Gulf State countries are leading the rest of the world in welcoming expats, according to new research.
Out in front is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where 84% of the estimated 9.4 million population are expats.
Next is Qatar, where three-quarters of the 1.8 million population are expats.
Kuwait takes third place, where 60% of the 3.4 million population are expats.
Bahrain follows in fourth with 55% of a population of 1.3 million comprising expats.
The figures come from a study by US independent think-tank Pew Research.
UAE is home to most expats
Researchers say no other country has an expat population even close to the numbers living in these four Gulf States.
The study published by the think tank, Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants examined recent immigration trends around the world.
The statistics revealed that the numbers of expats in the UAE had surged by 500% in the past 23 years and by a massive 6.5 million between 1990 and 2013, leaving the country with an expat community numbering around 7.8 million people.
“This huge leap in numbers is a good indicator that the expat population in the UAE is set to keep on increasing in the years to come,” said a spokesman for Pew Research.
“In the last decade, the number of expats increased by 4.88 million and the trend for more expats moving to the country is speeding up rather than slowing.”
The report also looks at where the expats are coming from.
“Most are from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan,” said the spokesman. “We estimate around 2.85 million UAE expats originate from India, just over a million from Bangladesh and slightly fewer from Pakistan.”
Other large numbers of expat workers go to the UAE from Egypt and The Philippines.
The firm explained the most common reason to move countries is for better wages.
“This is certainly the case with the UAE which has a booming economy and significant financial and lifestyle benefits for incoming workers,” said the spokesman.
The downside of global immigration trends is people in some countries are too poor to emigrate to better their lives.
“Poverty can be so severe in some countries that people cannot scrape the cash together to move to another country,” said the spokesman. “These nations would include Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
“We calculate that less than 3% of the populations in these countries have the resources to escape for a new life overseas.”