Complex Made Simple

The most – and the least – welcoming countries for expats revealed

A recent survey conducted by InterNations, a global network and information site for people who live and work abroad, showed how welcoming each nation is to expatriates.

Bahrain topped Canada, Cyprus, and Oman in the survey.

Read: Emirates’ bittersweet landing in Oman

UAE in the top 20

UAE was named the ninth most friendly country for expats in the world back in 2015, according to HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey conducted that year.

Dubai is a very financially trusted country thriving on native visions that have propelled the emirate in good and challenging times, with non-oil strategies, countries are trying to replicate.

Though it fell back to 15 in this survey, the emirate has been the long-term home for many expats who outnumber locals (expats 93%), attracted by financial safe havens.

Reported by Focus Economics, the GDP is expected to grow to 2.8% this year despite regional turmoil; it is no wonder why expats want to stay here.

Read more on why Dubai’s GDP is growing: Dubai’s rail extension projects becoming real with Metro funds inflows

Here are your top 5 according to the survey:

1- Portugal: Reported as the friendliest country with expats making friends quickly. The friendly attitude here is rated highly by 94% of expats while most of them live there forever.   

2-Taiwan: Coming in second, Taiwan is going strong with 86% of expats reporting exceptional friendly attitude from the locals. Festivals here are said to be extravagant. The “Taiwan Lantern Festivaloffers a lot to be seen and many opportunities for expats and locals to meet and discuss common interests.

 3-Mexico: 81% of expats find the country extremely easy to settle down in; others said the country’s locals are very friendly and easy going. The culture is also very easy to get used to, expats said. 

4-Cambodia: This country is not only very welcoming but also it currently holds the top spot on how easy it is for expats to settle down. 

5-Bahrain: “Bahrain is a beautiful melting pot of many different cultures,” said an expat who moved from the US, but only 11% want to stay here forever. Expats moving from places that are more liberal will experience a culture shock here because of its conservative ways, as per ExpatFocus’ research.

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Now, here are your worst 5!

1-Kuwait: In recent years expats have been put under the bus by many Government officials. Safaa Al Hashem, a female member of parliament, has been seeking to make the country 100% kuwaitized, with accusations that 30,000 locals have forged their citizenship and handing punishments such as detaining and fining them over $80,000. Hashem is also exorbitant towards expats getting a driver’s license, with steep renewal fees. However, a recent investment forum was beckoning Foreign Direct Investments into Kuwait to the tune of $200bn.

 2-Austria: Only 5% expats describe the country in a friendly way, and many state that locals are both unfriendly and unhappy. Also, taxation is high starting at 25% for locals and expat levies can go up to 50%.

 3-Switzerland: Many expats are reporting that the cost of living here is too high, as published by Numbeo. Rent here for a 1-bedroom room is about $1,500, while food costs about $24 per day. Salaries, on the other hand, average $5,000 a month.

 4-Czech Republic: Expats reported a few things that were bad here. First, 82% expats said that learning the language was a lot more difficult than many other countries; making it very difficult to make friends. Second, 54% said their annual income is often lower than back home. With all that being said, many expats have reported that living here with their families was relatively a good option; the country is very safe.

 5-Finland: “The Fins are cold,” said an expat in 2017; that said there isn’t a warm welcome in sight here, but that is both the local’s fault and the difficulty in learning the language with 55% saying they found it difficult to get by without learning the language.