UAE 'A Challenging Environment for Raising Children': HSBC Survey

UAE 'A Challenging Environment for Raising Children': HSBC Survey
By James Mullan
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In the ranking for "Organizing School for my Children", the UAE lies in 22nd position in HSBC's annual 'Expat Explorer' survey, with Bahrain (4th), Qatar (16th), and Oman (19th) from the region all placing higher.

The HSBC survey provides a comprehensive snapshot of expat life around the globe with more than 5,000 individuals and families participating each year.

The cost of education will be one of the reasons behind this. In the UAE concerned expat parents identify the cost of children's education (86%) and the overall cost of raising children (87%) as being more expensive when compared to the expat parents' home country.

The HSBC survey also finds that just over a third of children relocating to the UAE with their parents have problems with social integration.  The isolation results in children spending greater time playing video games or watching TV than expat children in other countries.

In total 44% of UAE expat children spend more time engaged in these activities than in their home country.

According to HSBC a possible explanation for this may be the temperatures common in the Middle East outside of the winter months. The need to keep children indoors and away from the scorching heat could also be a factor in the increasing likelihood of watching TV and playing video games.

As a consequence of the limited social integration and need to concentrate on indoor activities, expat children in the region are also likely to be missing home, especially in Kuwait (55%), Saudi Arabia (51%), but slightly less so in the UAE (38%).


The economy

Away from childcare the good news is that while the data from this year's report shows that expats across the globe are continuing to feel the economic strain, those in the Middle East remain relatively positive about the state of their local economy.

Expats in Oman (90%), Qatar (89%) and Saudi Arabia (83%) particularly report a much higher satisfaction level with the state of their current economy than expats across the world (59%).

This relative shelter from the economic storm offers wider opportunities and benefits for careers and remuneration. Across the Middle Eastern nations, expats are drawn to the countries for job opportunities, with this being the key driver for expats heading to Qatar (77%), Saudi Arabia (76%), Bahrain (74%) but slightly less so in the more cosmopolitan UAE (65%).

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