Internations Reveals The Best and Worst Places For Expats in 2017

It’s all change amongst the top 3 nations in the world that are most popular with expats, according to a survey released earlier this year by Internations, the global expat networking platform and events organiser. 

None of 2016’s top 3 retained their spot in 2017, whilst the world’s highest rated destination this year has made the jump from 19th to 1st spot.

Bahrain is clearly doing something right when it comes to making foreigners feel at home, because the gulf state kingdom sits atop 2017’s table.

  1. Bahrain – friendly, family friendly and great working environment

According to Internations “Bahrain really excels in making expats feel at home”. As well as being ranked number 1 in the Ease of Settling In index, Bahrain ranked second in the Jobs and Career index, and third in the Working Abroad index.

Bahrain also ranked second for work/life balance, although some expats did express concern about the state of the Kingdom’s economy; it ranked 25th, and only achieved 18th place in the category of job security.

Besides having a respectable cost of living score, placing 28th, whilst the improvements in its personal finance resources saw it jump by 13 places to claim 13th spot, expats in Bahrain agreed that it is a family friendly place, where most people speak English, saving new residents the hassle of having to learn a new language straight away.

Bahrain improved from 34th place to 10th for Family Life, and came 1st for family life in general. Its score for quality of education also increased, seeing it rise to 6th on the list.

Bahrain got the thumbs up from its expats, with survey respondents calling the Kingdom “a melting pot of many different cultures”, and 32% seeing themselves staying for more than 5 years.

2. Costa Rica: Quite simply, a paradise on Earth

The second and third spots in Internation’s Best Places survey were both taken by Latin American countries, with Costa Rica just nosing ahead of Mexico.

Costa Rica’s climate, the warmth of its people, and its “Pura Vida” vibe were extremely popular with expats, but Costa Rica also scored highly for Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In and Family Life, placing within the top 10 for all 3 categories.

Costa Rica is amongst the places where expats mingle most happily with locals, with 63% saying that their social circles were a mix of locals and other expats. The country has also improved its scores in Quality of Education and the Personal Finance Index.

Many expats who had made the move to Costa Rica were of retirement age, and they appreciated the slower pace of life and relaxed vibe. For those seeking to live abroad, Costa Rica offers a blissful existence, although it may be too remote, and unhurried, for the younger crowd looking to further their careers.

  1. Mexico; everything you need and more!

The last place in the top 3 goes to Mexico; this is a country that has never ranked outside the top 5 in Internations Expat Insider Surveys!

Mexico scores consistently highly for Ease of Settling In, Personal Finance and Cost of Living. It also scores very highly for happiness, and the friendliness of its inhabitants. The country offers good weather, plenty of leisure activities, and many opportunities for career enhancement in its major cities.

Most expats in Mexico are satisfied with the country’s financial situation, and more than three quarters of expats felt that the cost of living was a potential benefit before they moved.

And the bottom three?

It seems that, for expats, Kuwait, Greece and Nigeria are the three places to avoid!

Both Kuwait and Greece have found themselves at the bottom of the Internation’s league of nations for four consecutive years, whilst since 2015, Nigeria has joined them.

Oh dear – in Greece, household income is a problem, with more than a quarter of respondents saying they do not earn enough to get by. Kuwait has managed not to come dead last in the latest list, but that is about that can be said for its overall performance; quality of life, good leisure activities and happiness are hard to come by there, say survey respondents.

And it is a similar story in Nigeria; the country places last in 3 categories out of the five used to build the Index. Travel and Transport, Health, and Well Being. One third of expat respondents did give their financial situation top marks, however, and 21% said that have a lot more disposable income than they need.

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Expats move abroad for a variety of different reasons, be it to see more of the world, for work, family, retirement, or education. No two expats will have the same opinion about anything – of that you can be sure – so don’t be put off a destination just because it is not everybody’s cup of tea. But for the remainder of 2017 at least, in Internations respondents’ eyes, Bahrain is cock of the walk.

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