Ulan Bator is currently going through an industrial revolution and as such, it can be an appealing place to move to for expats seeking to set up home in a new and exciting place. The Mongolian mining boom is fuelling the growth of the economy and leading to widespread job creation, convincing foreigners from around the world to move to Ulan Bator. The last few years have also seen UB become increasingly important as a global investment center, leading to a lot of bankers heading to Mongolia to start a new life. However, much more development is still needed.
Korea has a large influence in Ulan Bator, especially among the city's younger population, and English signs are also becoming more common as the city becomes more international and inclusive towards foreigners moving to Ulan Bator.
Ethnic Mongols currently account for about 97 per cent of the Mongolian population, but English is now the most popular second language spoken in the country ahead of Russian. Ulan Bator's population is growing by around five per cent a year and has risen from 540,000 in 1989 to over 1.3 million in 2013.
Ulan Bator is the coldest capital city in the world due to its location high above sea level, as well as its setting far inland from any coast. Summers are warm but they are only brief, while the winters tend to be long and bitterly cold, with temperatures regularly slipping to between -36 and -40°C at the coldest time of the year, in January. Warm clothing is therefore a must for any expat moving to Ulan Bator!
The skies above Ulan Bator are usually sunny, and most of the rainfall seen in Ulan Bator arrives between July and September. With the city's position in the zone of discontinuous permafrost, meaning even Ulan Bator's average annual temperature is below freezing.
Visas to work in Mongolia and Ulan Bator are more readily available than in many parts of the world, with the country keen to welcome new people to boost the economy and improve growth.
Mongolia has four visa types – J (for tourists), B (for business), HG (for work) or T (for investors). Individuals who want to move to Ulan Bator must acquire a work permit from the Labor Office and a long-term residency permit, as well as a HG visa.
Approval from the Labor Office should be granted before travel and can be organized via the expat's new employer in Mongolia. This can take a month to sort out, before a visa can be applied for at the consul. Finally, people moving to Ulan Bator must register for a long-term residency permit within seven days of their arrival in Mongolia. Visas are also available for dependents of an employee and they are typically granted for as long as the work permit has been issued.