Taiwan, Mexico, Costa Rica and Portugal are rated the best places to live for expats while Italy, India and South Africa are among the worst

  • Taiwan topped the Expat Inside 2021 Survey for the third years in a row, with expats praising their job security and the state of the local economy
  • Mexico and Costa Rica ranked second and third as best places to live and work
  • But Italy, India, Kuwait and South Africa viewed as worst destinations for expats with many not feeling at home in the countries 

Taiwan, Mexico, Costa Rica and Portugal have been ranked as the best places to live in the world for expats based on their cost of living, quality of life and ease of settling in. 

Meanwhile India, Italy, and South Africa are viewed as the worst destinations for living and working with many expats not feeling at home in the countries while others are dissatisfied with their financial situation, according to a new survey.

Taiwan topped the Expat Insider 2021 Survey for the third year in a row, with expats praising their job security and the state of the local economy.  

A staggering 96 per cent of the 12,420 expats surveyed by InterNations, a Munich-based expat network, commended the medical care they receive in Taiwan and a further 94 per cent said they were satisfied with its affordability. 

Taiwan topped the Expat Insider 2021 Survey for the third year in a row, with expats praising their job security and the state of the local economy. Pictured: Taroko gorge in Taiwan

An expat from Chile said: ‘The Taiwanese healthcare system truly considers people as human beings instead of mere numbers.’ 

Meanwhile, 96 per cent of expats described the Taiwanese population as friendly towards foreign residents, compared with 67 per cent globally. 

Mexico and Costa Rica ranked second and third as the best place to live and work, with both countries being praised for being east to settle in to. 

Expats said they found it easy to settle down and make friends in the two nations – a feat which can be intimidating for those relocating their lives. 

Meanwhile Portugal ranked fifth as the best place to live and work in the world – just after Malaysia – with expats loving the climate and weather as well as the local leisure options. 

Mexico and Costa Rica ranked second and third as the best place to live and work, with both countries being praised for being east to settle in to. Pictured: Medano beach, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Expats said they found it easy to settle down and make friends in the Mexico and Costa Rica – a feat which can be intimidating for those relocating their lives. Pictured: Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica

The Covid-19 pandemic was of particular concern for expats this year, with 45 per cent of respondents saying the virus had an impact on their time abroad or plans to relocate abroad. 

But InterNations said the pandemic-related findings had not impacted countries’ overall rankings in the survey. 

For Kuwait, the survey results couldn’t have been worse as it was ranked the worst destination for expats to live and work for the seventh time in eight years. 

Expats in the Middle Eastern county were unhappy with their overall quality of life and 58 per cent were unhappy with the poor local leisure options. 

The country came last in terms of the ease of settling in as 47 per cent of expats did not feel at home in the culture and 45 per cent found it difficult to settle down in Kuwait. 

It also ranked last for friendliness and 31 per cent said they were dissatisfied with their job. 

For Kuwait, the survey results couldn’t have been worse as it was ranked the worst destination for expats to live and work for the seventh time in eight years. Pictured: Kuwait City, Kuwait

Italy was ranked as the second worst place for expats to live with workers particularly frustrated with their poor financial situation. One in three expats said their disposable household income is not enough to cover their expenses, compared to 23 per cent globally. 

A staggering 56 per cent of the expats said the local career opportunities were poor in Italy. ‘Finding a job is not easy for foreigners, not even for the well-educated ones,’ an Iranian expat said.

India, which is grappling with a second wave of coronavirus, ranked in the bottom ten countries in the survey. 

Despite a high 82 per cent of expats saying they are happy with their financial situation, the quality of life in the country pulls it down. Expats said the air quality, water and sanitation infrastructure makes them unhappy. 

South Africa came 57 out of 59 destinations, with expats saying they do not ahve enough disposable income to cover all of their expenses and less than a third said they are happy with the state of the local economy. 

Expats also viewed the country as unsafe, with just 24 per cent feeling safe. ‘You are not able to walk around safely,’ said one Ethiopian expat.      

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