The number of expats in the overall population of the emirates has been rising and is underpinned by all that the country offers, from a unique lifestyle experience in a multicultural environment, tax-free salaries, and the sunshine.
There are myriad reasons why expats, including Filipinos, decide to make the UAE their home. Expat life in the UAE is linked to a visa provided by an employer, or an economic zone authority for a business setup.
Better opportunities than those offered to skilled professionals in their home countries, or even the location of the UAE at the center of the East and the West, enables many multinationals to service the entire Middle East and Africa from a base in the UAE, creating jobs for different categories of workers.
For three consecutive years, Internations, a global network for expatriates, has been conducting a survey that sought to understand what push expats to relocate, how they deal with daily life as an expatriate, and if they are, by far, meeting their expectations.
The survey, which was conducted in 2014 and published in 2015, gathered insights from 14,400 respondents from 170 countries, who talked about the ways of living as expats in 64 countries.
The results of the survey may serve as a guideline for expatriates and specifically those who plan to relocate to other countries.
Here’s an overview of the top five reason, besides the three perennial favorites, according to the report.
Reason No. 1: Job opportunities
The UAE’s growing economy has created opportunities for people with different skill sets. This often leads to recruitment firms casting their net wider to find the right candidates for a job. For some expats living in the UAE, their life in this country began with an unexpected phone call or e-mail for a job.
Reason No. 2: Following a loved one
For a lot of couples, living in the UAE begins with their spouse getting a job here and deciding to move. Trailing spouses either follow immediately or after an initial settling in period is over.
Reason No. 3: Retirement haven
The retirement age for expats is 60 years, although the Ministry of Labor accepts requests for work permits for people above that age, up to 65 years. For retirees to continue residing in the country, their visa has to be sponsored by a legal entity, as a partner if they become a partner in any legal entity incorporated in the UAE. For business owners, this country can become a relaxed retirement option with safer environs and access to medical facilities.
Reason No. 4: New life
The UAE is a great place to start afresh, whether for those looking to move away after a personal tragedy, or those who simply need a new and exciting life. The multi-cultural society, and ease of travel to Europe, Africa and Asia make it a smooth transition for newcomers. The diversity of diaspora from the region as well as from Asia and Europe makes it possible to make new friends and settle into the rhythm of life in the UAE quickly.
Reason No. 5: The big blue sky
Finally, there are those, especially the native inhabitants of very cold countries, who can’t seem to get enough of the sun. These beach bums love the easy access to the UAE’s beautiful coastline and all the fun it offers. With the country playing host to several international artistes and music gigs as well, the party here runs all year round.
THE OLD FAVORITES
Novelty, lifestyle, and money have always been the top draw for expats coming to the UAE. Whatever their other reasons are, one of these is bound to figure on the list.
1 Traveling the world
For individuals and families that enjoy adventure and the benefits of an itinerant life, moving to the UAE offers them a window to the region and beyond. The multicultural environment, offering exposure to so many languages, food, festivals and more, make the UAE lifestyle unique. Coupled with the opportunities of a modern economy, those who prefer a change of scene every five years or so have found enough reasons to be here.
2 Cost and standard of living
The standard of living and potential to save money bring many benefits for expats coming from countries where comparable goods and services are more expensive. Also, the standard of living in terms of the amenities offered in residential communities, cars and public transport, and leisure spaces are factors pulling people here.
3 Tax-free income
The unique selling proposition of the UAE – and other countries in the GCC –have long been the tax-free income. While the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on certain items is due to begin from January 2018, the overall benefits of a tax-free income continue to attract expats to the emirates. Whether joining a multinational or setting up a business, the tax-free status helps individuals make and save more than they could in their home countries or other global cities.