Bahrain remains the best place for expatriates to work and live in the Middle East, even as it lost its its title as the world's best destination for expats after falling six places in the latest Expat Insider survey.
Despite Bahrain losing ground in terms of working abroad and family life, expats are still generally happy with both aspects of life abroad. They also keep finding it easy to settle in this country, the survey said.
After topping the InterNations list in 2018 and 2017, Bahrain fell to seventh out of 64 countries analysed, as concerns over working hours and job security weighed.
Bahrain fell 17 places to 18th in the Working Abroad Index while remaining in the top 10 countries for career prospects and job satisfaction.
Expat parents are also slightly less happy, ranking Bahrain 13th out of 36 countries in the Family Life Index (vs. 7th out of 50 countries in 2018). Still, more than nine in ten parents (93%) rate the friendly attitude towards families with children positively (vs. 81% globally), and expats keep having no issues with settling in in their new country (2nd): more than four in five respondents (82%) say it is easy to settle down in Bahrain (vs. 59% globally). They find it easy to make friends (68% vs. 54% globally) and to live in the country without speaking the local language (94% vs. 45% globally).
Kuwait was named the worst country in the survey while Oman ranked 32nd and the UAE 40th.
Respondents cited difficulty in settling into Kuwait and making local friends without speaking the local language as some of the challenges. A lack of leisure activities was cited as another cause for making expats not feel at home.
For Oman, expats ranked the country first for Safety and Security while it also topped the list for Friendliness, with 87 percent saying locals were welcoming.
The UAE was ranked one of the world's worst countries for personal finance (61st), according to expats, 25 percent of whom said they are unhappy with their financial situation while 34 percent feel that their disposable household income is not enough to cover all living expenses.
Expats parents said they also struggle with the high costs in the UAE but the UAE is considered a very safe country for expats and their children, ranking 6th globally.
Taiwan, Vietnam, and Portugal are the best expat destinations: all of them attract expats with their ease of settling in and good personal finances. While expats in Taiwan and Portugal are also extremely satisfied with the quality of life, those in Vietnam appreciate their great work life.
According to the survey, Portugal offers an excellent quality of life (1st worldwide) and a "relaxed lifestyle", as a British expat highlights.
It is one of the world's best countries for leisure options (2nd): more than four in five expats (83%) are happy with the socializing and leisure activities available to them (vs. 65% globally), and almost every expat (95%) rates the climate and weather positively (vs. 61% globally). Moreover, Portugal ranks among the top 5 expat destinations where it is easy to settle in for the third year in a row (4th in 2019).
With over 20,000 respondents, it is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, sharing insights into expat life in 64 destinations. The survey offers in-depth information about expats' satisfaction with the quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, personal finance, cost of living, and family life in their respective country of residence.