Qatar is one of the least friendly countries in the world in terms of the expat experience, an extensive new HSBC survey has found.
The tiny desert country, whose population is 85 percent expat, nabbed the dubious 27th spot out of 31 nations ranked in HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey.
The report polls thousands of expats across 100 countries regarding their “ability to befriend locals, success in learning the language, integration into the community and ease of fitting into the local culture,” as well as personal economics, raising children, and overall experience.
Qatar appears to have lost points because it is difficult to mingle with nationals, maintain a healthy diet and survive the scorching summers.
For the past few days, a social media campaign has vigorously attempted to defend the Emirate’s honor, though not everyone found the designation unfair.
Migrant Rights reports:
While some of the ranking criteria have their weaknesses, the polling questions do pinpoint an important aspect of migrant wellbeing: the social integration or marginalization of non-citizens.
Marginalization is the precursor and the enabler of iniquitous labor laws, including the disparate standards of employment safety, maximum working hours, and minimum wage for citizens and migrants (or in the case of domestic workers – hardly any standards at all).
The ‘unfriendly’ designation, while subjective, is consistent with a recent study that found 25% of Emirati migrant workers are clinically depressed.
Qatar’s migrant workers are not much better off, according to the National Human Rights Committee, which reports that 68 percent of laborers said they were unhappy and grossly underpaid.
What do you think about Qatar’s ranking? Keep in mind that it also takes into account the “white-collar” expat experience.