A survey conducted by Xpress Money in 2016 was a revelation into how much of a home the UAE is to millions of migrants. On the occasion of the 47th UAE National Day it is interesting to revisit few of the survey findings and realise that 86% migrants proudly referred to the UAE as their home. Interestingly for every 2nd generation migrant born and brought up in the country, the UAE is their home. The country deserves to be applauded for laying a strong foundation upon which the social cohesion of its multi-cultural society thrives. Geographically, the UAE occupies an area of 83,600 square kilometres in total. However what the country has achieved in less than 50 years of its independence has put it in a league of its own.
The UAE epitomises a heady concoction with traditional values and Bedouin culture blending in seamlessly with glitzy lifestyles and global financial districts. The bustling metropolis that Dubai is, the abundant oil reserves of Abu Dhabi, the cultural heritage that defines Sharjah & Al Ain and the picturesque coastlines of Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain enrich and empower the UAE’s political, financial, socio-economic and cultural fabric. Striking a perfect balance between staying true to its roots while soaring to greater heights is what makes it possible for 8.5 million expatriates and immigrants to build a home away from home, in the UAE.
In a world where it is a norm for women to feel unsafe, the UAE stands out as an exception. Our survey findings reflected a unanimous consent among expat women who felt safe and secure in the UAE. The unifying factor among migrants is their search for better career prospects and an enhanced quality of life for their loved ones in the UAE and back home. Unequivocally, the UAE has been a playing field where many migrants have lived out their dreams and immigrating to the UAE has been one of their best decisions ever. Some of the most illustrious entrepreneurs in the country today are migrants. Through our survey we realized the USP of the UAE lies in the fact that irrespective of whether they have lived here for more than 10 years or less than 5 years, most migrants feel completely at home in the UAE.
There is something to be said about living in a foreign country, living the expat life in the UAE and yet being able to indulge in the small joys that are reminiscent of home. Be it regular weekends or public holidays, the migrant population comes out in full force to meet people from their community and indulge in activities that remind them of home. A lot of Europeans in the UAE saunter into the weekend over long brunches and visits to the Farmer’s Market. People from the Indian sub- continent comprising Pakistanis, Nepalis, and Indians are usually found spending time with each other, cooking feasts and playing games like volleyball, cricket and wrestling. Through the year the UAE witnesses various festive celebrations like lavish Onam ‘sadyas’ or an avalanche of Diwali sweets or Halloween tricks and treats that flood the markets. The UAE is home to people from diverse cultures. Festivals become an occasion of celebration for people from all nationalities, irrespective of whether they celebrate it back home or not.
It is this invincible spirit of oneness that ensures more than 8 million migrants from different cultures, ethnicities, belief systems and lifestyles have coexisted peacefully since the birth of this country. The vision of the leaders of the UAE is the bedrock for the progressive ideals, the flawless law and order system and the socio-economic vibrancy that defines this country. Since its independence 47 years ago, expatriates seeking a prosperous, peaceful and progressive life for themselves and their loved ones back home, have made the UAE their home and conquered their dreams.