27th May 2021
The best countries for expats have been ranked with Taiwan taking the top spot. We take a look at the rest of the results
There are an estimated 57 million expatriates across the globe with the term ‘expat’ no longer limited to corporate employees relocating from a company’s headquarters.
Instead, more and more expats are moving overseas in search of a dream. Some have remote jobs and are now working from a location they love. InterNations’ latest survey looks at how expats’ motivations for moving are changing where they go.
Now in its eighth year, the Expat Insider survey is the largest of its kind. InterNations draws on its 4.1 million members and surveys over 12,000 expats from 174 nationalities living in 186 countries or territories.
InterNations uses its members’ answers to rank 59 destinations on how expat residents feel towards their home away from home.
The survey uses 37 individual factors that influence an expat’s experience of living in a foreign country including safety and security, family life, finances, travel and transport options, ease of settling in, average working hours and the impact Covid-19 has had on expat life.
For the first time since the Expat Insider survey was launched in 2014, more than 6,000 local residents — many former and future expats among them — also had the opportunity to respond to certain questions.
Most of these addressed the way the pandemic may have disrupted relocation plans or a recent stay abroad.
Best and worst countries for expats
Taiwan was placed first out of 59 countries for the third year in a row and has consistently ranked in the top five over the years.
The country performed well in terms of quality of life, job security and personal safety. Most expats were also satisfied with the state of the local economy (85% vs. 62% globally).
Mexico ranked second and performed particularly well in the Ease of Settling In Index with 85% of respondents finding it easy to settle down in Mexico (vs. 62% globally). 78% said they found it easy to make local friends (vs. 44% globally).
For the seventh time in eight years, Kuwait was ranked in last place in the Expat Insider survey.
The country also came last in the Quality of Life Index and scored poorly in the Leisure Options, Personal Happiness, and Travel & Transportation subcategories.
In 58th place, Italy is the second-worst country for expats. In the Personal Finance Index category, the Mediterranean country was last with 30% of expats saying they are dissatisfied with their financial situation (vs. 19% globally).
South Africa, Russia and Egypt round out the bottom five respectively. Generally, among the poorer performing countries expats were particularly dissatisfied with their working life and financial aspects.
The UK continues to underperform after tumbling 21 places and dropping to 59th place in 2018 following Brexit. It has recovered somewhat to 45th position, although it’s worth remembering that five countries dropped out of the ranking because of an insufficient number of respondents.
Participants were asked to assess up to 37 factors concerning various aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven.
The mean values were then calculated to create the below ranking of the best countries for expats.
You can download the entire Expat Insider report here.
More rankings and articles can be found in our remote work area:
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► World’s worst countries to drive in
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► Happiest countries in the world
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► Countries with the fastest internet
► Most stressed countries in the world
► Most expensive cities for expats
► World’s most democratic countries