25 Best Countries for Expats

In this article, we take a look at the 25 best countries for expats. You can skip our detailed analysis of the expat community and go directly to the 10 Best Countries for Expats.

In 2022, the biggest share of expats who moved abroad were 60 years or older, at 18%indicating that the majority of expats living in other countries in the year were retirees. An ambitious surveyinvolving expats from 46 countries, has been carried out by HSBC in 2021, providing rich insights into expats’ lives, their views, outlook and their experiences after moving abroad.

The survey notes that 65% of the expats are optimistic about their decision to move abroad and four out of five do not intend to move back to their home country for the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, 67% of expats believe their quality of life has improved since relocating to another country, with 63% having their disposable income increased since relocating. Regardless, being an expat can be challenging, especially when it comes to settling in a new country.

The expat industry has a promising outlook, despite most countries around the world going through stagflationpreceded by “overcorrection” in pandemic stimulus packages, supply-chains disruption and increased energy prices. In this regard, Many countries are formulating policies to attract more and more foreigners.

For instance, the UAE cabinet approved the overhauling of the visa residency system in April 2022, adding many new visa options, and other amendments designed to attract wealthy expatriates from around the world. Other measures included an unemployment insurance schemewith the aim of enhancing the financial security of both expats and locals.

UAE has also eased its citizenship laws in 2021, allowing certain expats to be able to apply for citizenship in the country. Speaking of which, one of the biggest issues, when it comes to moving abroad, is obtaining citizenship. In this regard, Caribbean countries like St Kitts, St Lucia and Dominica offer quick citizenship through investment.

For instance, the application for citizenship can be processed in as little as three months in St Lucia after a minimum donation of $0.1 million is made to the country’s government. Other options include investing $0.2 million in St Lucia’s real estate or buying at least $0.3 million worth of government bonds.

Why Do Expats Move?

The reasons for expats move from their home country vary, with some moving for economic incentives like jobs, investments or tax friendly laws, while others, for education, leisure, retirement and/or cultural and geographical exploration.

Our research shows that people usually leave their countries for places that have a lower cost of living with better economic development.

Another important reason why expats move abroad is job prospects in the recipient country. Although globalization has limited this motivation to some extent, major companies have become global, with a worldwide presence.

However, there are still countries where many of the major companies like Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have no presence.

For instance, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) operates in only 50 countries, while Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has a presence in only 13 countries. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has the biggest global presence out of the three, but it is still deprived of talent from a few territories and other countries.

With that said, let’s move on to the 25 best countries for expats.

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Our Methodology

We have defined ‘best countries for expats’ as ones which are highly regarded by expats, as well as experts in global traveling/immigration domain. To this end, we’ve looked at three reports for our list. These include the HSBC’s 2021 Expat Explorer League Tablewhich is based on a survey of expats from around the world, InterNations’ 2022 Expat Insider reportand CEO of the World’s 2022 Global Mobility Report.

We picked the countries that ranked in at least two of the above reports and then based on their rankings out of the total countries these reports covered, we assigned them a score for each report. For example, if a country ranked 10th out of 30 countries in one report, we calculated its score by dividing its ranking with the total number of countries covered in that report.

Finally, we calculated the average of the countries’ scores based on these reports and ranked them in our list in an ascending order of high average scores. For countries with the same average score, we’ve used the number of lists they appeared in as the tiebreaker.

25. China

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.41

InterNations Report Score: 0.38

CEO World Report Score: 0.52

Average Score: 0.44

China has a huge expat community. People from all around the world are moving to the country, owing to its rising development, relatively low cost of living compared to advanced economies and huge business opportunities. According to China Briefing, expats from South Korea comprise the biggest share of the expat community in China, at 21%, followed by Americans, at 12%, and Japanese, at 11%.

24. Ireland

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.55

InterNations Report Score: 0.28

CEO World Report Score: 0.60

Average Score: 0.47

Ireland attracts expats, especially for business reasons. It has a low corporate tax rate of 12.5%, and Ireland is one of the top countries when it comes to investment inflows. In 2021, the net investment inflows comprised 19.2% of the country’s GDP, making it a financially attractive country to move to.

Speaking of which, moving to Ireland is also relatively easy, especially for wealthy expats who have a minimum net worth of $2 million. There are three investment routes and a philanthropic route to move to the country.

Foreigners wanting to move through the investment route are either required to invest at least $1 million in an Irish Enterprise for at least three years, or the same amount in an Irish investment fund for the same period, or invest at least $2 million in an Irish Real Estate Investment Fund (REIT) for at least three years.

23. New Zealand

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.94

InterNations Report Score: 0.03

CEO World Report Score: 0.50

Average Score: 0.49

New Zealand is one of the best countries for expats, due to several reasons. It is regarded as the best country to move to when it comes to the future outlook, and the second best for lifestyle. As of 2021, more than a quarter of New Zealand’s population is estimated to be foreign-born.

New Zealand has a thriving business environment, and apart from its native companies, it is also home to major foreign corporations employing both natives and foreigners in New Zealand. These include the likes of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).

22.United States

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.027

InterNations Report Score: 0.75

CEO World Report Score: 0.70

Average Score: 0.492

The United States is one of the top expat destinations because of its multicultural attractiveness, business opportunities and geography. It is especially attractive when it comes to the American Dream, and many expats from around the world move to the US to achieve business success. In that regard, it is also one of the best countries to start a business, and accounts for 41% of the global equity.

21. France

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.44

InterNations Report Score: 0.42

CEO World Report Score: 0.68

Average Score: 0.51

France is a popular expat destination for its historical and cultural heritage. France is one of the most culturally influential countries in the world. As of 2018, 10% of the population in the country was foreign-born.

20. Netherlands

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.72

InterNations Report Score: 0.59

CEO World Report Score: 0.32

Average Score: 0.54

The Netherlands is home to a huge expat community, and a significant number of them are concentrated in Amsterdam. The Netherlands attracts expats from all around the world.

19. Qatar

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.75

InterNations Report Score: 0.51

CEO World Report Score: 0.38

Average Score: 0.55

Qatar has a hot job market, which is why it’s one of the best destinations for expats looking for high-paying job opportunities. Additionally, many expats move to the country for business, owing to Qatar’s low corporate tax rate of 10%.

18. Indonesia

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.16

InterNations Report Score: 0.98

CEO World Report Score: 0.56

Average Score: 0.56

Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia, and is loved by expats from around the region for its future outlook. FDI in the country was grown by 64% in the third quarter of 2022, on a year-on-year basis. The cost of living in Indonesia is lower relative to Western economies, despite having high human development.

17. Estonia

InterNations Report Score: 0.80

CEO World Report Score: 0.42

Average Score: 0.61

Estonia is highly attractive when it comes to moving to it for business. It has a thriving economy, high trade openness and economic freedom, and undistributed profits are not taxed in the country.

16. Oman

InterNations Report Score: 0.78

CEO World Report Score: 0.46

Average Score: 0.62

Oman is located in the southeast of Saudi Arabia. It is loved by expats for the high-paying job opportunities. As of 2020, 40% of Oman’s population is made up of expats employed in the country.


InterNations Report Score: 0.61

CEO World Report Score: 0.66

Average Score: 0.63

The Philippines is located in Southeast Asia. Its low cost of living, friendly citizens and climate make it one of the best countries for expats.

14. Malaysia

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.33

InterNations Report Score: 0.67

CEO World Report Score: 0.88

Average Score: 0.63

Malaysia is considered the seventh best country for expats according to the CEO World. The cost of living in the country is lower than that of Western economies, but Malaysia has a sophisticated infrastructure and high human development.

13. Mexico

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 0.138

InterNations Report Score: 1

CEO World Report Score: 0.94

Average Score: 0.69

Mexico is loved by expats for several reasons, with two of them being the low cost of living and access to quality healthcare. Further, Mexico has an excellent future economic outlook, with the country expected to hugely benefit from deglobalization and shifting US supply chains.

In fact, Mexico is already benefiting from it. When the Chinese exports to the US dropped by 17% in 2019, due to the trade war, Mexico gained 16% in trade from the lost Chinese share.

12. Czech Republic

InterNations Report Score: 0.63

CEO World Report Score: 0.78

Average Score: 0.70

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe, and is increasingly becoming one of the best countries for expats, owing to its business climate, job market and a cost of living which is lower than average, compared to Western Europe.

11. Switzerland

HSBC Explorer Survey Score: 1

InterNations Report Score: 0.65

CEO World Report Score: 0.58

Average Score: 0.74

Switzerland is the best country for wealthy expats, due to one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, at 8.5%. The country is also known for its beautiful landscapes and mountain ranges.

Click to continue reading and see the 10 Best Countries for Expats.

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Disclosure: none. 25 Best Countries for Expats is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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