And it wasn’t even close…

Why might people want to move to Dubai?

I mean aside from the fact it’s a city that deliberately and expertly caters to every conceivable outsourcable whim; the inspiring spires of towering skycrapers; the safety and low crime rate; the year-round sunshine; the beaches and five-star hotels; the Michelin-Starred dining circuit and explosion of the homegrown cuisine scene; the wild nightlife; the culture; the world-class events, concerts, comedy gigs, music festivals, entertainment shows and sporting tournaments; the theme parks and engaging family activities; the great outdoors, nature, desert adventures, cycle tracks, alfresco exercise hubs, the hills of Hatta and desert stargazing; the lack of tax and support of the entrepreneurial spirit; the fast cars and exotic beach clubs; its central geographical location; tolerance and multiculturalism; record-breaking malls; quaint courtyards; employment opportunities and career mobility; education; reverence of the past and vision for the future; the ambition and continual commitment to creating a better and more sustainable quality of life for all residents; and the world-envied handling of the pandemic.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that Dubai topped a recent analytical survey for “The Most Popular Cities for Moving Abroad”, carried out by Remitly.

And it didn’t just top the table, it absolutely sped away with the prize, with its foot down in the fast lane of the Sheikh Zayed Road.

How is the ranking calculated?

The survey attributed desirability levels to destinations by looking at Google searches within a sample set of 164 countries worldwide.

Analysing searches inside these 164 countries, the team at Remitly looked at which destinations (countries and cities) appeared most in users typing the query ‘move to [city]’.

For example, when they looked at the searches coming out of Australia using the term “move to…” the number one location, people living in Australia searched for was Dubai. The inhabitants of the UK were the same, the most searched for “move to” city was Dubai. India, the USA, Sweden, Italy, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Suriname – as well as many, many others – all eyed Dubai as their number global hot spot for a potential move.

It was a landslide too. Out of the 164 for countries where data was taken from, 60 of them (around one-third) implied Dubai, was their expat jaunt of choice. The next highest was Miami, with 12 countries selecting them.

Shifting trends

Global migration has been a steadily increasing trend over the last few decades, Remitly sites the World Migration Report which records “an estimated 281 million people live in a country other than their country of birth as of 2020 — 128 million more than in 1990, and the equivalent of 3.6% of the global population”.

We reported earlier in the year on the fact that the population of Dubai increased by a count of more than 50,000 in just the first six months of 2023.

If you’d like to see which countries picked which cities, there’s a map detailing the migrant wonderlusting below.

But where do people currently leaving in the UAE fancy moving to?

Singapore, apparently. And it makes sense – hot climate, great job opportunities and well-connected for international travel. But, residents with itchy feet remember – there’s also dramatically less shawarma.

Images: Remitly/Getty