Safest countries for expats 2019

In partnership with SafetyWing
September 23, 2019

We share the safest countries for expats – essential information for those who roam abroad.

Whether for love, money, adventure or escape, moving abroad is fraught with uncertainty. Not only are there life-changing decisions to make (Where shall I go? Will I be safe? Is this the right thing for me?), there are countless logistical problems to solve: arranging visas, securing accommodation, organising utilities and booking travel medical insurance.

To help you answer the big questions, we list below the safest countries for expats, based on InterNations’ annual Expat Insider survey.

This and our list of the world’s most expensive cities for expats should give you a well-rounded idea of where might be right for you. One thing to remember in taking the leap is that it doesn’t have to be forever.

You can sample a place for a while and settle long-term if you like it. In fact, there is a growing number of products designed specifically for digital nomads who may move from place to place.

SafetyWing is one such example. Backed by Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator, it focuses specifically on flexible travel medical insurance at an affordable price. Unlike traditional policies, it works like a subscription: you can choose your start date and cancel any time, there is no cap on the duration of a trip and, crucially, you don’t need to know how long you will be travelling in advance.

SafetyWing also covers you in your home country for 30 days every three months (or 15 days for US residents), so you can take a break from your travels and catch up with friends and family without worries.

Flexible options like this allow digital nomads and expats to try new places without getting locked in, leaving you free to roam and find the best country for you.

Identifying the safest countries

Now in its sixth year, the Expat Insider survey is the largest of its kind. InterNations draws on its 3.6 million members and surveys over 20,000 expats from 182 nationalities living in 187 countries or territories.

One key focus of InterNations’ survey is the Safety & Security category. Members are asked questions on how they feel about personal safety, political stability, and peacefulness in their country of residence.

Their answers are used to create three subcategory indices, which are compiled to create an overall ranking of the safest countries for expats.

The minimum sample size per country is 75 respondents making it possible to rank 64 countries by where expats feel safest.

Key findings

Oman is ranked as the safest country for expats, improving by 17 places from last year. It displaced Luxembourg which took the top spot last year, but has now dropped to fourth. Singapore and Switzerland are second and third respectively with Finland rounding out the top five safest countries for expats.

India, Argentina, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil make up the bottom five with Brazil ranked as the least safe country for expats for the second year running. 61% of respondents in Brazil rated their personal safety negatively – more than six times the global average (9%).

Leading up to Brexit, the UK remains divided. Personal safety and political stability for expats is appearing to suffer as a result: the UK ranks 53rd out of 68 for Safety & Security.

Generally, the Gulf States are considered some of the safest countries for expats, although there is a big disparity between states such as UAE (6th) and Qatar (11th) and the other countries in the region.

Safest countries for expats ranked

The survey data was collected from 7 to 28 March 2019 2019. Therefore, results do not reflect any events which have occurred since.

RankCountry
1Oman
2Singapore
3Switzerland
4Luxembourg
5Finland
6UAE
7Japan
8Portugal
9Norway
10Canada
11Qatar
12Estonia
13Denmark
14New Zealand
15Netherlands
16Austria
17Taiwan
18Germany
19Czechia
20Bahrain
21Sweden
22Australia
23Ireland
24Spain
25South Korea
26Cyprus
27Panama
28Chile
29Bulgaria
30China
31Costa Rica
32Vietnam
33Malta
34Kazakhstan
35Poland
36Hungary
37Ecuador
38Hong Kong
39Israel
40France
41Malaysia
42Morocco
43Belgium
44Russia
45Thailand
46Kuwait
47Greece
48Indonesia
49USA
50Italy
51Philippines
52Egypt
53UK
54Mexico
55Colombia
56Turkey
57Ukraine
58Kenya
59Peru
60India
61Argentina
62Nigeria
63South Africa
64Brazil

You can access the full Expat Insider report here.


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