Muscat – Muscat has fallen from top 10 to rank 28th out of 82 cities in the Expat City Ranking 2019. However, the capital ranks among the top 10 cities in the Getting Settled Index (4th) for the third year in a row, and even comes first in the world for local friendliness.
Four Asian cities Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore lead the 2019 ranking, followed by Montréal, Lisbon, Barcelona, Zug, The Hague and Basel. On the other hand, expats are unhappiest in Kuwait City (82nd out of 82) as well as in both Italian cities surveyed, Rome (81st) and Milan (80th).
Lagos, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lima, New York City and Yangon also join the bottom ten cities worldwide. In Muscat, 90 per cent of expats feel that people in the city are friendly towards foreigners (vs 64 per cent globally), and 60 per cent find it easy to make new friends (vs 45 per cent globally).
A South African expat said, “Omani hospitality is excellent and all locals have respect for foreigners.” Finally, housing does not seem to be an issue in Muscat (8th): seven in ten (70 per cent) say it is easy to find housing (vs 50 per cent globally), and another 46 per cent agree it is easy to afford (vs 36 per cent globally), according to the survey.
The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, with more than 20,000 respondents in 2019. It is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad. In 2019, 82 cities around the globe were analysed, offering in-depth information about five areas of expat life: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance and Housing and Cost of Living.
In the GCC, Doha (12th) takes the top spot, while Kuwait City (82nd) comes last both within the region and worldwide. Abu Dhabi (15th), Manama (21st), Muscat (28th) and Dubai (34th) rank top to midfield. Barring Kuwait City, the cities are among the top 25 worldwide for getting settled. However, apart from Doha, the lack of a good work life is a prominent weakness for cities in the GCC.
This year’s biggest winner, Doha gains 38 places to become the best GCC city overall, ranking 12th out of the 82 cities. Qatar’s capital has moved rapidly up the ranks, performing best in Finance and Housing (10th), Getting Settled (22nd), and Urban Work Life (25th) Indices. Muscat’s decline is attributed to a fall in its performance in the Finance sub-category (9th in 2018 to 54th in 2019).
‘Just 44 per cent of expats feel their disposable household income is more than they need to cover their daily costs in 2019, compared to 62 per cent in 2018. Moreover, barely half (52 per cent) are happy with their financial situation, compared to 69 per cent in 2018,’ the survey stated.
Muscat also ranks among the world’s worst cities in the Urban Work Life Index (73rd), remaining in the bottom 10 for local career opportunities (80th) for the third year running. A third of expats (33 per cent) is unhappy with their job security (vs 21 per cent globally).
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