New 2022 survey: Best countries to live and work abroad – and the worst – ScandAsia.com

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Mexico (1st), Indonesia (2nd), and Taiwan (3rd) are the overall three best countries for expats to live and work abroad, according to a newly released Expat Insider survey for 2022.
At the bottom, the expats rated Kuwait (52th), New Zealand (51st), and Hong Kong (50th) as the worst places to live and work abroad.
South East Asia performed overall very well in the survey. Apart from Indonesia (2) and Taiwan (3) five more countries in South East Asia made it to the top half of the list: They are Vietnam (7), Thailand (8), Singapore (10) and further down Malaysia (18), and Philippines (21).
By contrast, all the four Nordic countries in the survey performed overall worse than all the Southeast Asian countries – in particular because the unfriendliness of the Nordic people were counted in.
But wait. Before you pack up and move, it is important to read the details.
Overall, Indonesia ranks second in the Expat Insider 2022 survey and performs best in the Ease of Settling In Index (2nd): 90% of expats describe the Indonesian population as friendly in general (vs. 66% globally), as well as friendly towards foreign residents in particular (vs. 65% globally). Close to half (46%) even think that they could not be any friendlier to expats, compared to 27% globally. With a strong personal support network (66% happy vs. 59% globally) and a great social life (77% happy vs. 56% globally), 80% of expats feel at home in Indonesia (vs. 62% globally).
The country’s great performance in the Expat Essentials Index (6th) is mainly due to two aspects: First, while only 49% find it easy to live in Indonesia without speaking the local language, which is just about average (51%), 73% say it is easy to learn (vs. 41% globally). In fact, 53% speak the local language very or fairly well. Second, housing is easy to find (84% vs. 54% globally) and to afford (74% vs. 39% globally). Beyond housing, 73% of expats are happy with the general cost of living (vs. 45% globally), and 64% say that their disposable household income is more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 45% globally). “It is a great opportunity to save due to the low living expenses,” shares an expat from South Korea.
However, the country’s performance is just mediocre when it comes to Admin Topics (30th). This is mainly due to the local bureaucracy and authorities, which 57% of expats find it hard to deal with (vs. 39% globally). The Digital Life Subcategory (42nd) is also not one of Indonesia’s strongest assets: one in ten expats (10%) is unhappy with the restricted access to online services (vs. 7% globally), and 25% rate the availability of administrative services online negatively (vs. 21% globally).
Working life seems to be laid back in Indonesia, which ranks twelfth worldwide in the Work & Leisure Subcategory. More than seven in ten (72%) are happy with their working hours (vs. 63% globally), and 62% rate their work-life balance positively. While the latter matches the global average, the share of those who are completely satisfied with their work-life balance is a lot higher (36% vs. 25% globally). Overall, 78% of expats are satisfied with their job in general (vs. 64% globally), making Indonesia the world’s best country for this factor.
However, around one in three expats (32%) are unhappy with the local job market, compared to 27% globally. And while 71% feel that they are paid fairly (vs. 62% globally), many aspects of a modern business culture seem to be lacking: according to expats, the local business culture neither encourages creativity (30% unhappy vs. 26% globally) nor supports flexibility (23% unhappy vs. 19% globally). More than two in five (42%) believe that it does not promote independent work and/or flat hierarchies either (vs. 28% globally).
Indonesia’s real weak spot is the Quality of Life Index (41st), particularly when it comes to Health & Well-Being (48th): just 60% of expats rate the availability of healthcare positively (vs. 73% globally), and an even lower share (54%) find it easy to access all the healthcare services they need (vs. 67% globally). Overall, 28% are unhappy with the quality of medical care, which is twice the global average (14%). “The quality of healthcare services is low,” a South Korean expat shares.
When it comes to the Environment & Climate Subcategory (42nd), 35% of expats find it hard to get green goods and services (vs. 17% globally). They are also unhappy with the urban environment (36% unhappy vs. 17% globally) and the air quality (33% unhappy vs. 19% globally).
While 88% enjoy the opportunity to travel (vs. 82% globally), the local infrastructure poses some challenges. Expats rate the infrastructure for cars negatively (40% unhappy vs. 13% globally), but neither do they find it easy and safe to get around on foot and/or by bicycle (27% unhappy vs. 13% globally). While more than two in five (42%) rate the availability of public transportation negatively (vs. 17% globally), a slightly above-average share finds it at least affordable (73% vs. 70% globally).
According to the respondents, Indonesia has a lot of Leisure Options (12th) to offer. While the opportunities for recreational sports are average (75% happy vs. 75% globally), 70% of expats are happy with the culture and nightlife (vs. 67% globally). Lastly, more than four in five (84%) rate the culinary variety and dining options positively (vs. 77% globally).
In Taiwan, expats are particularly happy with the high quality of life, the ease of settling in, and their personal finances. The country does best in the Quality of Life Index (2nd), only beaten by Spain, and makes it into the top 10 for many related factors. The Health & Well-Being Subcategory is a particular highlight since Taiwan ranks first overall and first for all its factors. Expats find healthcare affordable (100% vs. 61% globally) and widely available (98% vs. 73% globally), and 88% say that they have access to all the healthcare services they need (vs. 67% globally).
Beyond that, Taiwan ranks first in the world for personal safety. While nearly all expats (98%) feel generally safe there (vs. 81% globally), 84% even feel completely safe in Taiwan, compared to 47% globally.
Travel & Transit (7th) is another highlight about life in Taiwan. Expats describe public transportation as affordable (94% vs. 70% globally) and easily available (90% vs. 73% globally). The vast majority of expats (90%) also finds it easy and safe to get around on foot and/or bicycle (vs. 77% globally). “I enjoy living in a beautiful place with world-class infrastructure and services,” shares a British expat.
In fact, while not among the top 10, Taiwan still lands in a good 16th place in the Leisure Options Subcategory. More than four in five expats (82%) enjoy the culinary variety and dining options (vs. 77% globally). They are also happy with the culture and nightlife (66% vs. 67% globally) and the opportunities for recreational sports (73% vs. 75% globally).
According to 75% of expats, green goods and services — such as renewable energy, organic food, and sustainable products — are easily available in Taiwan (vs. 64% globally). Despite this, Taiwan ranks only 21st in the Environment & Climate Subcategory, which is mainly due to the low air quality (41st). More than three in ten expats (31%) are unhappy with this factor, compared to 19% globally.
Expats find it very easy to get settled in Taiwan, ranking the destination sixth in this index. More than three-quarters (78%) feel welcome there (vs. 66% globally), and 53% even feel completely welcome (vs. 30% globally). It is easy to make local friends (50% vs. 42% globally), and most expats have a personal support network (67% vs. 59% globally). In fact, one-quarter of expats (25%) are mainly friends with local residents (vs. 17% globally).
“I am happy that I can experience life in Taiwan with the warm-hearted friends I made here,” shares an expat from Vietnam. More than four in five expats (84%) describe the local residents as generally friendly (vs. 66% globally), and 53% even find them very friendly (vs. 30% globally).
While Taiwan only comes 22nd in the Working Abroad Index, it gets another top ranking for one of its factors: 85% of expats feel paid fairly for their work (based on industry, qualifications, role, etc.), compared to 62% globally. This also might explain why they are satisfied with their financial situation (70% vs. 60% globally), and 55% state that their disposable household income is enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 45% globally). “It is less expensive here to enjoy a high-quality, modern standard of living, including healthcare, fitness, food, and so on,” shares a US American expat.
However, working in Taiwan also has its downsides. The destination ranks 39th in the Work Culture & Satisfaction Subcategory and even ends up among the bottom 10 when it comes to flexibility at work (47th). More than two in five expats (41%) say that the local business culture does not support flexibility, such as remote work or flexible working hours, compared to 19% globally. Furthermore, it neither encourages creativity (41% unhappy vs. 26% globally) nor does it promote independent work and/or flat hierarchies (46% unhappy vs. 28% globally). Overall, 15% of expats do not see a purpose in their work (vs. 9% globally), and 19% are generally dissatisfied with their jobs (vs. 16% globally).
Lastly, Taiwan lands in a mediocre 23rd place in the Expat Essentials Index, receiving its best results in the Digital Life Subcategory (15th). It does rank among the top 5 worldwide for the ease of getting high-speed internet access at home (4th) and the unrestricted access to online services (3rd). What is more, 63% are happy with the availability of administrative/government services online, which is just slightly above the global average (61%). On the other hand, Taiwan lands among the bottom 10 for the ease of paying without cash (43rd). While 79% are still happy with this factor, this share is below the global average of 84%
Expats find it very easy to get settled in Vietnam but struggle with the local language and the environment. The country excels when it comes to Personal Finance, ranking first worldwide in this index. The majority of expats (80%) is happy with the general cost of living, compared to only 45% globally. “There are affordable prices in almost all areas,” reports a Swiss expat.
There is no stress when it comes to their financial situation: about four in five (79%) are satisfied with this factor (vs. 60% globally), and 92% say that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 72% globally). “I live comfortably on my limited income,” shares a US American expat.
Settling in is also a breeze for expats in Vietnam. They rank the country ninth in the Ease of Settling In Index. They greatly enjoy the Local Friendliness (6th) they experience. Most expats (84%) describe the local residents as generally friendly (vs. 66% globally), and 83% find them friendly towards foreign residents in particular (vs. 65% globally). “The warmth, honesty, and friendliness of the people” are what a US American enjoys most about life in Vietnam, while a Malaysian expat highlights “the people and the friendly culture”. Indeed, the local culture is another area where expats are especially pleased — 83% feel welcome in Vietnam (vs. 66% globally), and 71% feel at home there (vs. 62% globally).
Creating a personal network is certainly important to expat life. Expats rank Vietnam among the top 10 in the Finding Friends Subcategory (7th), saying it is easy to make local friends (54% happy vs. 42% globally). Over two in three (69%) are happy with their social life, compared to 56% globally. Moreover, 63% have a personal support network in Vietnam, e.g., people that they can go to for practical/emotional support (vs. 59% globally).
Expats have mixed opinions about Working Abroad (29th) in Vietnam. On the downside, 29% of expats feel that moving to Vietnam has not improved their career prospects (vs. 18% globally). What is more, 14% of expats do not see a purpose in their work (vs. 9% globally), and 45% think that the work culture does not promote independent work and/or flat hierarchies (vs. 28% globally).
While the country places in the bottom 10 for all these factors, it ranks eighth for another one: over two in three expats (68%) feel paid fairly for their work based on their industry, qualifications, and role (vs. 62% globally). The most common fields expats in Vietnam work in are education — including language education — (21%), manufacturing & engineering (15%), and advertising, marketing & communication (13%).
The country lands among the bottom 10 in the Quality of Life Index (48th), and the Environment & Climate (49th) raises major concerns for expats in Vietnam. Over half of them (53%) are unhappy with the urban environment, over triple the global average (17%). “The noise pollution is terrible,” a French expat reports.
They are also disappointed with the availability of green goods and services (37% unhappy vs. 17% globally) and are especially unhappy with the air quality (64% unsatisfied vs. 19% globally). “The smog is a huge problem,” notes an expat from Italy. “The air is really toxic.” What is more, over half the expats (51%) believe that the government does not support policies to protect the environment (vs. 18% globally), ranking the country 50th for this factor.
Additionally, expats in Vietnam are unsatisfied with their Health & Well-Being (40th). About one in five expats (19%) say that healthcare is generally unavailable (vs. 13% globally), and one in four (25%) reports that it is difficult to access all the kinds of healthcare services that they need (vs. 17% globally). When expats are able to access healthcare services, they find them to be of poor quality — 23% are unhappy with the quality of medical care, compared to 14% globally.
The Travel & Transit Subcategory (42nd) narrowly escapes ranking among the bottom 10. Expats describe the availability of public transportation as especially poor (43% unhappy vs. 17% globally). About one in three (32%) are dissatisfied with the infrastructure for cars, more than double the global average (13%).
Language (47th) is another issue in Vietnam. Four in five expats (80%) report that learning the local language is difficult, compared to only 38% globally. They rate the country last for this factor (52nd). A US American expat says his “inability to learn the language” is something he struggles with most in Vietnam. In fact, 44% do not speak the local language at all, which is more than four times the share of expats saying this about the language of their respective host country (10%).
Language is not the only hurdle in the Expat Essentials Index (46th). In the Admin Topics Subcategory, Vietnam ranks 51st overall, only Malta (52nd) does worse. Expats find it difficult to deal with local bureaucracy (66% vs. 39% globally), open a local bank account (41% vs. 21% globally), and get a visa in order to move there (48% vs. 24% globally).
Digital Life (49th) does not perform much better. Expats vote the country last (52nd) for the availability of administrative/government services online — 44% of expats are unhappy with this factor, compared to only 21% globally. Nearly one in four expats (23%) also find it generally difficult to pay without cash (vs. 8% globally).
In Thailand, finance and leisure options are no trouble for expats, but they struggle with their working life. They vote the country fourth in the Personal Finance Index. In fact, most expats (85%) feel that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 72% globally). “Your money definitely goes far,” a British expat reports.
Expats vote Thailand third for general cost of living — 71% are happy with this factor, 26 percentage points more than the global average (45%). Thus, it is no surprise that 70% are happy with their financial situation overall (vs. 60% globally). Housing is no trouble either, and Thailand also lands in first place in this subcategory. Expats describe it as both affordable (74% vs. 39% globally) and easy to find (85% vs. 54% globally).
Aside from housing, expats are not too happy with the factors surveyed in the Expat Essentials Index (18th). Thailand ranks in the bottom 10 of the Digital Life Subcategory (43rd), and expats are particularly unhappy with the availability of administrative/government services online (43% unhappy vs. 21% globally). “It is all paperwork for everything,” explains an expat from Chile. Overall, more than half (51%) find it hard to deal with the local bureaucracy/authorities, compared to 39% globally.
While 70% find it easy to live in Thailand without speaking the local language (vs. 51% globally), 68% struggle to learn it (vs. 38% globally). “I just cannot pick up the language,” says a British expat. In fact, 78% speak the language just a little (54% vs. 25% globally) or not at all (24% vs. 10% globally).
The Ease of Settling In Index (11th) is a genuine highlight, though, and expats rate Thailand particularly well in the Local Friendliness Subcategory (8th). The majority (86%) finds the residents to be generally friendly (vs. 66% globally), and another 81% describe them as friendly towards foreign residents (vs. 65% globally). “I have found the Thais to be very friendly and welcoming to me living in their country,” an expat from the United Kingdom explains. Expats also rank Thailand among the top 10 in the Finding Friends Subcategory (8th). They love their social life (69% satisfied vs. 56% globally), and more than half (52%) say that making local friends is easy, compared to 42% globally.
The Quality of Life Index (35th) is a mixed bag: When it comes to Leisure Options (5th), expats are especially happy. They vote the country second worldwide for its culinary variety and dining options, only beaten by Mexico. “The thing I enjoy most so far is their food variety,” says a Vietnamese expat. “I love trying new food whenever I have free time.” Over three in four expats (77%) are satisfied with the culture and nightlife in Thailand, compared to 67% globally.
Expats also love the healthcare in Thailand — the country narrowly misses out on a top 10 spot in the Health & Well-Being Subcategory (11th). More than three-quarters of expats (77%) state that they have access to all the kinds of healthcare services that they need (vs. 67% globally). Most also say that medical care is easily available (84% vs. 73% globally) and of good quality (85% vs. 72% globally).
On the other hand, the Environment & Climate Subcategory (44th) is a major concern for expats in Thailand. Two in five expats (40%) believe that the government does not support policies to protect the environment, more than double the global average (18%). “People are not aware enough about pollution, and it is sad to see nature spoiled by rubbish,” a French expat reports.
Furthermore, 45% rate the air quality negatively (vs. 19% globally) and 32% are unhappy with the urban environment (elements such as green spaces, noise levels, and eco-friendly architecture), compared to 17% globally. “There is air pollution and limited parks and green spaces,” explains a Dutch expat. The only real highlight is the climate and weather, which is rated positively by the majority of expats (82% vs. 62% globally).
The Safety & Security Subcategory (47th) also receives mixed results. In general, 85% of expats feel personally safe in Thailand (vs. 81% globally). But 37% are unhappy with the country’s political stability (vs. 15% globally), and 44% think that they cannot openly express themselves and their opinions (vs. 18% globally).
Thailand performs worst in the Working Abroad Index (45th). Expats vote the country into the bottom 10 of the Work Culture & Satisfaction Subcategory (48th). According to them, the local business culture does not encourage creativity (41% vs. 26% globally), nor does it promote independent work (45% vs. 28% globally). Expats are also especially disappointed when it comes to Career Prospects (45th). Nearly two in five (38%) are unhappy with the local job market (vs. 27% globally), and only 41% say that moving to Thailand has improved their career prospects (vs. 60% globally).
Expats also rank Thailand among the bottom 10 for Salary & Job Security (46th). More than three in ten (31%) are unhappy with the state of the local economy, compared to only 17% globally. Additionally, one in four expats (25%) is unsatisfied with their job security (vs. 20% globally). However, 35% of expats do not have to worry about this, as they are already retired, compared to the global average of 10% retirees. In fact, 19% of expats in Thailand moved there specifically to retire, compared to only 3% globally.
Expats surveyed in Singapore love the transit options and career opportunities with no language barriers. But they don’t feel free to express themselves.
Singapore performs best in the Expat Essentials Index (3rd), only beaten by Bahrain (1st) and the UAE (2nd). Expats vote Singapore fifth in the Admin Topics Subcategory, and 63% find it easy to deal with the local bureaucracy/authorities, compared to 40% globally. A French expat says that “the efficiency of the administration” is one of the things he likes most about life in Singapore. According to more than four in five expats (81%), it is also easy to open a local bank account (vs. 64% globally).
Digital Life (4th) is another highlight for expats. The vast majority (91%) is happy with the availability of administrative services online (vs. 61% globally). An Indonesian expat enjoys the “fast, organized online services for many administrative purposes”. The country ranks first overall for access to high-speed internet at home, as well as fourth for paying without cash.
In the Quality of Life Index (10th), Singapore performs best in the Travel & Transit Subcategory, where it ranks first overall. Expats say there is a great infrastructure for cars (2nd) and that it is also easy to get around on foot or by bicycle (9th). Nearly all respondents (97%) are happy with the availability of public transportation, 24 percentage points more than the global average (73%). “There is an easy access to transportation,” says an expat from Indonesia. Additionally, most expats (95%) enjoy the affordability of public transportation (vs. 70% globally). The only lowlight is probably due to Singapore’s geographical location, which places the country in the bottom 10 for the opportunity to travel (46th).
Expats are also extremely satisfied with the healthcare system, but not with its costs, ranking Singapore 15th in the Health & Well-Being Subcategory. They are pleased with the availability of healthcare (88% happy vs. 73% globally), and 84% say that it is easy to access all the healthcare services that they need (vs. 67% globally). Additionally, over four in five (84%) are happy with the quality of medical care, twelve percentage points more than the global average (72%).
However, the country falls into the bottom 3 (50th) for affordability of healthcare: 39% find it unaffordable (vs. 21% globally). Only expats in the USA and Ireland are less satisfied with this factor.
Nearly all expats (99%) feel personally safe in Singapore (vs. 81% globally). Expats are also happy with the political stability (89% satisfied vs. 64% globally). An Indian expat explains that “there is a stable government in Singapore; it is a safe place”. However, only 40% feel that that they can openly express themselves and their opinions, 24 percentage points below the global average (64%).
When it comes to the Ease of Settling In Index (31st), expats have varied opinions. They rank the Local Friendliness (40th) quite poorly — 22% consider the local residents to be generally unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs. 18% globally). Expats seem to be able to push through this initial barrier, though, as nearly half (48%) say it is easy to make local friends (vs. 42% globally).
The Culture & Welcome Subcategory (27th) gets particularly mixed results: expats vote the country in the bottom 10 for feeling welcome (44th), while they rank the ease of getting used to the local culture among the top 10 (8th).
Expats in Singapore are quite happy with their financial situation, ranking the country sixth for this factor. The majority (87%) feels that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 72% globally). Still, 56% rate the general cost of living poorly, compared to 35% globally. “It is expensive,” says a US American expat. “Without the right job you cannot live here”. In fact, salaries are very high in Singapore: close to three in five (57%) have a yearly income of 100,000 USD or more, compared to 21% globally.
Close to three-quarters of expats (74%) feel paid fairly for their work (vs. 62% globally), which is one of the reasons for Singapore’s good rank in the Working Abroad Index (18th). The city-state even makes it into the top 10 of the Career Prospects Subcategory (8th). Nearly four in five (78%) say that moving to Singapore has improved their career prospects, compared to 60% globally. About two in three (67%) are also satisfied with their personal career opportunities (vs. 58% globally).
This may be one reason why 77% say they are satisfied with their job in general, compared to 64% globally. “It is a great place for working,” says an expat from Malaysia. On the other hand, expats vote Singapore in the bottom 10 for seeing a purpose in their work (43rd).
Malaysia and the Philippines are not among the selected countries for a detailed highlight by Internations. Their ranking is in the mid range of countries. When it comes to ease of settling in and friendliness, The Philippines scores much higher than Malaysia. When it comes to the working abroad index, neither of the two countries make it to the top ten. But when it comes to personal finances, local cost, etc., both make it to the top ten most affordable countries. The same goes for ease of finding accommodation.
So maybe you should move to the Nordic countries? Well these countries  certainly have their downsides too!
Denmark performs best among the Nordic countries. Placing 30th out of 52, it ranks slightly ahead of Finland (32nd), Norway (34th), and Sweden (39th).
Despite its mediocre overall ranking, Denmark is number one in the Working Abroad Index, which is mainly due to the Work & Leisure (1st) and Work Culture & Satisfaction (2nd) Subcategories.The country’s great results for working abroad and the quality of life – in particular thw work-life balance – are canceled out by the high living expenses and the difficulties with settling in.
Denmark also performs badly in the Language Subcategory (33rd). While 66% find it easy to live in Denmark without speaking the local language (vs. 51% globally), expats find Danish very hard to learn (70% unhappy vs. 38% globally). In fact, close to one-quarter of expats (24%) do not speak Danish at all, compared to 10% of expats worldwide who do not speak the local language of their host country.
In the Ease of Settling In Index, Denmark does even worse. Ranking 47th out of 52, it ends up among the bottom 10. About one in four expats (23%) describe the local population as generally unfriendly (vs. 17% globally), and 28% perceive it as unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs. 18%).
Finland comes out as the perfect expat destination for nature lovers & introverts who enjoy a high level of digitization, and a great work-life balance, but expats face major issues with settling in.
Finland places seventh in the Quality of Life Index, performing best in the Environment & Climate (1st) and Safety & Security (3rd) Subcategories. Expats love the air quality (90% happy vs. 65% globally), the urban environment (90% happy vs. 67% globally), and the natural environment (100% happy vs. 83% globally). Moreover, Finland is praised for the availability of green goods and services, as well as government support for environmentally friendly policies (2nd for each).
It does great in the Digital Life Subcategory (2nd), only beaten by Estonia (1st). More than nine in ten expats enjoy high-speed internet access (93% vs. 79% globally), unrestricted access to online services (95% vs. 82% globally), and cashless payment options (93% vs. 84% globally). Another 86% are satisfied with the availability of government services online (vs. 61% globally).
In Finland, the local language is a bigger issue: 75% find learning Finnish difficult (vs. 38% globally), and 72% speak it just a little or not at all (vs. 35% globally). Luckily, 68% say that it is possible to live in Finland without speaking it, compared to 51% globally. It probably does not help that 21% perceive the population as unfriendly (vs. 17% globally).
“They take introversion to a whole new level. I met someone who has lived here for 40 years and she said it took her neighbor 14 years to talk to her regularly,” a US expat comments.
Norway offers a great working life. In the Work & Leisure Subcategory, it even lands in second place, right between its fellow Nordic countries Denmark (1st) and Sweden (3rd). Expats in Norway benefit from an amazing work-life balance, with 77% judging it favorably (vs. 62% globally).
Expats also appreciate the fact that Norway’s business culture supports flat hierarchies and independent work (71% happy vs. 45% globally) and that it promotes flexibility (78% happy vs. 60% globally). The most common sectors for expats working in Norway are IT as well as manufacturing and engineering (12% each).
Norway’s biggest weakness by far is the Ease of Settling In Index, where it ends up among the three worst-rated countries worldwide (50th). Only Sweden (51st) and Kuwait (52nd) do even worse. In fact, for each single rating factor surveyed in this index, Norway ranks among the bottom 10. Expats find it difficult to get used to the local culture (40% unhappy vs. 19% globally), and they do not feel welcome (29% unhappy vs. 16% globally). Over a third (34%) even describe the local population as generally unfriendly (vs. 17% globally), and they struggle with making local friends (61% unhappy vs. 37% globally).
Sweden performs best in the Working Abroad Index (8th), where it ranks third in the Salary & Job Security Subcategory, only behind Switzerland (1st) and Denmark (2nd). In fact, 89% of expats are satisfied with the state of the economy in Sweden (vs. 64% globally), and 73% rate their job security positively (vs. 59% globally).
In addition, expats vote Sweden third in the Work & Leisure Subcategory. They are not only pleased with their work-life balance (75% vs. 62% globally) but also with their working hours (77% vs. 63% globally). Interestingly, they only work slightly fewer hours per week than the average survey respondent (39.2 hours vs. 40.2 hours globally).
It ranks tenth for the affordability of healthcare (76% happy vs. 61% globally), but 24% of expats are unhappy with its availability (vs. 13% globally) because of long waiting lists.
Similar to the other Nordic countries, the problem in Sweden is the Ease of Settling In Index. Sweden scores 51st on the index, only ahead of Kuwait (52nd) the worst of all. Sweden is near the bottom in the Subcategory Local Friendliness (49th) and the expats rank the country second to last in the Finding Friends Subcategory (51st).
Iceland does not have its own country profile.
For its annual Expat Insider surveyInterNations asked 11,970 expats representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories to provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. Participants were asked to rate up to 56 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these aspects, considering both emotional topics and more factual aspects with equal weight. The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations for a total of 16 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up five topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Personal Finance, and Expat Essentials. These indices were further averaged together with expats’ general happiness with their life abroad in order to rank 52 expat destinations around the world. In 2022, the top 10 are Mexico, Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, Spain, the UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore.
To be featured in the indices and consequently in the overall ranking, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per destination was necessary.
With more than 4 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations is the largest global community and a source of information for people who live and work abroad. InterNations offers global and local networking and socializing, both online and face-to-face. At around 6,000 events and activities per month, expatriates have the opportunity to meet other global minds. Online services include discussion forums and helpful articles with personal expat experiences, tips, and information about life abroad. Membership is by approval only to ensure we remain a community of trust. InterNations is part of the New Work SE, a group of brands that offer products and services for a better working life.
Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand
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