Spanish city rated best for expats

Valencia has been adjudged the best city in the world to live in for expatriate workers after almost 12,000 expats around the globe expressed their opinions in the latest InterNations survey.

Women scooter Valencia

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The Spanish port city pipped second-placed Dubai to take top spot in this year's Expat City Ranking, which evaluated 50 cities around the world.

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InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with more than 4.5 million members in 181 countries, assessed the opinions of those living and working abroad, in five categories of expat life:
  1. Quality of life
  2. Ease of settling in
  3. Working abroad
  4. Personal finance
  5. Expat essentials, which covered digital life, admin topics, housing and language.
After Valencia and Dubai, the rest of the top ten comprised, in order, Mexico City, Lisbon, Madrid, Bangkok, Basel, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore.At the other end of the rankings, the bottom ten was made up of Johannesburg in 50th place, just below Frankfurt, Paris, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Milan, Vancouver, Tokyo and, in 41st position, Rome.

What makes a city great for expats?

Valencia topped the rankings mainly because of its first place in the Quality of Life category, with 92 per cent feeling safe in the city and a similar proportion loving its great opportunities for recreational sports.About three-quarters of expats also found it an easy place to settle in and expressed happiness over their social lives. The city also ranked third globally in the Personal Finance Index, even coming in first when it came to cost of living affordability.Second-placed Dubai scored a worldwide first in the Expat Essentials Index with expats reporting that it was easy to deal with the local authorities and to access government services online.The UAE city also scored well when it came to the Ease of Settling In category and on the Quality of Life Index, with expats giving high scores to the nightlife and the dining out options available.Among the remainder of the top five, Mexico City was summed up by InterNations as "friendly and affordable but unsafe"; Lisbon as having "amazing climate and quality of life, but mediocre work options"; and Madrid as offering "great leisure activities and a welcoming culture" but also a place where expats worried about job security.

Cost of living weighs on world cities

At the other end of the table, Johannesburg was deemed to be the worst city for expats overall and came bottom in the Quality of Life Index. Expats expressed dissatisfaction over affordability and career opportunities. Additionally, almost two-thirds said they felt unsafe, compared to a global average of nine per cent.In 49th place, Frankfurt was described as a city where expats struggled with digitalisation, administration and language; while Paris was described as a top destination for culture and cuisine..."if you can afford it".Meanwhile, London managed to come in only at 40th place despite the fact it was ranked in the top three in the world for advancing expats' career prospects.The main reason for its lowly position was down to its poor ratings when it came to the cost of living, with the city ending up in 49th place in the Personal Finance Index.Seven out of ten expats in London considered the cost of living too high, twice the global average, and 38 per cent considered their disposable income to be insufficient for a comfortable life, compared to 28 per cent of expats globally. Four-fifths of respondents felt housing in London to be unaffordable.Even so, 73 per cent of expats in London rated their career opportunities positively (as opposed to an average of 58 per cent in other cities) and 78 per cent of respondents said their career prospects had improved by moving there.Full details of the 'Expat City Ranking 2022' can be found here

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