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The UAE is a fascinating and complex source market. Despite the nation's small population, student mobility rates are high, with more than 15,000 students leave its shores annually to study abroad. While the UK has long been a leading destination for students from the UAE, IDP’s market intelligence reveals growing competition from other destination markets including Canada and the US.

The UAE is home to a large expat population of over 200 nationalities, predominantly from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Philippines, Iran, and China. In fact, just 12% of the population is Emirati. The country’s student population equally reflects its diversity, with the majority of degree-seeking students from the expat community. As such, recruitment strategies for the UAE market must take into account the country’s complex diversity and the implications this has on students’ preferences.

Our latest report offers you an in-depth glimpse into the country’s diverse demography and the implications and opportunities this presents for international higher education and student recruitment in the region .Using our IQ real-time data, the latest Emerging Futures 3 survey, sector data and input from IDP colleagues on the ground, this report provides insights into this dynamic country and rapidly growing student market. 

Themes include: 

  • The UAE’s development, diversity and demographics 

  • The contrasting educational experiences of Emirati Nationals Vs Expatriates 

  • International student mobility and key drivers of demand 

  • Opportunities and best practices for US institutions recruiting in the UAE

  • The top global study destinations for UAE domiciled students and destination perception

The United Arab Emirates: Driving a knowledge-based economy while home to a transient majority

Download the full report

Gemma Smith
Gemma Smith26 June 2023