Which country is the best place to be an expat?

InterNation’s latest comprehensive annual study of life as an expat sees two Asian nations top the list of best places to live and work overseas.

Taiwan – reclaiming the number one spot it last held in 2016 – and Vietnam – new in the top three – headed the list of 64 common destinations.Assessing overall life satisfaction based on five categories, including quality of life, ease of settling in, personal finance, working abroad and family life, and encompassing 48 rating factors in total, Expat Insider 2019 is one of the most extensive studies of its kind.

What is expat life really like?

This year, over 20,000 people representing 182 nationalities and 187 countries offered their views on what it is like to live and work in another country, including those who move for family and romantic reasons.Alongside InterNation’s Business Solutions’ separate Expat Insider Business Edition, the global community's Expat Insider 2019 survey highlights what day to day life is like for today’s globally mobile employees and expatriates.

Taiwan top for Best Place to Live

Taiwan ranked first overall for its great quality of life, excellent and affordable healthcare, as well as for its safe environment and efficient transportation, on Expat Insider 2019’s measures.While coming first in the personal finance and working abroad categories, Vietnam took second place overall for its job satisfaction: 30% said they “couldn’t be happier” at work.

Top ten places to live as an expat: Expat Insider 2019

  1. Taiwan
  2. Vietnam
  3. Portugal
  4. Mexico
  5. Spain
  6. Singapore
  7. Bahrain 
  8. Ecuador
  9. Malaysia
  10. Czechia

Ten worst places to live as an expat: Expat Insider 2019

  1. Kuwait
  2. Italy
  3. Nigeria
  4. Brazil
  5. Turkey
  6. India
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Greece
  9. Russia
  10. South Korea

Unhappy times for the UK?

This is in stark comparison to countries further down the list, like the UK.Ranking 58 out of 64 and among the bottom ten for the second year in a row, the UK is home to expats who overall are less happy than ever about the working life and the country’s political stability, says InterNations.Over two in five expats (42%) rate the political stability negatively (vs 17% globally). As one German expat puts it: “Brexit makes our future uncertain.”The UK also receives its worst ratings ever in all subcategories of the Working Abroad Index. It ranks 45th for economy and job security, which is 29 places lower than in the Expat Insider 2016 survey carried out before the Brexit referendum (16th out of 67).Expats also report finding it a struggle to settle in. The UK ranks 45 on this measure. Nearly three in ten expats (28%) say Brits are unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs 19% globally). Only two-thirds (66%) of expats are generally happy with their life in the UK against the worldwide average of 74%.

Can the UK win the global war for talent?

These findings mirror the latest Expat Insider Business Edition country focus, which concluded overseas assignees to the UK are getting "a raw deal".“When it comes to benefits for international hires around the world, international recruiting can often learn from global mobility management," commented Theresa Häfner, head of business solutions at InterNations at the launch of its country focus report in March."In the UK, however, the support for foreign assignees is also below average. Companies in the UK are in need of skilled professionals from abroad. But in order to stay competitive in the war for talent, they have to support them more."Moving abroad comes with organisational as well as emotional challenges. Especially with the current situation in the UK, employers need to understand the relevance of both practical and personal support for their employees, if the country wants to stay an attractive destination for global talent.”

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