The nation of expats – the United Arab Emirates – is becoming increasingly popular with Britons living abroad, according to a poll.

Over the last four years the UAE has steadily crept up a table of nations offering the best quality of life for British expatriates.

Meanwhile, traditional expat communities in places such as France, Spain and Portugal are becoming less popular, according to the NatWest International Personal Banking (NatWest IPB) Quality of Life report.

Australia has retained the top sport in the report’s Quality of Life Index – which is created by analysing opinions and attitudes on lifestyle of 1,800 British expatriates.

Canada secured second place and the UAE took third spot on the index.

In 2010, the Middle Eastern country was ranked 10th, it crept up to the ninth position in 2011 and sixth in 2012.

Britons living in the country benefit from tax-free incomes and many who move there boast that they can enjoy privileged lifestyles that they could not afford in the UK.

Some of the most popular expat destinations include Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah with many seeking employment in oil, construction, banking or tourism.

A NatWest IPB spokeswoman said that 75% of expats living in the UAE said that career opportunities was the main reason behind their move.

But only 8% of the 149 people polled said they plan to stay in the UAE forever.

The survey found that 63% of expats in Europe were considering returning to the UK because of falling property prices, austerity measures and fears over job security.

“The most notable shifts in our Quality of Life results this year is the rise of the UAE as an expat destination,” said Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking.

“The once loved traditional expat communities of France, Spain and Portugal are diminishing, with quality of life drastically reducing for expats living there, making way for newcomers such as UAE and Singapore.

“It seems expats are willing to adjust their lifestyle in exchange for a stronger economy and better job opportunities.”

Reports suggest that in 2010 only 16.5% of the 8.2 million people living in the UAE were Emiratis.