UAE is magnet for skilled migrant workers

Expatriates say the high earning potential and the multicultural environment are the biggest draws of the UAE, but the cost of living is a concern for many.
Lina Shaghlel feels she has grown as the UAE has grown. Delores Johnson / The National
Lina Shaghlel feels she has grown as the UAE has grown. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // Expatriates say the high earning potential and the multicultural environment are the biggest draws of the UAE, but the cost of living is a concern for many.

Almost half of the respondents to the survey say they came for job opportunities.

This is by far the case for westerners (61 per cent) and for residents of Abu Dhabi (56 per cent).

Of those polled, 23 per cent indicated a “better future” as the main reason to come to the country.

Others feel the safety and security of the UAE, the county’s stability and the tax-free lifestyle were the main reasons to move here.

“This country is very peaceful and the leadership is excellent,” says Catherine Miflore, 34, a Filipino expatriate who has lived in Abu Dhabi for five years.

“We are looking forward to seeing more job opportunities for us in the future. I have learnt so much in the last few years about this country.”

Lina Shaghlel, 20, has Syrian roots and was born and raised in the UAE.

The student, who lives in Ajman and studies in Al Ain, says: “I think the UAE is perfect and it’s so safe.

“When I was growing up, this place was so different. I feel I have really seen it change.”

Residents say the UAE’s skyline is what they find most remarkable about the country, but almost half (47 per cent) dislike the high cost of living.

More than half of Asian expats – 51 per cent – say it is an expensive place to live.

“Cliched as it may sound, the UAE truly is the United Nations of the world,” says Jamal Iqbal, 35, a creative director who lives in Dubai.

“Where else can you enter a cafe and dine with dozens of people from all over the world, make friends with them and live lives among them?” he says.

“One feels at home and is welcomed.”

The Indian expatriate has lived in the UAE for six years.

“The fact that I have now seen this country grow six years older makes me feel proud each National Day,” he says.

“National Day allows Emiratis to tell the expats a little about the pride they have in their country and why.

“I love the warmth of the people in the UAE, the opportunities to live a wonderful life and the fact that corruption and crime are killed.”

jbell@thenational.ae

arizvi2@thenational.ae

Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM

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