The world’s friendliest countries for expats revealed 

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Mortgage & Finance News

Apr 26

Taiwan has been named the top place for expats to live with Malta ranking second.

Two-time champion Ecuador’s ranking fell to third place based on various lifestyle factors, according to research carried out by InterNations. But it still featured highly for its positive work/life balance and ease of settling in.

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Their Expat Insider 2016 survey of 67 countries and more than 14,000 expats looked at factors such as quality of life, family life, personal finance, relationships and gender and what life was like through expat eyes.

Taiwan came in the top ten for all factors and ranked first for quality of life along with Japan. Mexico, although knocked out of the top three, retains its title as the friendliest place to go and its ability to offer warm welcome, ranking first in the ease of settling in index.

Finland came top for family life with the Czech Republic and Israel coming in second and third while Taiwan also came first in the personal finance rankings, closely followed by the Ukraine. Interestingly, the Ukraine also came top for cost of living.

By contrast, many traditional expat destinations fell down the rankings, even finding themselves close to the bottom.

The bottom three have remained stable with Kuwait, Greece and Nigeria holding those dubious positions. Kuwait has been bottom for the last three years. However, its rankings fell even further in every category.

Greece now ranks in last place for working abroad and personal finance and comes a dismal 43 out of 45 countries in the family life index.

However, UAE, traditionally a favoured country for working expats plummeted 21 places. This was blamed partly on the extortionately high rents in Abu Dhabi which put off working expats. Saudi Arabia, once seen as attractive for its tax free salaries, also found itself ranked 5th from bottom. It fell down on personal happiness, travel and transport and ease of settling, and ranked bottom when it came to making expats feel welcome.

The Expat Insider report also suggested a decline in oil prices had also led to a decline in rankings for Middle Eastern countries.

Hong Kong, once a magnet for expats, dropped 18 places and now ranks 44 while the USA fell from 13th place to 26th. Hong Kong’s drop was attributed to a worsening financial situations for expats and an increased cost of living – as one of the most expensive destinations for expats this isn’t surprising.

Surprisingly, Italy was also in the bottom ten – the only other European country apart from Greece to hold such a dubious title. Quality of life in the country was considered good but working abroad in Italy ranked second from bottom. Expats in Italy also felt they had a poor work/life balance.

The UK failed to perform in many of the categories, ranking 34th out of 67 for quality of life, 35th for ease of settling in and the 24th best country for expat families, giving it an overall rating of 33.

According to the report, the UK has high quality education and good job prospects but the cost of living is high. Survey respondents said speaking English was a must to live there and more than half of those asked were unhappy with the British weather.

Top ten countries at a glance:

  1. Taiwan
  2. Malta
  3. Ecuador
  4. Mexico
  5. New Zealand
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Australia
  8. Austria
  9. Luxembourg
  10. Czech Republic

Bottom ten countries at a glance:

  1. Kuwait
  2. Greece
  3. Nigeria
  4. Brazil
  5. Saudi Arabia
  6. Egypt
  7. Mozambique
  8. Qatar
  9. Italy
  10. Tanzania