For a combination of reasons — economic and political instability, for instance — people around the world are always looking to move to another country. Moving out of the country where one grew up for a strange land is a major life decision, one that could have a significant impact on one’s quality of life. As such, the process of choosing a destination country is usually overwhelming. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re thinking about moving abroad and you need some pointers as to which country to consider. We’re here to help with a list of five countries that expats love.
How We Compiled the List
Over the last four years, InterNations, a global expat network, has been conducting researches to offer comprehensive insights into the lives of expats globally. Called “Expat Insider,” the report typically ranks countries in order of how friendly they are to expats based on certain criteria including quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance and cost of living. InterNations collects its data by surveying expats globally. It released the most recent “Expat Insider” report in September of last year, in which it ranked 65 countries based on the criteria above. We believe that InterNations has already done a good job with the ranking, considering that the report was gathered based on the insight of expats who actually live in the ranked countries. To boil it down to our top five countries, we took the top ten countries in the 2017 “Expat Insider” report and considered their short-term and long-term economic and political outlook using information from The Economist Intelligence Unit, or EIU.
InterNations’ top 10 countries for expats are Bahrain, Costa Rica, Mexico, Taiwan, Portugal, New Zealand, Malta, Colombia, Singapore and, Spain — all in that order.
Here’s Our Top 5
Costa Rica: known for having one of the finest coffee beans in the world, Costa Rica also has some of the friendliest folks you’ll find around, at least, according to the expats that took the “Expat Insider” survey. While the country is set to hold an election in February of this year, the country’s policy predictability, makes it politically stable, drawing from EIU’s data. By translation, regardless of which political party wins, you can expect a smooth transition and continuity. In addition, the country, with its strong institutions and skilled labor, is estimated to see a strong economic growth over the next five years. Its long-term economic outlook is even stronger.
Colombia: Emeralds and tropical landscape are some of the natural reasons to want to move to Colombia, but a strong economic outlook is another reason for 2018. Its real GDP growth is estimated to reach 3.5 percent in 2022. What this means is that the country is likely to be in need of a more skilled workforce to satisfy the impending labor demand. While the country is set to go to the polls in May of this year, experts expect a continuity of the country’s macroeconomic policies in the aftermath.
Mexico: According to expats, Mexico is great for its ease of settling in, personal finance and low cost of living. A bonus point is that the local food “is to die for,” according to an expat living in Mexico. Granted, the country currently has some political and economic uncertainties based on the revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, as well as the upcoming presidential election in July of this year. Still, its long-term economic outlook is positive with an estimated 2.8 percent growth by 2030. Economic jargon aside, though, a place that’s as welcoming to foreigners as Mexico can make life a lot better.
Taiwan: One of the most interesting things about Taiwan is that the National Palace Museum in Taipei holds the largest collection of Chinese artifacts worldwide. The museum has over 650,000 items, but not more than 10,000 items are on display at any given time, giving people reasons to come back repeatedly. Some other things we like about Taiwan include its national health coverage, which is considered the best universal healthcare scheme in the world. The country also has a stable political landscape, with an ongoing agenda to make its policies stronger.
New Zealand: The country is popular for having an amazing landscape and culture, which is most likely part of the reasons expats like the country, but that’s not all there is to it. New Zealand also boasts a strong economy that has been growing on increased construction activity, a growing tourism space as well as an increasing inward migration. The country has just gone through a transition in government, with the Labour-NZ First coalition taking over from the National Party last October. Researchers at EIU expect the new government to embrace interventionism with a particular interest in improving its regional economy. This, again, will increase the demand for a more skilled workforce.
According to InterNations’ research, the five countries on this list are already attractive, but the short-term economic and political stability that they promise makes them look even more attractive for 2018, especially for expats who are looking to work abroad.