British Expats Relocate to UAE for High Quality of Life and Investment Opportunities

British Expats Relocate to UAE for High Quality of Life and Investment Opportunities

A recent study conducted by Lombard Odier, a global wealth and asset management firm, reveals that high quality of life and attractive investment opportunities are the primary drivers for British expatriates relocating to the UAE. The survey, which focuses on the needs, goals, and experiences of high-net-worth (HNW) expatriates living in the region, indicates that over 40 percent of Western expatriates are drawn to the UAE for these reasons.

Key Findings:

  1. Quality of Life and Investment Opportunities: The allure of a superior lifestyle and robust investment prospects are the leading factors for British expats moving to the UAE. The country’s strong regulatory and legal frameworks further enhance its appeal, particularly for younger HNWs looking to start businesses.
  2. Permanent Settlement: A quarter of expats expressed a desire to settle in the UAE permanently, a figure that rises to 49 percent among those aged 51 and above. This trend underscores the region’s attractiveness as a long-term residence for older expatriates.
  3. Business and Legal Framework: Younger HNWs are particularly motivated by the UAE’s business-friendly environment, with 29 percent citing the regulatory framework and 25 percent the potential for start-ups as significant draws.
  4. Wealth Management Challenges: Despite the attractive prospects, expats face challenges in transferring wealth across borders, finding suitable wealth managers, and navigating language barriers and cultural differences. These issues are especially pronounced among younger expats aged 18-34.
  5. Tax and Estate Planning: The study highlights a gap in expats’ knowledge regarding tax implications and estate planning, with only 27 percent feeling very familiar with the tax implications of holding wealth assets outside the UAE. Additionally, 61 percent have yet to make tax or estate planning arrangements for their children abroad.
  6. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investments: There is a growing interest in ESG investments within the expat community. Plans to increase sustainable allocations from 14 percent to 20 percent over the next five years reflect a commitment to sustainable investing. The desire to purchase property in the UAE further suggests that sustainable real estate investments are gaining traction.

Expert Insights:

Amer Malik, Head of Middle East International at Lombard Odier Group, emphasized the importance of tailored private banking services for expats. “In the dynamic wealth management landscape of the UAE, the growing HNW expatriate community increasingly seeks sophisticated and trusted advisors. These advisors are crucial for helping expats navigate the complexities of wealth preservation, international wealth transfer, taxation, and regulatory implications,” he said.

The study underscores the need for personalized banking services that not only address the financial needs of expats but also help them acclimatize to the UAE’s regulatory and cultural environment. This approach ensures that expatriates can make informed decisions about their investments and lifestyle in the region.


The UAE continues to attract British expatriates with its high quality of life and promising investment opportunities. While challenges remain, particularly in wealth management and tax planning, the demand for specialized financial services and sustainable investment options is on the rise. As the expat community grows, so does the need for trusted banking partners to guide them through the intricacies of their new environment.


Source: Khaleej Times