Best and Worst Countries for Expats to Move: Ranked

Moving from one country to another is a big undertaking, so it makes sense that expats would research the best countries to move to before they pick up and leave their homes. Whether it’s work opportunities, a quality healthcare system, or financial security, the new destination must fulfill relocation goals appropriately.

InterNations, a global expat community, surveyed more than 12,000 people to know how satisfied they were living and working abroad last year. Factors such as quality of life, career prospects, ease of settling in, and satisfaction with life abroad were some indicators used in conducting the poll. Curious if your favorite country made the list? Read on to find out!

10. Vietnam

One of the three countries in Asia to make the list, Vietnam is considered one of the best countries for expats to live in, particularly due to an overall welcoming environment. About 85 percent of those surveyed say they are happy with life in the country. They attribute this both to job satisfaction and the affordable cost of living.

Expats who favor the great outdoors ranked this next country fairly high, too…

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9. Canada

Placing ninth is Canada, another popular country for global expats. Respondents of the poll chose Canada as a favorable place to live because of the ease of settling in there. The respondents did not, however, say the same for managing finances, as only 42 percent of them approved of the current cost of living.

As far as beauty goes, the following country is sure not to disappoint even expats!

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8. Ecuador

Further west, expats are also happy with their settlement in Ecuador. In particular, they are satisfied with the work-life balance there, registering a total of 79 percent approval rate. It also helps that the country is especially beautiful with lots of tourist attractions!

Both beautiful and filled with nature, expats appreciate the overall great quality of life in this next country…

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7. Australia

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia is among expats’ top choices of countries to move to, particularly due to the high quality of medical care, which registered an 88 percent satisfaction rate. Aside from great medical care, Australia is also known for its beautiful beaches, kind locals, and wonderful food. What’s not to love about this country?

As far as quality of life goes, the following country ranks among the highest…

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6. New Zealand

Also from the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand is another popular expat destination. Scoring good reviews in work opportunities and quality of life indices, New Zealand received a great response from expats. Expats only seemed to have problems with the country’s living expenses. Only 29 percent of them say that they support it.

Filled with colorful buildings and plenty of oceanside towns, this next country is yet another favorable expat country…

Shutterstock.com / Daniel Huebner

5. Portugal

Taking fifth place is Portugal, the only European destination to enter the top ten countries for expats. Expats appreciate the country’s high quality of life most, including the beautiful oceanside towns and everyone’s appreciation for nature. On the other hand, the country fares the worst in job contentment, with only a 62 percent satisfaction rate.

As far as cost of living goes, this next country ranks incredibly high…

Shutterstock.com / Olena Z

4. Malaysia

Yet another Asian country, Malaysia also makes the top ten best expat destinations in the world. Just like Vietnam, Malaysia recorded a high approval rate (82 percent) in the cost of living index, positively impacting expats’ financial management. It makes sense with the country’s high focus on business enterprise.

This next country is far more nature-focused, with plenty of tropical destinations to enjoy!

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3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica comes in third and is a country that 91 percent of expats agreed was friendly and welcoming. The survey revealed that 87 percent of expats believed the local residents were very welcoming, and 70 percent said that they easily made local friends. No wonder Costa Rica is one of the easiest cultures for a foreigner to get familiar with!

Settling into a new country can be difficult, but not likely in the following country…

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2.   Mexico

Rated by expats as the best country in the Ease of Settling In index (85 percent), Mexico is their second-highest moving destination. Faring relatively high in the personal finance (second) and cost of living (fourth) indices, 80 percent of the expats confirmed satisfaction with their financial situation. Moreover, 90 percent of them revealed their income is enough or more than enough to cover living expenses.

If you’re looking for a country that ranks favorably in almost every category in this ranking list, keep reading…

Shutterstock.com / Diego Grandi

1. Taiwan

Emerging as the top choice the third year in a row, Taiwan ranks the highest in almost all the indices. It comes first in quality of life and work opportunities, with 83 percent of expats feeling secure in their job and 85 percent feeling confident in the country’s economic state.

Additionally, 96 percent of the expats in the survey commended the country’s medical care, with 94 percent of them happy and satisfied with its affordability. Taiwan’s inclusive healthcare system makes it the best and top choice for expats to live in now.

Shutterstock.com / Sean Pavone

Top 10 Worst Countries for Expats to Work and Settle Into

Now that we’ve looked into the 10 best countries expats feel most comfortable moving to, surely you want to know about the worst 10. Read on to know which places made the notorious list and why they are considered the worst to live in right now.

10. Malta

Taking a spot in the bottom list of expats’ choice of country to settle in is Malta, an island-state located in the Mediterranean Sea. It fared low in almost all the indices of expats’ satisfaction. In particular, it ranked 54th in quality of life, with travel and transport being the worst satisfaction indicators. Expats also felt dissatisfied with their personal finances and pointed to career prospects and cost of living as the main causes.

Happiness does not follow expats into this next country…

Shutterstock.com / Juni Samos

9. India

Coming 51st out of 59 countries, India makes the bottom 10 of countries to live in according to expats. Despite ranking fourth worldwide in the personal finance index, expats agree country’s quality of life is extremely poor. About 67 percent of the respondents rated the air quality negatively, while 54 percent were unhappy with the water and sanitation infrastructures.

Think expat countries can’t get worse? Think again…

Shutterstock.com / Ruth Choi

8. Turkey

As far as conditions for working abroad are concerned, Turkey has consistently placed in the bottom 10 since 2017. The 2021 survey revealed that 43 percent of expats feel dissatisfied with the state of the local economy. Turkey’s main struggle is its undervalued currency, which has also impacted its tourism industry.

If liking your job is important to you, you won’t want to move to the next country…

Shutterstock.com / Olena Tur

7. Cyprus

With a whopping 52 percent score, expats in Cyprus generally reported dissatisfaction with their job. They are mostly displeased with their working hours. In addition, Cyprus also ranked last for job security, with 22 percent of respondents giving it the worst possible rating.

The next country is highly populated, but expats do not favor it…

Shutterstock.com / Alexandr Savchuk

6. Japan

Since 2014, Japan has received poor ratings for the ease of settling in index. Its most notable trigger is none other than language, which 71 percent of the expats find extremely difficult to learn. About 56 percent of them agree that living in Japan can be problematic without a knowledge of the local language.

The following country has low ratings for internet connection, which happens to be incredibly important to expats…

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5. Egypt

Another country to make the worst countries for settling is Egypt, which ranks last (59th) in the digital life subcategory. Thirty-four percent (34 percent) of expats said they struggle with getting high-speed internet access at home. About the same percentage also reported on the unavailability of cashless payments. Ultimately, 60 percent of these expats were dissatisfied with the poor government services online.

But, the dissatisfaction doesn’t stop in Egypt…

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4. Russia

Ranking 56th out of 59 countries, Russia takes a spot in the bottom five of this list. Generally, 25 percent of the respondents were unhappy with their job security. In addition, 27 percent of them said their income is not enough to cover their expenses. Meanwhile, 67 percent expats reported difficulty in learning the Russian language.

The next country on our worst countries for expats list is in Africa…

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3. South Africa

In 57th place is South Africa, which performed worst in the personal finance index (55th). About 34 percent of expats considered their disposable income to be insufficient for their expenses. The country also ranks in the bottom 10 in working abroad index (54th), with only 31 percent satisfied on the state of the local economy.

Get ready to be surprised by this next worst-ranked expat country…

Shutterstock.com / Richard Cavalleri

2. Italy

Placing 58th on the list, Italy is the second worst country for expats to live in, which may come as a surprise to some people. It fared extremely poor in both personal finance index (59th) and career prospects and satisfaction subcategory (59th). An overwhelming 56 percent of expats rated its local work opportunities negatively, while 31 percent said they were dissatisfied with their jobs.

The last country on our list should not be a surprise, though, as it has ranked low more than once…

Fabio Max / Shutterstock.com

1. Kuwait

Ranking last for the 7th time, Kuwait completes the list of worst countries for expats to settle into. It also comes last in the quality of life index (59th), unfortunately ranking worst in the leisure options, personal happiness, and travel & transportation subcategories (59th for all). Kuwait also made the worst destination in the ease of settling in index (59th), with 46 percent of expats not feeling at home in the local culture, and 51 percent of them have trouble finding new friends.

Jes Romero / Shutterstock.com

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