Dubai ranks among one of top 6 cities for expats globally

Dubai ranks among one of top 6 cities for expats globally

Post-Covid, inflation-hit world is moving away from old cosmopolitan centres to newer, younger cities with vibrant cultures.

Young professionals on the lookout for adventure and new places to settle down are increasingly gravitating away from Hong Kong and Singapore into new cities. The post-Covid, inflation-hit world is moving away from old cosmopolitan centres to newer, younger cities with vibrant cultures. These hotspots bring with them affordable luxuries and high-paid jobs.


It comes as no surprise that Dubai ranks among the top cities in the world for expats. The combination of a stellar Covid-response and the war in Europe has seen a rise in the influx of expats into the emirate.

Bernd Hanke, Partner of a London-based fund, moved to Dubai during the pandemic to escape rounds of lockdowns and Covid measures in Stuttgart, according to Bloomberg. A growing number of financial professionals are relocating to Dubai, which is bolstering its financial and cryptocurrency markets.

Hanke enjoys waking up to the lush green golf course view from his Emirates Hills accommodation and the warmer temperatures as compared to his home in Stuttgart. The similar time zone to the Europe is a bonus as well, as it allows him to reach the UK-based investors in his $400 million equity fund.

“Dubai handled the pandemic very well and there was almost no lockdown,” said Hanke, 48. “I would quite like to be in Dubai even for the longer run,” he said. “I have to make up my mind on that.”


Bengaluru, or Bangalore as it’s still called by many locals and expats, has become one of the world’s fastest-growing tech hubs, home to thousands of startups and software firms. Venture capital is flowing into the southern Indian city faster than to London or San Francisco by one estimate, surging to $7.2 billion in 2020 from $1.3 billion in 2016, according to media reports.

"I see Bangalore as a burgeoning hub,’’ said Joseph Kim, 49, who left the San Francisco Bay Area last year to set up a gaming studio in the city. “People are increasingly disaffected by Silicon Valley, its politics, the crime and the dismal state of education. People here have a hunger to learn,’’ he said.

Kuala Lumpur

A large English speaking workforce, easy flight connections and relative affordability are among the main reasons for the popularity of Kuala Lumpour for individual professionals as well as businesses. The city ranked first in a worldwide survey of some 12,000 expats by InterNations, scoring top for housing, according to Bloomberg.

“It’s a country at the crossroads of so many civilizations: South-east Asian, Chinese, Middle-Eastern, Indian,” said Caroline Pujo, who moved to Kuala Lumpur after 15 years living in Shanghai. “There is a lot of cultural and language variety, but there’s a real harmony in all that diversity.”

“In Shanghai, everything is so fast,” said Pujo, 47, “I used to work super hard and party super hard. But once I left, I realized it was like being on drugs all the time. Now, things are bit more balanced for me.”

The tropical country’s resort islands and culture are another huge attraction for expats.

“Travelling the islands, swimming in pools, flying around the region. That’s what life is about.”


Lisbon offers expats a combination culture, nightlife and warm weather within easy reach of some of Europe’s most popular beaches. It has been described as “arguably the most popular expat destination in Europe at the moment."

Lisbon's property prices are currently on the rise as wealthy expats buy houses in the city or along the Algarve coast.

“New York got so crazy in the pandemic: the politics, crime rates were escalating all over the country” said Allison Baxley, 39, who moved with her family from the US city to the Portugese cost last August. “My kids were starting in public school and I was worried about the kind of upbringing I was giving them.”

“In New York we rented forever. We could never afford to buy,” she added. “The prices here in Portugal are going up but they’re not astronomical like New York.”

Her family enjoys their new calmer lifestyle, where they can drive into central Lisbon in half an hour or so a few times each month to see friend and absord the culture.

“We just love it over here,” she said. “In New York, you’re working so hard all week long. By the weekend you’re exhausted. Here I’m able to enjoy every single day.”

Mexico City

Mexico City, the oldest capital in the Americas, has been rapidly gaining attention as a centre of entrepreneurs and startups in Latin America.

Mexico also topped the global ranking in InterNations’ 2022 Expat Insider ranking of the best countries to live in. It is home to foreigners from all over the world.

Brian Requarth, CEO of startup-building platform Latitud, moved to the city with his family in July.

“It’s kind of the Beverly Hills of Mexico City,” he said. “It’s quite fancy but it’s very safe.”

The family’s biggest culture shock was the sheer size of the metropolis. When his children visited their new school in Mexico City it was a bit shocking, he said. “It’s massive, twenty times bigger than the school they go to now, and there’s a Starbucks! It feels like a college campus instead of a little neighbourhood school.”

Requarth, 41, sees interest surging in the Latin American tech sector. Startups are beginning to emerge in Mexico City, which benefits from its proximity to the US technology industry.

“There’s an incredible level of talent and ambition in Latin America that didn’t exist before,” Requarth said. “There’s more people thinking of solving bigger problems through technology. I’ll be very productive here.”

Rio De Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbors and has an iconic natural scene. The laid-back vibe and world-famous beaches of Rio continue to hold an allure for foreigners moving to South America’s largest economy.

“I’m amazed how many foreigners I find working here,” said Marie Alasseur, 31, who runs B2B operations at Brazilian real-estate platform Loft.

Alasseur decided in the early months of 2020, just before the pandemic took hold of the world, to try Rio as her new home after Paris.

“I feel at home,” she said. “There’s a European soul here — it’s a Brazilian Paris.”

In accordance with Rio’s easy going vibe, she spends part of her mornings meditating or walking on the beach, and makes time occasionally for pottery classes.

“When you work at a startup there’s no limit to how much you can work,” she said. “I like the balance I have now. I learned to slow down last year and enjoy what I have.”

News Source:  Khaleej Times

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