnings (56%), to progress their career (49%) and to improve their quality of life (43%). Most expats in the UAE (86%) say their overall quality of life in the UAE is better than their home country can provide, and six out of every 10 intend to stay longer for this reason. 


Switzerland was ranked as the top destination in the survey, which polled more than 20,000 expats worldwide. Bahrain and Qatar also ranked high at eight and 10 respectively, while the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) was the highest-ranking region for quality of life, with 71% of expats recommending it.

Commenting on the findings, Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC’s UAE CEO, said: “The UAE being billed among the top five places to live and work globally is inspiring and a clear indication of the huge potential that drives this country’s economy.

“The overwhelming sense of optimism from expats in the UAE about the 12 months ahead is reflective of the quick response from authorities to tackle the social and economic impact of the pandemic.

HSBC Expat Explorer Study country ranking 2021

  1. Switzerland
  2. Australia
  3. New Zealand
  4. UAE
  5. Guernsey
  6. Jersey
  7. Isle of Man
  8. Bahrain
  9. Singapore
  10. Qatar

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