The Most Welcoming Countries to Expats

Source: SolStock / Getty Images

Expats are people living outside of their native country. The reasons they are doing so include jobs and career, lifestyle choices, education, and for love and family.

For many expats, the decision to live in a particular country might stem from having visited it on vacation and enjoyed the experience so much that they want to stay there for an extended amount of time. These are the most tourist-friendly countries in the world.

When people choose to live outside of their home country, chances are they do so for a long time. According to the latest InterNations survey, “Expat Insider 2018: The World Through Expat Eyes,” 32% of respondents planned to live in another nation possibly forever, and another 19% intended to live in their adopted country for five years or longer.

If you were to take a snapshot of a typical expat, it is slightly more likely to be a woman, in her mid-40s with a university degree, in a relationship, and without dependent children abroad.

Where do expats go and why? The InterNations’ fifth annual survey addressed those questions and others in its latest survey. A total of 18,135 expats participated in the survey. They represented 178 nationalities living in 187 countries or territories. The higher number of respondents boosted the number of expat destinations to 68 in the overall rankings. Participants were asked to rate up to 48 factors regarding living abroad on a scale of 1 to 7. Respondents’ ratings were then combined into 17 subcategories and their mean values were used to create five indices — quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, and personal finance.

Eight of the top 15 nations were in Latin America and Asia. Panama, Ecuador, and Australia — all top 15 nations on the survey — had the most dramatic improvement from the previous rankings, all of them rising by at least 22 positions. Countries that fell in the latest survey included Switzerland, Sweden, Romania, and Hong Kong, all of which tumbled by at least 17 positions, and obviously not among the top 15 most welcoming nations for expats.

The United States did not fare well in the survey, coming in 47th out of 68 countries. America declined in all five of the survey’s indices. Expats found America’s health-care system difficult to navigate and the cost of living in the United States is high. There were also concerns among expats about political stability in the United States. This was a contributing factor as to why some nations don’t like the United States — these are the countries with the most and least disrespect for America.