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UAE expatriates among richest in world

September 03, 2010 14:46 IST

UAE flagAbout 20 per cent of United Arab Emirates expatriates earn more than $250,000 (918,100 dirhams) making the country home to some of the wealthiest expatriates in the world, a recent survey has said. Russia received highest ranking overall in the survey, followed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Singapore.

The third annual report found that expatriates, globally were generally upbeat in their assessment of their financial situation, with 66 per cent saying they have more disposable income in their new country.

The Expat Economic survey, part of HSBC's Expat Explorer Survey of 4,100 expats from 100 countries, ranked 25 countries on scores linked to annual income, monthly disposable income, and a measure of defined luxuries. However, last year has been difficult for foreigners in UAE.

Over three quarter (77 per cent) indicating that the economic situation has deteriorated over the past year.

A quarter of expats believe there are reduced career opportunities in UAE.

One in ten of those who thought the economy hadn't improved are actively looking to return home.

Meanwhile, although saving levels amongst expats as a whole have dropped since 2009, 61 per cent of expatriates are still saving more while working abroad and one in five (20 per cent) are able to pay off more debt than when they lived in their country of origin, the report said.

"If you're in business in Dubai, you have best terms and conditions for being successful. There's no VAT on staff, no social benefits.

"So for people setting up business here there are far more chances of success and huge profits than other countries in world. Pakistani and Indian traders are among the wealthiest in Dubai," said Steve Gregory, managing partner of Holborn Assets, a financial advisory firm.

Expats enjoy a luxurious lifestyle in the UAE, including more cars, more exotic holidays, posher and larger properties and domestic help and 94 per cent pay lower taxes than in their country of origin, the report said.

About 79 per cent of expatriates are saving more in the UAE than at home compared to the worldwide average of 61 per cent. However, about 50 per cent of them are spending more in Dubai.

The ability to save has dropped since last year, when 82 percent of expatriates said they were able to save more since relocating, according to the report.

Despite the increased spending and decreased saving ability, 73 per cent say the reason they became expats is driven by career and money prospects.

While the UAE has the fourth wealthiest expats, salary cuts and package trimmings post-recession are not uncommon.

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