Why Oman's economy is ranked first globally for "expat satisfaction"
Oman ranked first in satisfaction with local economy. Participants in the study also ranked countries based on household and disposable income satisfaction (Courtesy of Oman Information Center)
An independent global survey has ranked Oman number one on expat satisfaction with the local economy.
The sixth Expat Explorer survey which covered over 7,000 expatriates in more than 100 countries this year was commissioned by HSBC Expat.
The survey's Expat Economics league table ranked countries in terms of three main factors: Household income, disposable income and satisfaction with host (local) economy, besides giving an overall rank.
While Oman ranked first in satisfaction with local economy, China and Germany were second and third respectively in this criteria.
The ranking of the sultanate in the overall Expat Economics league table was eighth, with the top three slots going to Switzerland, China and Qatar.
The sultanate's ranking in the overall expat experience is 35th. The survey also revealed that expatriate spending on schooling in the Middle East is more than the global average.
Other GCC countries that ranked on overall Expat Economics were Bahrain (11th), Saudi Arabia (15th) and UAE (16th). Switzerland and China were ranked first and second respectively.
However, in the overall expat experience, Bahrain ranked second, UAE 26th, Qatar 29th, Kuwait was 34th, Oman stood at 35th and Saudi Arabia was ranked 37th. Thailand tops the table for quality of life abroad.
'Perhaps it is of little surprise that, when asked why expats choose to move to Thailand, more than two in five (44 per cent) specify they did so to improve their quality of life compared with the global average of less than one-third (29 per cent),' states the survey.
This year, the Expat Explorer survey provides an insight into the biggest risks perceived by expats to their financial wellbeing and confidence. Job security (39 per cent), the condition of the expat's local economy (37 per cent) and shape of the global economy (31 per cent) have been cited as the top three risks to confidence levels, with interesting regional differences across Europe, Middle East and Asia.
The survey revealed how challenging property rights in the Middle East mean that expats are among those least likely (16 per cent) to own a property after relocating compared to other regions (24 per cent). The report also found that Middle Eastern-based expats are most concerned about changes in house prices (36 per cent), citing this to be a top risk to their financial well being and confidence (compared to the worldwide average of 22 per cent).
While expats in Middle Eastern countries spend more on a range of factors (including accommodation, clothing and household goods) childcare and children's education are areas where expats spend more than those in other countries.
The Expat Explorer survey this year reveals that expat parents in the Middle East are among those who are most likely to spend more on their children's education since relocating.
Across the board, over eight in ten parents in the region including Qatar (87 per cent), UAE (80 per cent), Kuwait (80 per cent) and Oman (77 per cent) report higher costs spent on schooling compared with the global average (62 per cent), which is likely due to increased spending on private or international schooling.
Despite these increases, expats in the Middle East benefit from an advantageous tax regime, with expats in Qatar (63 per cent), Saudi Arabia (56 per cent) and UAE (50 per cent) more likely to report lower personal tax rates upon relocation than the global average of 31 per cent.
While expats in the Middle East are usually considered as part of the high earning community, this year's survey reveals that only expats in certain countries such as Bahrain and Qatar are likely to earn more than the average global expat salary of US$64,000 per annum.
The survey reveals that average salaries in the region are around 15 per cent lower at US$56,000 per annum.
|Areas where expats say they are spending more||Global average||UAE||Saudi Arabia||Kuwait||Egypt||Qatar||Oman||Bahrain|
|Accommodation / Housing||54%||67%||53%||63%||15%||63%||50%||60%|
Top five risks to financial well being
Job market/job security: 47%
Changes in house prices: 36%
General state of the
Changes in inflation: 22%
General state of the economy in host country: 20%
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