Dubai is voted best place to live by expats

Gulf ex pats rate the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as one of the best places to live and work – with 81% telling a recruitment firm survey that they did not want to leave.

Dubai headed the UAE hotspots as the city identified by more than a third of ex pats (37%) in the region as the place they aspired to live.

Recruiters Gulf Talent queried 35,000 professionals in the Middle East for their annual report on ex pat life.

The findings revealed although the UAE suffered in the wake of the credit crisis and recession, “a rebound in business confidence, declining rents and the country’s high level of political stability” is attracting ex pats.

However, Saudi Arabia headed the league for job creation, with almost two thirds of firms taking on extra staff.

Oil, gas, health care and retail were the largest recruiters across the region, but construction, banking and finance are still struggling to make up ground lost in the economic downturn of recent years.

Nevertheless, most economies saw a revival.

The highest salaries were paid in Oman, while those in the UAE and Bahrain increased the most, mainly due to inflation.

Employers found recruiting from the US and Europe was tougher as workers feared the region was politically unstable and were concerned about personal safety following the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Libya. Closer unrest in Bahrain also affected recruitment prospects.

This was balanced by more international workers, especially from Asia, filling posts.

Meanwhile, Dubai has put plans to charge expats housing fees on hold as talks with utility companies delay collecting the monthly charge.

Around two thirds of expats are paying the charge as part of monthly utility bills.

The housing fee is calculated as 5% of annual rent for tenants or 5% of the property’s annual rental value.