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The Best (and Worst) Expat Countries Revealed

MaltaLeading expat resource website InterNations has revealed the best – and worst – places for expats.

Their annual “Expat Insider” study aims to rank destinations on a wide range of metrics including job satisfaction, career prospects, work-life balance, political stability and personal safety. Combining all the scores provided by expats in each country allows InterNations to create a “league table” of the best places for expats.

As always, this detailed study makes for some fascinating reading.

Ecuador once again takes the title for the best expat destination, offering as it does stunning pristine countryside, a surprisingly low cost of living and excellent stability and safety. Ecuador also boasts an enviable climate that is liveable year-round, and a healthcare service that many expats rate very highly indeed.

Second place goes to Mexico – up from position three last year. Once again Mexico benefits from a pleasant climate with enough diversity that most expats can find an area suitable for them. With the deep blue seas, long sunny days and sandy beaches, not to mention a seemingly never-ending supply of historic monuments to visit, Mexico has a lot to offer expats.

It is perhaps the number three position which offers the greatest surprise to anyone that has been following this study for the last few years. Malta has proudly been announced as the third best destination for expats; truly an impressive feat for a country that didn’t even feature on the list a few years ago.

Malta was particularly commended for the job satisfaction and career prospects enjoyed by expats living in this Mediterranean idyll. Expats also report the ease with which they settled into their new home, with many reporting no major problems communicating in English (rather than the native Maltese language).

As always, it would be remiss of us not to examine those countries which fared less well. While the InterNations study only examines expat life in 64 countries around the world, it is Kuwait which came very bottom. Here expats found it particularly difficult to integrate with the local population. Kuwait also sadly scored poorly on the quality of life area.

Second to bottom – at position 63 out of 64 countries studied – comes Greece. This should hardly be surprising due to the economic turmoil being experienced in the country. The austerity measures mean that unemployment rates are high (and job security is low). Equally, expats report that the costs of living are comparatively high, leading to a low quality of life.

Nigeria ranks third from bottom, which is surprising when one considers what an economic powerhouse this dynamic African nation is becoming. Sadly there are numerous niggles reported by expats, including poor personal security and national infrastructure. Political stability is also a major concern for many expats.

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