What is the world’s most expat-friendly country?

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8th November 2023
A street in Campeche, Mexico, the most expat-friendly country

Mexico is the world’s most expat-friendly country according to a new survey on living and working abroad. We take a look at the results

The world’s most expat-friendly countries have been ranked in the latest survey from InterNations, the largest global community of people who live and work abroad.

Mexico was ranked first with expats reporting the country is friendly, welcoming and an easy place to make friends.

Other countries that performed well were Brazil, the Philippines, Panama and Kenya. At the other end of the spectrum, South Korea, Germany, Denmark and Austria all performed poorly with Kuwait the country where expats find it hardest to settle.

Now in its 10th year, the Expat Insider survey is the largest of its kind. InterNations draws on its 4.7 million members and surveys over 12,000 expats from 171 nationalities living in 172 countries or territories.

The survey features the Ease of Settling In Index which assesses 53 countries and territories around the world. Respondents in each destination answered questions about their experiences as foreign residents living there.

The Ease of Settling In Index is based on three subcategories with two to three rating factors each:

  • Local Friendliness is based on locals’ friendliness in general and towards expats, specifically.
  • Finding Friends looks if expats have a personal support network, if they are happy with their social life, and if making local friends is easy.
  • Culture & Welcome covers the ease of adapting to the local culture, the sense of being welcomed and the feeling of home.

What makes Mexico the most expat-friendly country?

Mexico was named the most expat-friendly country for the fifth year in a row and has been in the top three countries since 2014.

An impressive 82% of respondents said they feel at home in Mexico which is 20 percentage points above the global average of 62%. Around nine in 10 also feel welcome there (89% vs. 67% globally) and rate the general friendliness of local residents positively (91% vs. 67% globally).

most and least peaceful places in Mexico
Rubi Rodriguez Martinez/Shutterstock Expats feel at home in Mexico

Almost three-quarters (74%) are happy with their social life (vs. 56% globally). The same share (74%) said that making local friends is easy in Mexico (vs. 43% globally).

Finally, expats in Mexico are less likely to be friends with just other expats with 31% saying their friends are mostly local residents which is almost double the global average (17%).

Top 10 expat-friendly countries

  1. Mexico
  2. Brazil
  3. Philippines
  4. Panama
  5. Kenya
  6. Indonesia
  7. Costa Rica
  8. Greece
  9. Bahrain
  10. Oman

Key findings from the survey

  • Overall, Mexico is the world’s most expat-friendly country, topping three of the four subcategories and coming second in the other.
  • Expats find Panama the easiest country to make friends in.
  • After Mexico, expats find Brazil and the Philippines the friendliest destinations to live.
  • Expats find Kuwait the hardest country to settle in.
  • Seven of the bottom 10 are European countries.
  • With the exception of Finland, the Nordic countries continue to perform badly.
  • Finland is the biggest improver, rising 13 places to drag itself out of the bottom 10 to 31st place this year.
  • Luxembourg has gained 12 places to 34th place.
  • Hungary has dropped 13 places to 36th position while Taiwan plummeted 11 places to drop out of the top 10 into 17th position.
Aerial view of Rio in Brazil
Diego Grandi/Shutterstock Brazil is the second most expat-friendly country

Ranked: expat-friendly countries

Respondents rated various factors in each subcategory on a scale from one (very bad) to seven (very good). These were then compiled to create the below ranking of the countries where expats find it easiest to settle.

The Ease of Settling In Index also includes three subcategories:

  • Culture & Welcome
  • Local Friendliness
  • Finding Friends
RankEase of
Settling In
Culture & WelcomeLocal FriendlinessFinding Friends
7Costa RicaCosta RicaCosta RicaCosta Rica
20CyprusAustraliaIndiaSouth Africa
22IndiaCanadaAustraliaHong Kong
28ItalyMaltaNew ZealandUSA
29Hong KongTürkiyeItalyItaly
30South AfricaIndiaNetherlandsCzechia
31FinlandUKSaudi ArabiaHungary
32Saudi ArabiaQatarUKCanada
33FranceHong KongMaltaQatar
34LuxembourgSouth AfricaQatarSaudi Arabia
35QatarNew ZealandHong KongFrance
36HungarySaudi ArabiaJapanSingapore
37New ZealandHungaryPolandLuxembourg
42BelgiumSingaporeSouth AfricaNew Zealand
48NorwayNorwaySouth KoreaSouth Korea
49South KoreaGermanyGermanyGermany
51DenmarkSouth KoreaDenmarkKuwait

More rankings and articles can be found in our remote work area:

► Most dangerous countries in the world
► Countries with the best healthcare in the world
► World’s worst countries to drive in
► Most peaceful countries in the world
► Best countries for women
► Poorest countries in the world – ranked
► Happiest countries in the world
► World’s most powerful passport
► Most stressed countries in the world
► Most expensive cities for expats
► World’s most democratic countries

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Lead image: Sorincolac/Getty