Muscat is ranked 17th out of 57 in the Expat City Ranking 2021, receiving excellent results in the Getting Settled Index (fifth). The city ranks first worldwide for both the general friendliness of its local residents (88 per cent happy vs 69 per cent globally) and friendliness towards foreign residents in particular (85 per cent vs 67 per cent globally).
Five cities in the GCC states are featured in the ranking by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with over 4mn members. Dubai ranks third, followed by Doha (15th), Abu Dhabi (16th), Muscat (17th) and Riyadh (44th).
All cities have an average to poor performance in the Urban Work Life Index, but each has its own highlights to offer. Dubai and Muscat rank among the top ten worldwide for the ease of getting settled, while expats in Dubai and Abu Dhabi point out the high quality of life. However, Muscat, Riyadh and Doha outperform them in the Finances & Housing Index.
Kuala Lumpur (first), Málaga, Dubai, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Prague, Mexico City, Basel and Madrid (tenth) are the top ten cities for expats to live in 2021.
The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, which is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, with 12,420 respondents in 2021. This year, 57 cities around the globe are analysed in the survey, which offers in-depth information about five areas of expat life: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance
& Housing, and Local Cost of Living.
Easy to get settled, find affordable housing
“The local people are so kind and friendly,” said an expat from India in the survey. It is hardly a surprise that 73 per cent of expats feel at home in Muscat (vs 65 per cent globally), while 69 per cent find it easy to get used to the local culture (vs 65 per cent globally).
Muscat’s top ten rank in the Finance & Housing Index (seventh) is mainly due to the Housing Subcategory (fourth). In fact, 80 per cent of expats face no difficulty finding housing in Muscat (vs 60 per cent globally), and 48 per cent consider it affordable (vs 42 per cent globally).
But the city performs below the global average in the Finance Subcategory (37th): 54 per cent are happy with their financial situation (vs 64 per cent globally).
Another 29 per cent said that their disposable household income is not enough to cover expenses (vs 23 per cent globally) – even though Muscat ranks 15th in the Local Cost of Living Index, with 53 per cent rating this aspect positively (vs 48 per cent globally).
With a below-average result in the Quality of Urban Living Index (44th), Muscat is rated poorly for its public transportation system (41 per cent unhappy vs 20 per cent globally) and the quality of medical care (22 per cent vs 14 per cent globally).
On the upside, 95 per cent of expats feel safe in Muscat (vs 84 per cent globally). Lastly, the city does poorly in the Urban Work Life Index (47th). Expats are particularly unhappy with their job security (33 per cent vs 20 per cent globally) and local career opportunities (47 per cent vs 33 per cent globally). In fact, Muscat ranks second to last worldwide for the latter, only ahead of Rome (57th).