Dubai, Abu Dhabi now among top cities for expat relocation: BCG

But fewer people are looking to move abroad due to pandemic

  
Dubai Marina Skyscrapers. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Dubai Marina Skyscrapers. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Dubai and Abu Dhabi have increased their appeal to global talent and are now among the most desirable cities for overseas relocation, ahead of New York, Vancouver, Singapore and Sydney, according to the latest report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The management consultancy’s “Decoding Global Talent” for 2021, culled from the feedback of 209,000 workers in 190 countries, ranked Dubai as the third-most preferred city to move into. The emirate climbed three places from 2018, while Abu Dhabi came in the fifth spot after climbing nine places.

The two UAE cities’ showing in the rankings is reflective of the success of ongoing efforts to position the country as a hotspot for global talent.

The UAE has recently rolled out a series of visa-related initiatives and legal reforms in areas like divorce, inheritance and consumption of alcohol to promote itself as a friendly destination for both foreign workers and investors.

“The United Arab Emirates’ effort to turn its premier cities into desirable work destinations seems to be succeeding,” BCG said in its report.

Moving abroad has been a dream for many. A lot of people associate relocating overseas with better income. They believe it is also an opportunity to explore new culture and experience, as well as meet new people. Back in 2014, BCG’s survey found that two-thirds of workers worldwide said that an expatriate life appealed to them.

In the latest survey, however, fewer people (about 50 percent) are now interested in leaving their country for overseas work, underscoring the fact that the idea has lost some allure.

“The findings reflect several new factors that have penetrated the world’s consciousness and changed the workplace. The factors – fallout from the difficult-to-control pandemic and a sharp rise in nationalism – has altered people’s thinking,” BCG said.

Global rankings

Overall, London retained its crown as the most preferred city for overseas relocation, with Amsterdam in the second place and Berlin in the fourth.

Rounding up the top 10 list are Tokyo (6th place), Singapore (7th), New York (8th) Barcelona (9th) and Sydney (10th).

New York, which used to be the second-most work destination city, fell considerably in the global rankings. This is because the city was initially an epicentre of the global pandemic and its attractions and cultural institutions are still largely shut down, according to BCG’s report.

Another previously popular Western city, Barcelona fell from the fourth position in 2018 to the ninth spot. Last year, Spain was among European countries hit worse by the pandemic.

Expatriates comprise the majority of the UAE population. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is believed that the number of foreigners living in the country has dropped, with Dubai estimated to have seen the steepest drop (8.4 percent) in population last year, according to S&P Global Ratings.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com

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