Ranked: safest countries for expats 2021 (according to expats)

27th May 2021

map of the safest countries for expats

The safest countries for expats have been ranked, with Finland taking the top spot. We take a look at the results of the survey

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.

Identifying the safest countries

With more than 4.1 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations is the largest global community and a source of information for people who live and work abroad.

Now in its eighth year, the annual expat survey draws on data from a survey of over 12,000 expat respondents from across the globe. Together, they represent a total of 174 nationalities and live in 186 countries or territories around the world.

Respondents are asked to rate up to 37 factors related to various aspects of expat life on a scale of one to seven.

One of those factors is Safety & Security. 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 59 countries by where expats feel safest.

Key findings

Finland is ranked as the safest country for expats, displacing Oman which took the top spot in the previous survey.

Finland is the safest country for expats
Finland is the safest country for expats

Singapore, UAE and Denmark are second, third and fourth respectively with Oman rounding out the top five safest countries for expats.

South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong, India and Chile make up the bottom five with the USA also performing relatively poorly in 54th place.

South Africa ranks last with more than one-third of expats (34%) not considering it a peaceful country (vs. 9% globally). Furthermore, less than one in four (24%) feel safe there (vs. 84% globally).

"An impressive 99% of expats feel safe in Finland (vs. 84% globally)."

InterNations

Following Brexit, the UK has seen expat personal safety and political stability suffer as a result: the UK ranks 38th out of 59 countries 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 (3rd) and Qatar (9th) and the other countries in the region.

Safest countries for expats ranked

The survey data was collected from 7 to 31 January 2021. Therefore, results do not reflect any events which have occurred since.

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

You can access the full Expat Insider report here.

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
► Happiest countries in the world
► World’s most powerful passport
► Countries with the fastest internet
► Most stressed countries in the world
► Most expensive cities for expats
► World’s most democratic countries


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Lead image: Christian Delbert/Shutterstock