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For the past three years, expat network InterNations have released Expat Insider. It is one of the largest expat surveys in the world and encapsulates the analysis of expat life in over 60 countries. In the most recent 2016 study, the survey received 14,000 respondents from 191 countries or territories who were happy to comment on their lives abroad.
The 14,000 respondents were asked to rate several elements of their lives abroad, from health and personal happiness, to leisure options and quality of transport. Those who took part in the research had their numbers for each category tallied up to give an overall quality of life score for each country.
We previously reported that Taiwan had come out on top as the world’s best destination for expat quality of life. However, the survey also saw some previously poor ranking countries rise and some usual top contenders fall down the scale.
In 2015 Vietnam ranked in a mediocre 35th place but the recent survey saw it sky-rocket to just outside the top 10, in 11th place. It has risen an astonishing 24 places due to its gains in the Working Abroad category and Settling In category.
Furthermore, 19% of expats reported a satisfying work-life balance, compared to just 13% last year. Because of this, 75% of expats in Vietnam are now claiming they are content with their jobs, compared to just 61% in 2015.
Year on year, Uganda has improved on its Expat Insider ranking. In 2016, it jumped up 20 places, making it the best country for expats wishing to move to Africa. Uganda’s best result came in the Ease of Settling In index, where it came 2nd in the Friendliness subcategory. A vast 94% of respondents living in Uganda championed the friendly population.
Uganda also saw positive growth in rankings for Working Abroad and Personal Finance categories. Expats in the African country are much more satisfied with their work-life balance compared to 2015, with 68% expressing their happiness with their working hours.
Other countries which saw encouraging booms in standings were Finland (up 19 places), Cyprus (17), Spain (16), and Colombia (13). However, not all countries were blessed with such wonderful placements.
After sitting in a very respectable 19th place in 2015, the UAE has fallen from grace, dropping 21 places to be ranked 40th. Worryingly, the Arab Gulf state has tumbled in all categories, noticeably In Working Abroad (21st to 36th place) and Cost of Living (37th to 51st place).
However, the biggest hit for the UAE came in the Job Security subcategory, for which 52% of expats in 2015 said the state of the economy was excellent. This year, however, this statistic has dwindled to 26%. Expats also expressed concern in the Feeling Welcome and Friendliness subcategories, for which the UAE lost rankings.
Coming in the bottom 20% of all countries featured in the survey is Indonesia, falling an overwhelming 20 places. Back in 2014 Indonesia stood in 20th place, declined to 32nd place in 2015, and has ended up in 52nd in 2016. Indonesia used to be one of the top-ranking countries in the Friendliness subcategory and Ease of Settling In index but this has plummeted in 2016. Once taking the 5th spot for Ease of Settling In, Indonesia now sits in 18th place, and only 44% believe the local population are friendly.
Rankings for the country have fallen across the board; falling 10 places in the Working Abroad category and the Cost of Living category. Expats are displeased with the cost of living and career prospects.
Other countries surveyed that had slid down the scale are Hong Kong (down 18 places), Malaysia (17 places), Switzerland (17 places) and Ireland (16 places).
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