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ANALYSIS

Sixty-eight per cent of expats in Saudi Arabia
are overall satisfied with their financial situation.

Saudi among states with lowest cost of living for expats

MUNICH, March 23, 2016

Saudi Arabia ranks ninth in the world  for the countries with the lowest cost of living for expatriates, a report said.

Sixty-eight per cent of expats in Saudi Arabia are overall satisfied with their financial situation, and 85 per cent feel that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to get by, explained the annual Expat Insider survey from largest global network and information site for people who live and work abroad.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that financial reasons are the main motivation for relocating to Saudi Arabia (26 per cent), followed by finding a job on one’s own (25 per cent) and being recruited by a local company (10 per cent).

First-placed Ecuador is not only the cheapest, but also the most popular destination for expats around the world. Following closely in second and third position are the Central European countries Poland and Czech Republic, which are especially popular among expatriates from the UK and the US.

Moving abroad: Not only for the wealthy

In order to find the cheapest destinations for expats, InterNations asked more than 14,000 expats from almost 200 countries to rate the cost of living in their new home. They rated their daily spending on a scale from one to seven, which is from “very bad” to very good”.

Foreigners rated Ecuador, Poland and the Czech Republic as the countries with the lowest cost of living. Ecuador was also ranked first for personal finances for the second year in a row: Not only are the costs of living considered the lowest in the world, but more than a quarter of expats in Ecuador (26 per cent) are completely satisfied with their financial situation, compared to 15 per cent globally.

The reason why expatriates in Ecuador are especially happy with their financial gains is not on account of their income though: More than half of the survey respondents there who disclosed their income status have a gross yearly household income of less than $25,000.

Second-placed Poland on the other hand, scores with affordable housing and great job and career opportunities, ranking fourth and sixth in the respective category, out of 64 countries overall.

The Czech Republic, however, is not a destination for career-oriented expats — instead, it is perfect for those who are looking for a better quality of living. In the Quality of Life Index, it ranks in place eight. And just like Poland, the country offers very good housing opportunities for expats, ranking sixth with regard to affordable housing.

Where cost of living is the highest

On the other end of the spectrum, expats encountered the highest living costs in Mozambique, Nigeria and Brazil. Mozambique and Nigeria also rank in the top five for the most expensive housing around the world.

Hashim Zein, an American engineer for OLG in Nigeria and the local representative for InterNations, explained: “The neighbourhoods where expats live are usually more secure and more premium, thus the costs directly reflect this. Food items typical of Western, South Asian and Far East cuisines, for example, are imported and naturally cost more as they differ somewhat from local tastes”.

Despite the high cost of living, expats in these countries generally feel that they have enough disposable income. Among those survey respondents in Nigeria who chose to share information on their household income, 12 per cent of expats in Nigeria have an annual income of more than $250,000.

Those who moved to Nigeria for job-related reasons were also reimbursed their relocation costs (38 per cent) or receive free or sponsored healthcare from their employer (53 per cent). An astounding 85 per cent of expats in Nigeria also report that their company provided them with housing, with 44 per cent in Mozambique and 38 per cent in Brazil saying the same.

“Housing is often included in expat remuneration packages and the higher risk pay expats enjoy in Nigeria means more expandable income in spite of the high living costs,” Zein noted.- TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Expatriates | cost of living |

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