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Best and worst cities for expats in 2022


The Covid-19 pandemic, The Great Resignation in the United States, the digital nomad visas being rolled out in many countries and international teleworking are realities that are boosting and facilitating the international mobility of workers in the current scenario.

Which were the best places for expats in 2022? And the worst? To answer these questions, we report the Expat Insider 2022 ranking produced by InterNations in which 11,970 participants from 177 different nationalities were surveyed.

Quality of life, ease of establishment, quality of work, salary, digitalization, housing and personal finances are the major factors taken into account when compiling the ranking.

Which are the best countries for expats?

Ease of establishment and personal finances make of Mexico the best destination for expatriates Moreover, this country ranks first in the subcategories of “local friendliness”, “finding friends”, “culture” and “best welcome”.

In second place in the ranking of best countries according to expats we find Indonesia, mainly because of the great ease of establishment and finding housing in the country, with the vast majority claiming to be happy with their personal finances (in fact, 73% of expats in Indonesia have a positive view of the cost of living).

Taiwan takes bronze for best country according to expats. Respondents highlight the country’s huge quality of life, convenience, safety, health and wellbeing in general. As for the country's social life, 84% says Taiwanese locals are especially friendly.

Rest of the top 10:

  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • Singapore

Which are the best cities for expats?

The study conducted by InterNations indicates that Valencia is the highest-rated city by expats for both living and working. In addition, respondents highlighted safety as well as ease of establishment in this Spanish city.

Another major factor in making Valencia the top-ranked city for expats is sociability: 72% of expats surveyed says they are happy with their social life. As for finances, 83% said they were satisfied.

Dubai ranks second in this ranking of expat-favorite cities. 88% agrees that it is easy to deal with government agencies. They also highlight the work of the country’s Administration.

The report notes that, overall, expats in Dubai are happy with their social life (68%) and feel welcome (81%). Dubai respondents also highlight culture, nightlife, culinary variety and extensive dining options.

Third in the ranking we find Mexico City which, according to expats, stands out as friendly and affordable but unsafe. According to those surveyed, this city is the easiest place in which to settle. 82% feels happy and welcome, while 87% feels that local residents are friendly.

Expats in Mexico City are the most satisfied in terms of personal finances. They are also happy with the job opportunities this city provides.

For the majority of respondents in Mexico City, housing is easy to find and is affordable. However, according to respondents, Mexico City does not excel in climate, safety and security and protection. In fact, approximately one in three respondents does not feel entirely safe in the city.

Rest of the top 15:

  • Lisbon
  • Madrid
  • Bangkok
  • Basel
  • Melbourne
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Singapore
  • Tallinn
  • Miami
  • Sydney
  • Barcelona
  • Nairobi

What do expats in Spain think and appreciate?

First of all, respondents rate quality of life very highly and point out that Spain stands out for the great variety of leisure activities it offers. They appreciate sport, culture and nightlife. Nine out of ten also highlight the great culinary variety as well as dining options.

66% rate the sunny weather in Spain, while 84% mention the quality of Spanish healthcare.

Additionally, 93% is happy with the travel options available and 91% highlights the rural environment.

Specifically, the report drawn up by Internations indicates that the happiness levels of expatriates in Spain stands at 83% (the overall level is 71%).

More data confirm that Spain is one of the favorite destinations for expats:

  • Spain ranks 1st out of 52 in terms of quality of life (travel opportunities, environment, climate, safety, health and wellbeing, etc.)
  • Number 10 out of 52 in terms of ease of establishment in the country (this factor takes into account the friendliness of the Spanish, the ease of making new friends. etc.)
  • 11th out of 52 in personal finances (financial satisfaction, overall cost of living, etc.)
  • 14th out of 52 in terms of what the report calls “essential elements for expatriates” (digital life, language, accommodation, etc.)
  • It ranks 37th out of 52 in terms of “working index” (career opportunities, salary, job security, culture and job satisfaction, etc.)

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