Dubai: Dubai remains the top city for expatriates, with its quality of living rated the best in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), according to the latest survey by an international human resources consultancy.
The Mercer 2016 Quality of Living Survey placed Dubai number one in the region and 75th in the global rankings. Abu Dhabi came in close second in Mena and 81st globally.
The survey ranks more than 200 cities around the world based on factors such as medical care, public services, recreational facilities, political and social environment. The survey is intended to help companies determine fair compensation for employees on international assignments.
Dubai bested cities outside the region like Kuala Lumpur, Athens, Cape Town, Istanbul and Bangkok. However, Vienna, Austria topped the overall list.
“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,” said Rob Thissen, consultant on global mobility at Mercer Middle East.
Thissen said Dubai scored highly in terms of the quality of its infrastructure and medical facilities, among a number of indicators.
"Considering the dozens of indicators Mercer uses to assess a city's quality of living for expatriates, there are several where Dubai ranks much better than most locations in the region," noted Thissen.
"Examples are infrastructure, particularly the airport, medical facilities and the availability of high quality housing and schools. In those categories, Dubai scores among the world's best cities, whereas regarding other factors, such as safety and recreation, our assessment is very positive as well," Thissen told Gulf News.
Dubai came first in the region in the previous three surveys.
“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 Thissen.
Dubai’s real estate market, however, has showed signs of slowing down. The city’s annual inflation dropped to 1.9 per cent in January. Residential rents, along with the cost of consumer goods and services, are expected to slow down further this year.
“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,” added Thissen.