Revealed: Best and worst destinations for living and working abroad

·2-min read
Taiwan is the top place to live for expats. Photo: Getty Images
Taiwan is the top place to live for expats. Photo: Getty Images

Taiwan, followed by Mexico, topped a list of 50 countries that are best for expats to live in, while Italy and Kuwait came in at the bottom.

InterNations published its Expat Insider 2021 survey about living and working abroad with more than 12,000 survey respondents.   

It takes into account quality of life, cost of living personal finance, working abroad and ease of settling in. Respondents also shared how the pandemic has impacted their expat experience.  

Costa Rica, Malaysia, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Canada and Vietnam were included in the top 10 best places for expats.

South Africa, Russia, Egypt, Japan, Cyprus, India, Turkey and Malta rounded up the bottom 10.

Chart: InterNations
Chart: InterNations

The UK came in 45th place. It ranked 29th in the Working Abroad Index, followed closely by the Ease of Settling In Index (31st).   

It did not fare too badly in the Quality of Life Index (36th), but did not perform well in the Cost of Living Index (45th) and was among the bottom 10 in the Personal Finance Index (53rd).  

Chart: InterNations
Chart: InterNations

When it comes to the impact of the pandemic on expats, close to one in ten (9%) said they have moved or will move home earlier than originally intended due to COVID-19 — though 46% of them also plan to return to their life abroad within the year.

One in six (17%) had to stop their plans to either move abroad in the first place or to relocate from one foreign country to another. 

However, 7% said they have decided to move to another country due to the pandemic, while 12% of respondents are planning to extend their current stay abroad. 

The rest (55%) states that the pandemic has not had a direct impact on their relocation plans and/or current stay in a foreign country.

Read more: The best 20 cities in the world for budget-conscious expats

Around 18% said they have returned from a stay abroad earlier than originally planned. 

Many cited the desire to be closer to their family and/or friends (22%), a job or business opportunity lost due to COVID-19 (21%), or concerns about their personal and/or their family’s health (16%). 

In addition, 12% were recalled by their own or their partner’s employer, while one in ten (10%) was worried about the local healthcare system in their host country.

Of those who had to put their international relocation plans on hold due to the pandemic, 35% said this was due to travel restrictions.

One in five (20%) did not feel comfortable moving to another country in such uncertain times and 11% could not or cannot find a job abroad.

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