Two-thirds of expats would make UAE their permanent home
Quite a lot of expatriates who live in the UAE at the moment – or 65%, almost two out of three – would like to make the hot, almost-rain-free Gulf country “their permanent home”.
This at least was one of the key findings of recent research carried out by Friends Provident International, the Isle of Man-based provider of savings, investment and protection products for, among others, expatriates who happen to live in the UAE.
The research was carried out last November, and was aimed at learning more about the attitudes of expats living in the UAE with respect to their savings and investments, personal goals and lifestyles.
The 565 expat survey respondents came from a cross-section of countries, including the UK as well as India, the UK, South Africa, the Philippines and Australia, according to a summary of the findings.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given the UAE’s reputation as a global centre for commerce, 44% of those surveyed said “earnings potential” was what brought them to reside in the UAE, and a third, or 33%, gave “saving for a business” as a personal financial priority.
Nevertheless, to anyone who has tended to think of expat postings in the UAE as being mainly for short periods, the fact that 58% of survey respondents said they wanted their children to attend university there – rather than in their home country, including the UK or the US – might have been something of a surprise.
Similarly, the idea of potentially retiring in a country that locals routinely leave during the hottest months of the summer, in order to avoid the heat, might seem counter-intuitive to some.
But as FPI chief marketing officer for the Middle East and Africa Philip Cernik points out, stereotypical ideas about the country and its attractions may not fully take into account its livability and charms.
“This insight helps us to better understand the protection, savings and investment habits of expats in the Emirates,” he added.
Cernik admitted, though, that he and his colleagues at FPI “were interested to discover that over half of respondents wish to remain in the country permanently”, however unsurprising the fact that many said they enjoyed their lives there may have been.
“This is a testament to the lifestyle and hospitality of the UAE, and highlights the importance placed on the financial potential that comes with living here.”
The research also found that only a third of respondents have any form of policy with an international life company, which would be more likely to continue to cover them if they return to their home country than a policy from a local company – despite the majority understanding the importance of global coverage for their family.
Additionally, only 13% of those expats surveyed said they possess temporary cover, and a further 13% only said they have whole-of-life cover.