Britons take to UAE lifestyle

65,000 Britons have settled in the UAE, lured by the prospect of good jobs and a better lifestyle.
Expatriates gather at the British Embassy in Dubai to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Expatriates gather at the British Embassy in Dubai to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

DUBAI // Good job opportunities and a better lifestyle are among the key reasons the UAE remains one of the most popular destinations for Britons moving abroad.

The Emirates is the 10th most popular country for Britons looking to move abroad, with an estimated 65,000 living here, according to a report published by the UK government.

That figure increases to 120,000 when people claiming British ancestry and those eligible for UK passports are included.

Australia, with approximately 1,062,000 Britons, is No1 on the list followed by the United States with 829,000, Canada 608,000, Spain 447,000, France 398,000, Ireland 289,000, New Zealand 248,000, South Africa 219,000, and Germany, with 97,000, in ninth place.

But most British expatriates do not expect to be in the country long term, with about 40 per cent expecting to stay for up to two years.

"Wanting to live in a different country was the main reason I came to the UAE," said James Wilson, who works in management and moved to Dubai two years ago.

"I had grown fed up of life back home and wanted a change of scenery as much as anything else."

For many others, the decision to move to the Middle East was motivated by work or wanting to follow family members.

"My husband had been working here for about 18 months and we weren't sure how long his contract would be for, but now it's confirmed for a couple of years so we decided I should move out here," said Sally Gorman, who moved to Dubai three months ago.

"I'm really enjoying it out here and I'm glad I made the move. The lifestyle is a lot easier than the UK and the weather is much better."

Dubai has also been growing as a tourist destination for British citizens, with more than one million visiting every year.

According to the Emigration from the UK November 2012 report, published by the Home Office, the majority of people who emigrate do so for work. It found emigration levels tended to be lower during times of high unemployment and economic recession.

"In a time of unemployment, an individual's first priority may be to secure employment at home, and only then when receiving an income will they be able to plan and resource a move abroad."

A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in 2010 found that the British community in the Emirates increased by 20 per cent between 2006 and 2010.

The Home Office report added that 149,000 people left the UK last year with the intention of spending a year abroad. The number of people leaving the UK each year hit a high of 207,000 a year in 2006 but had dropped to 137,000 by 2010.

nhanif@thenational.ae

Published: November 28, 2012 04:00 AM

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