Where do remote workers want to live most? Dubai

39 percent of global workers will adopt hybrid work by the end of 2023
Where do remote workers want to live most? Dubai
Dubai emerges as the top choice for remote workers

Dubai emerges as the top choice for remote workers according to the Savills Executive Nomad Index. The city scored highest on quality of life, air connectivity, and digital infrastructure. Abu Dhabi scored fourth. 

The momentum of remote and hybrid work has steadily increased. A Gartner report projects that 39 percent of global workers will adopt hybrid work by the end of 2023, with remote workers accounting for 9 percent of the global workforce.

The Savills Executive Nomad Index measures the most sought-after global destinations based on their appeal and accessibility for long-term remote work. The emirate of Dubai scored 34.18 points. Abu Dhabi followed at fourth place, with a score of 31.12. 


Dubai, which secured the third position in last year’s Savills index, has garnered popularity among professionals and corporations embracing hybrid work culture following Covid-19. Capitalizing on this trend, Dubai introduced its digital nomad visa program in March 2021, becoming one of the Gulf’s first cities to do so.

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The one-year virtual work initiative catapulted Dubai to second place on the 2021 Nomad List, a distinct study cataloging the fastest-growing remote work destinations. The city’s attractiveness is further enhanced by its growing pool of talent, particularly in the fintech and financial services sectors.

Associate Director of Research at Savills Middle East, Swapnil Pillai notes that many individuals impacted by global tech firm layoffs are exploring Dubai as a base to support the thriving local sectors. These professionals, often dual-income and childless, prefer upscale residences in downtown Dubai, near DIFC, or Dubai Marina for proximity to Dubai Media City and Internet City.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, a newcomer to the list this year, has gained popularity among Northern European executive nomads. Their remote work visa and golden visa scheme are appealing to investors and talent in creative industries, finance, and startups.

Stephen Forbes, Savills head of Abu Dhabi, highlights the emirate’s transformation into a more outward-looking destination. “Nomads” are intrigued by attractions like Yas Island and Saadiyat Island’s cultural landmarks. Furthermore, Abu Dhabi’s Free Zones offer incentives to companies, making it increasingly appealing to corporate entities.

Runner up

Last year’s winner, Lisbon, fell to fifth place due to surging rents in the Portuguese capital. Dubai experienced a 5.4 percent rise in prime residential rents during H1 2023. Rent in Lisbon witnessed a 13.9 percent increase in the same period.

Malaga scored second place on the index, driven by the launch of Spain’s digital nomad visa in 2022. Miami holds the third position. 

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