The Best Countries for Expats in 2022

The last year has seen monumental change all across the globe. Many have tentatively begun to move forward from the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, and as the world has opened up once again, people have been enjoying the freedom to work, travel, and live in new areas.

Expatra has recently revealed the 10 countries for expats to live, with Switzerland topping the list thanks to its high quality of life and career prospects. Germany, Sweden, and France also all feature in the top 10, with expat favourites Australia and Dubai also making an appearance.

Below, we delve into the best countries for expats to live and work in 2022 and find out exactly what makes them such fantastic destinations.

1. Switzerland

Switzerland tops the list of best countries to live to expats, thanks to its excellent quality of life, gorgeous countryside, outstanding education system and exceptional healthcare for expats and locals alike.

Whilst Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries to live in the world, it has one of the highest average incomes in the world. This, combined with the superb career opportunities, means that those who have the skills and experience to work in Switzerland are likely to flourish there. In addition to this, public services and infrastructure are so well-maintained in Switzerland, that most expats feel that the high cost of living is justified.

Whilst Switzerland generally pays highly, there isn’t an expectation that work should become the main focus of your life. Instead, a healthy work/life balance is valued. People in Switzerland will often go home to eat lunch with their family and overtime is discouraged, with evenings and weekends strictly for personal time. Workers in Switzerland are legally entitled to four weeks paid holiday, plus public holidays, and companies strongly encourage employees to use their leave.

2. Germany

Germany, coming in second for the best countries for expats, offers a great quality of life. The country has a rich culture, good public transport and excellent healthcare and education systems. The cost of living can vary across the country, but major German cities are often cheaper than their equivalents in other European countries.

Expats will find it hugely beneficial to learn German and it can take some time to get used to the strict social rules. But once those hurdles are overcome, there are many benefits for expats living in Germany. For example, Germans enjoy a healthy work/life balance. They’re notorious for being one of the most productive countries in the world, but they generally work fewer hours than other countries in Europe. Most German employees enjoy 14 public holidays plus around 30 days paid leave.

Germans are famed for their active lifestyles, with free time often spent running, hiking, cycling or playing sport. Even the most urban areas will have open green spaces, providing a place to take part in sports or just relax, if that’s more your speed.

3. Australia

Australia is third in 2022’s best countries for expats list. It’s a hugely popular destination for expats searching for a better standard of living. The country is famed for its laidback lifestyle, beautiful weather nearly all year round, and gorgeous scenery and landscapes.

Australians benefit from both a good work/life balance and a friendly community culture. Generally, there is a culture of being fair and egalitarian, which can affect how people communicate with each other. In practice, it usually means that everyone will be given the same level of respect, regardless of their job or status.

With such a temperate climate, the Australian lifestyle is mostly driven by outdoor activities. Australians largely enjoy sports, both taking part and watching, especially Australian football, also known as Aussie rules. Combined with the beautiful landscapes, there are plenty of opportunities for expats to explore their new surroundings and learn about their environment.

4. Canada

Canada is a great destination for expats families, with a family-orientated and outdoorsy lifestyle, especially in the urban areas. The country is generally safe with low crime rates, and locals are friendly and polite. Canada has great schools and healthcare, and whilst taxes can be high, residents usually see the costs as being worth the public services and infrastructure.

Weather in Canada will be dependent on the season. Summers will be warm, but winters can be extremely cold. It’s advised that people spend at least one winter in the country before committing to moving. If the extreme weather doesn’t faze you, Canada offers spectacular landscapes, including lakes, mountains, and coastlines, providing ample space to explore and take part in activities.

5. Sweden

Sweden is another excellent destination for expat families. The country is renowned for great and affordable childcare and a family-focused lifestyle. Swedes benefit from 480 days of parental leave, which can be shared between the couple however they would like.

Sweden is generally known to take care of its residents, with fantastic infrastructure, as well as healthcare and education. This does mean that taxes and living costs can be high, but the quality of life that’s provided often makes up for it. Winters can be long, dark, and cold, especially the further north you go. However, in contrast, summers consist of long sunny and warm days. This is when Swedes will take advantage of the weather and the gorgeous countryside with an array of outdoor pursuits, including camping, boating and cycling.

6. Singapore

Singapore routinely features high in best countries for expats lists and this year it comes in sixth. Around 29% of the population consists of expats, and with such a large community, new expats often find it easy to settle in and enjoy the multi-cultural lifestyle.

The cost of living in Singapore can be high, but expats can enjoy modern facilities and a developed and well-maintained infrastructure. Expats also often find they still have more disposable income than they might have had back at home. Singapore has a low crime rate and is generally safe, even at night. The city-state enjoys year-round high temperatures, averaging between 22°C-34°C. The humidity can sometimes take some time to acclimatise to, and it can reach 100% during the monsoon season.

7. New Zealand

New Zealand is another popular destination for expats, especially from English-speaking countries, and it features at number seven in this year’s best countries list. The country is generally safe, with a high quality of life and array of natural beauty. New Zealand has been praised for its progressive government, which focuses on improving the wellbeing of its citizens. It’s also one of the least corrupt countries in the world, with minimal political scandals.

New Zealanders generally enjoy a good work/life balance and there is a focus on a relaxed lifestyle. The people are often friendly and tolerant as a result of the multi-cultural community. The cost of living is low, although this is usually combined with a lower-than-average salary. Still, expats will likely enjoy at least the same standard of living that they are used to at home.

8. France

France, at number eight in this year’s best countries list, offers expats a destination rich in culture and history. It’s a country particularly favoured by expat retirees and families, with a relaxed lifestyle and low crime rates. The cost of living can be lower than in other countries, especially in the more rural areas. The French healthcare system is one of the best in the world, with a choice of both public and private hospitals and clinics, and the quality of education is also high.

France offers expats a diverse landscape, from snowy mountains in the winter, to sunny coastlines, and vast green countryside. The country is also well known for its cuisine and fine wine, grown in local vineyards. French people enjoy a slower pace of life, which can take some getting used to for some expats.

9. Dubai

Dubai is officially not a country but an emirate of the UAE. But as the emirates have so many of their own specific regulations and ways of life, it has been made an exception to feature on the list of the best countries for expats. Dubai is hugely popular with professional expats, offering high salaries with no income tax and excellent career opportunities. It can be an expensive place to live, but people generally find they still have enough disposable income to spend on the lavish Dubai lifestyle.

Dubai is an Islamic country and whilst it is the most liberal of the emirates, it still has strict rules, regulations and restrictions that expats must adhere to. For example, it is illegal for unmarried couples to live together, and a license is needed to purchase alcohol. Once expats have adjusted to the cultural changes, they’ll enjoy a fast-paced and glamourous lifestyle. Dubai has a vibrant nightlife and a variety of entertainment on offer, including major parties and events.

10. Bahrain

Bahrain is an up-and-coming expat destination, offering career opportunities and high earning potential. It is one of the more liberal Gulf states, combining Islamic and English law. Modest dress is advised, but women do not have to cover their heads or wear floor-length robes. Most of the local Bahraini population don’t drink alcohol but it is easy to purchase at licensed stores.

The cost of living in Bahrain is increasing as it grows as an international hub, but it is still relatively low, especially when compared to the neighbouring states. Bahrain has less entertainment on offer, especially when compared with Dubai, but the slower pace of living is attractive to many people. Expats will find the locals and other expats friendly and welcoming, with many noting how easy it is to find friends and settle in.

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