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Mexico Reigns Supreme in Expat Eyes

by | Jul 10, 2023

Mexico – a longtime favourite of the globally mobile workforce – has been ranked as the world’s best destination for expats in this year’s survey by InterNations.

The Expat Insider survey, now in its tenth year, is based on responses from more than 12,000 expats in 53 countries, who give their verdict in categories covering quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, personal finance, and the Expat Essentials Index, which includes housing, administration, language and digital life.

InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with more than 4.8 million members, ranked Spain, Panama, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Bahrain, and Portugal in this year’s top ten behind Mexico.

On the other hand, the ten worst destinations for expats were judged to be bottom-placed Kuwait followed by Norway, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, South Africa, Italy, Malta, New Zealand and Japan.

“Mexico’s top performance might not come as a surprise, as the country has ranked in the top five since the first survey was conducted in 2014,” reported InterNations.

“And throughout the 10 years of the Expat Insider survey, Mexico has always ranked among the best in the Ease of Settling In Index (1st in 2023). Expats have consistently enjoyed the local friendliness (1st): most find the local residents to be friendly in general (91% vs. 67% globally) and towards foreign residents in particular (89% vs. 65% globally).”

The report, published today, also found that three-quarters of expats in Mexico had no problem in making local friends and a similar proportion were happy with the cost of living. On the negative side, Mexico ranked only 45th for political stability, and 18 per cent of expats said they did not feel safe there, more than double the global average.

Second-placed Spain is another nation that has consistently proved popular in the survey and has always ranked in the top ten of the Quality of Life Index. “For example, the country has consistently featured among the best worldwide for its leisure options,” said InterNations.

Panama, in third place, is highly rated as a nation where it is easy to feel at home, despite concerns over job security, while fourth ranked Malaysia performs exceptionally well in the Personal Finance Index.

At the other end of the table, Kuwait ranks last in the survey, reflecting “a trend of very poor performances across the past ten years of the survey”. InterNations commented: “The country ranks last globally for quality of life. Expats are especially unhappy with their leisure options. And about half feel like they cannot openly express themselves and their opinions, more than triple the global average.”

Norway is rated as only slightly better and is adjudged to be “unfriendly and expensive”, while 51st placed Turkey is criticised for its long working hours and low job satisfaction.

As for the UK, it comes in at 43rd with “expats still satisfied with their work life abroad but struggle with their financial situation and the overall quality of life”. InterNations said: “Expats love their working life and the business culture in the UK, but they are worried about the country’s economy and struggle with their personal finances.

“Though the UK is doing OK — albeit not great — with regard to Expat Essentials and the Ease of Settling In, its performance is much worse when it comes to the Quality of Life. Expats are especially dissatisfied with the healthcare services.

“Despite their evident worries about the British economy, expats still believe that moving to the UK has improved their own career prospects. Another 64 per cent view their personal job opportunities positively. What’s more, they enjoy the flexibility, creativity and flat hierarchies that the UK’s business culture offers.”

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