Mercer ME 2016 Quality of Living Survey Ranks Dubai as Best City for Expats in Middle East and Africa

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Dubai - MENA Herald: For the fourth time in a row, Dubai has been ranked as the top Middle Eastern city for expatriate living, according to ‘Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living Survey’. The international human resources consultancy has just released its annual global Quality of Living report, which sees the city placed 75th in the global rankings and number one in the Middle East and Africa region, while its neighboring Emirate of Abu Dhabi came in a close second, ranking 81st.

“Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices,” said Rob Thissen, Consultant on Global Mobility at Mercer ME. “After a few years of sharp increase, Dubai’s residential market is showing signs of slowing down. The delivery of a significant number of new units added pressure to the residential market. Prices are expected to continue falling as the additional residential units will be ready for occupancy this year,” he added.

Mercer’s authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, taking into account factors such as the city’s political and social environment, medical care and health considerations, public services, recreation facilities and natural environment, amongst others. The report is compiled by the company to assist multinational companies compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

The report provides valuable information and hardship premium recommendations for over 440 cities throughout the world, with the ranking covering 230 of these, covering 211 cities across five continents based on criteria such as safety, economic transparency and growth.

“Dubai and Abu Dhabi remain extremely popular destinations among expatriates around the world, to the point that less and less multinationals are actually paying hardship premiums to motivate their employees to move here,” Rob Thissen added. “The rapid increase in the population comes with its challenges though - such as a worsening air quality – which was recognized in our scoring this year. On the other hand, many employees moving to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or the Levant would expect a serious increase in pay, partly to compensate for a decrease in quality of living.” Dubai and Abu Dhabi rank at the top of the list for quality of life in the GCC, as Muscat, Oman listed 107th followed by Doha, Qatar in 110th place. Similarly, Kuwait City came in 124th, closely followed by Saudi cities like Riyadh and Jeddah ranking at 164th and 165th places respectively.

Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed. For more information on city rankings, visit

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