The ultimate expat guide: Discover the top 13 countries for international living
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As they say, the more you travel, the more you learn. If you can do so and feel it is time to spread your wings but still unsure where to go next, here are the top 13 countries for expats to settle in.
Hold your horses, we know you are excited to discover and build a new life and experience in a new country; but there are several important factors that you need to consider before moving into a new country; such as a country’s quality of life, safety, job opportunities and a few other vital factors.
That is why we have listed the 13 best expat countries in the world along with a detailed look at the key factors mentioned above.
- New Zealand
- United Arab Emirates
- Costa Rica
Singapore is a small island nation located in Southeast Asia, known for its vibrant economy, cultural diversity, and high quality of life. For many years, it has been a popular destination for expats looking for a safe and prosperous place to live and work. In this overview, we will explore why Singapore is considered one of the most liveable countries for expats.
Quality of life in Singapore
According to the latest 2023 Numbeo Quality of Life Index, Singapore is ranked 28th in the world for quality of life. Singapore has a strong economy and a thriving job market. The country is home to numerous multinational corporations, and many expats come to Singapore for work opportunities. In addition, the government has made significant investments in infrastructure, education, and healthcare, ensuring that residents have access to high-quality services and amenities.
Cost of living in Singapore
According to WorldData, the cost of living in Singapore is relatively affordable; ranking at 32 globally. On top of that, due to its high-income status, Singapore has one of the highest purchasing power in the world. Besides the expensive properties and private transportation; the efficient public transportation, world-class amenities, and insanely cheap food made Singapore an affordable and convenient place to live.
Job opportunities in Singapore
Singapore ranks the best country in the world for conducting business and according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Singapore ranks 2nd in the world for its ability to attract and retain highly skilled workers.
The job opportunities in Singapore are massive, with the country consistently ranked as one of the top destinations for expats in terms of career prospects. According to the latest data obtained from the Ministry of Manpower (MoM), Singapore has a relatively low unemployment rate — in 2022 there was only a 2.1% unemployment rate overall.
In addition, Singapore also sees five consecutive quarters of positive employment since 2021, indicating a consistent job market for both locals and expats. More importantly, Singapore has always been friendly to foreign talent and they have recently introduced Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) pass among other steps that make hiring expats easier in response to the tight labour market.
Safety and security in Singapore
Singapore ranks first in the 2022 Safety Perceptions Index and is also one of the top 10 most peaceful countries in the 2022 Global Peace Index, making Singapore one of the safest countries to live and travel.
One key factor that contributes to Singapore’s safety is its efficient and effective police force. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is highly respected for its professionalism and dedication to maintaining public safety. The SPF operates a robust surveillance system and uses cutting-edge technology to track and prevent criminal activities.
Additionally, the government invests heavily in maintaining the country’s infrastructure and public spaces, which helps to ensure that accidents and incidents are kept to a minimum. The country also has a highly efficient healthcare system, which helps to ensure that citizens and expats receive timely and high-quality medical care if needed.
Canada is consistently ranked as one of the most livable countries in the world, making it an attractive destination for expats seeking a high quality of life. The country offers a welcoming and inclusive society, diverse cultural opportunities, and a range of outdoor activities. It is also known for its high standard of education and healthcare systems, as well as its stable economy and political environment.
Quality of life in Canada
According to the 2023 Numbeo Quality of Life Index, Canada ranks 11th globally. In terms of specific factors that contribute to the quality of life, Canada is known for its excellent healthcare system, high standard of education, and relatively low crime rate.
One of the key factors that contribute to Canada’s livability is its emphasis on social welfare and public services. The country has a universal healthcare system that provides citizens and permanent residents with free medical care, and a social security system that provides financial support to those in need. The education system is also highly regarded, with a strong emphasis on public education that is accessible to all.
Cost of living in Canada
According to WorldData, Canada is not exactly an affordable country, ranking at 18 globally and is slightly more expensive to live in compared to the United States. Moreover, Canada’s purchasing power is lower than the United States by 35% as well.
While the cost of living in Canada can be relatively high, it is important to consider the high quality of life and the range of social welfare programs and public services that are available to expats. These programs, which include universal healthcare, affordable education, and public transportation, can help to offset some of the costs associated with living in Canada.
Job opportunities in Canada
According to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Canada ranks 15th in the world for its ability to attract and retain highly skilled workers. Canada has a highly educated workforce, excellent infrastructure, and a stable political environment, which makes it an attractive destination for investors. The unemployment rate in Canada has also remained relatively low in recent years, with a rate of 5.0% as of January 2023.
To further improve the country’s employment prospects, Canada currently offers several interesting programmes to attract international talents — one such programme is Express Entry. Express Entry is Canada’s fastest and most popular immigration program. Candidates that apply through the Express Entry system can receive permanent residence status as soon as six months.
There is a range of industries in Canada that offer job opportunities to expats, including technology, healthcare, and finance. The technology industry, in particular, has seen significant growth in recent years, with cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal becoming hubs for tech startups and large tech companies. Healthcare is also a growing industry in Canada, with a high demand for healthcare professionals in areas such as nursing, dentistry, and physiotherapy.
Safety and security in Canada
Canada ranks 54 in the 2022 Safety Perceptions Index but ranks as the 12th most peaceful country in the 2022 Global Peace Index, making Canada a pretty safe place to live and travel.
Canada offers a safe and secure environment for expats, with a low level of crime and a strong emphasis on public safety. This, combined with the country’s high standard of living and diverse cultural opportunities, make it an attractive destination for those seeking a safe and welcoming environment to call home. Expats who choose to relocate to Canada can be confident in their safety and the safety of their families, allowing them to focus on building a fulfilling life in a welcoming and inclusive society.
Australia is widely considered to be one of the most liveable countries in the world, with a high standard of living, a welcoming culture, and a range of social welfare programs that support the well-being of its citizens and residents. The country consistently ranks highly in quality of life indexes, with cities such as Melbourne and Sydney frequently ranked among the most liveable cities in the world.
Quality of life in Australia
According to the 2023 Numbeo Quality of Life Index, Australia ranks in 9th place. The country also consistently ranks highly in other quality-of-life indexes, such as the Human Development Index and the Better Life Index.
The main contributing factor to Australia’s high quality of life index is its universal healthcare system. The government of Australia operates a publicly-funded healthcare system that provides free or low-cost healthcare to all citizens and permanent residents. This system includes access to hospitals, medical clinics, and a range of other health services, which contributes to a high level of health and well-being among the population.
Cost of living in Australia
According to WorldData, the cost of living in Australia is higher than the global average. Australia is ranked as the 11th most expensive country in the world and has a lower purchasing power as well. Despite the high cost of living in some parts of Australia, the benefits outweigh the high living costs, this is especially true for expats — access to quality healthcare, and a range of cultural and natural attractions. Additionally, the government of Australia operates a range of social welfare programs, such as universal healthcare and public education, that help to offset some of the expenses associated with living in the country.
Job opportunities in Australia
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia saw a low unemployment rate of just 3.5% in Feb 2023 and the total number of employment in Feb 2023 increased to a staggering 13 million.
According to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Australia ranks 9th in the world for its ability to attract and retain highly skilled workers. What this means for expats looking to relocate to Australia is, the country offers plenty of job opportunities.
Australia has been putting a lot of effort into bringing in skilled foreigners under their skilled migration program which is designed to attract foreigners who can make a significant contribution to the Australian economy and fill positions where no Australian workers are available. The Australian government believes that these skilled migrants can stimulate economic growth, which results in more jobs.
Safety and security in Australia
The 2022 Safety Perception Index ranks Australia as the 39th most peaceful country in the world and also ranks as the 13th most peaceful country in the 2022 Global Peace Index. This is due to Australia’s strong government institutions, low levels of corruption, and effective law enforcement agencies, and this indicates that Australia is a safe and secure place to live for expats and their families.
Australia has a well-developed system of laws and regulations that are designed to protect citizens and visitors from harm. Additionally, the country has a well-trained and well-equipped police force that is responsible for maintaining law and order and responding to any criminal activity.
Another factor that contributes to the safety and security of expats in Australia is the country’s strong social cohesion and sense of community. Australians are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, and many communities are tight-knit and supportive. This can help to create a sense of belonging and security for expats who may be living far away from their home countries.
Malaysia is increasingly becoming a popular destination for expats from all over the world due to its affordability, diverse culture, and stunning natural landscapes. Malaysia’s economy is growing rapidly and the government is actively encouraging foreign investment, making it an attractive destination for expats looking for job opportunities. The country’s warm climate and relatively low cost of living also make it an appealing destination for those seeking a high quality of life at a reasonable price.
Quality of life in Malaysia
According to the Numbeo Quality of Life Index, Malaysia ranks in 48th place, given its relatively high living standard for education, healthcare, career and social. Malaysia has a diverse culture with a mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic groups, making it a unique and interesting place to live. The country is known for its great variety of food, which combines various cultural influences to create a unique culinary experience. Additionally, Malaysia has a warm and tropical climate, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, diving, and exploring the country’s many beautiful beaches.
Cost of living in Malaysia
According to WorldData, Malaysia ranks 71st, meaning the cost of living in Malaysia is significantly lower than in other developed countries, with inexpensive food, housing, and transportation options. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, is considered to be one of the most affordable cities in the world for expats.
Housing in Malaysia is relatively affordable compared to other countries, with a range of options from low-cost apartments to high-end condominiums. Food and groceries are also affordable, with a variety of local and international options available. Transportation costs are low as well, with a well-developed public transportation system and affordable taxis and ridesharing services.
Job opportunities in Malaysia
According to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Malaysia ranks 45th in the world for its ability to attract and retain highly skilled workers.
The country offers a diverse range of job opportunities across various industries, such as finance, manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. According to the country’s government official statement, Malaysia sees a low unemployment rate of 3.6% and a high participation rate of employment.
Just like other countries, Malaysia is also in the race to attract skilled expats when they introduced the Premium Visa Programme (PVIP), which allows successful applicants to stay for up to 20 years in the country. Unlike the existing Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, PVIP participants are allowed to work and carry out business activities and they are eligible to participate as long as they are earning RM40,000 monthly or RM480,000 annually.
Safety and security in Malaysia
Malaysia has been ranked as one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia, and its safety and security index has been steadily improving over the years. The 2022 Global Peace Index ranks Malaysia as the 18th most peaceful country in the world.
The Malaysian government has been proactive in improving safety and security and has implemented various measures such as increasing police presence in public areas and enhancing border control. Additionally, the country’s low crime rate and effective law enforcement have contributed to its high safety and security ranking. Expats can feel assured that they can safely enjoy the country’s vibrant culture, diverse cuisine, and scenic landscapes without fear of harm.
New Zealand is consistently ranked as one of the most liveable countries in the world, offering a high quality of life, stunning natural scenery, and a friendly and welcoming culture. The country is renowned for its clean air and water, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse wildlife, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Additionally, New Zealand is a safe and stable country, with a low crime rate, a stable political environment, and a solid commitment to social welfare.
Quality of life in New Zealand
According to the Numbeo Quality of Life Index, New Zealand ranks in 12th place based on factors such as healthcare, safety, purchasing power, and pollution. The country has a high standard of living, with a strong economy, low unemployment, and affordable healthcare.
The main contributor to the high quality of life index in New Zealand is the fact that the country offers a strong social welfare system, which ensures that all citizens and residents have access to basic needs such as healthcare, education, and housing. Expats who move to New Zealand can benefit from this system, which provides a safety net and ensures that everyone has the opportunity to live a good life.
Cost of living in New Zealand
According to WorldData, New Zealand ranks 12th in the cost of living. Meaning that the cost of living in New Zealand is higher than in other countries.
The biggest and main contributor to the high cost of living in New Zealand is housing expenses. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is around NZD 2,000 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost upwards of NZD 4,000 per month. The same goes for food and grocery — prices for fresh produce and dairy products are often higher than in other countries.
However, the high cost of living is offset by high salaries and a good welfare system that provides access to good healthcare, education, and a range of amenities and services.
Job opportunities in New Zealand
According to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, New Zealand ranks 18th in the world for its ability to attract and retain highly skilled workers.
This means New Zealand presents a lot of job opportunities to both locals and expats alike. In addition to that, another factor that makes New Zealand an attractive prospect for expats to migrate to is the country’s strong advocate for work-life balance, with many companies offering flexible work arrangements, and its thriving startup scene offers opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators.
Just like Australia, New Zealand also has its very own Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa for people who have skills that will contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth. The point system puts a lot of emphasis on your skills and potential contribution.
Safety and security in New Zealand
The Global Peace Index ranks New Zealand as the 2nd most peaceful country in the world, with low crime rates and a strong emphasis on community policing. This means New Zealand will be able to provide you and your family with a very safe and secure environment.
The high safety and security index ranking is a testament to the New Zealand government’s commitment to maintaining a safe and secure environment for its residents and visitors, and the country has a strong legal system that ensures the rule of law is upheld.
The country consistently ranks highly on international liveability indexes, making it an attractive choice for those seeking a new and enriching environment to live and work in. One of the key features of Sweden that makes it a highly liveable country is its excellent social welfare system.
Quality of life in Sweden
According to the Numbeo Quality of Life Index, Sweden ranks 14th in terms of quality of life, thanks to its strong economy and social welfare policies. The country provides free healthcare and education to all residents, and its generous parental leave policies make it easier for families to balance work and family life.
Sweden’s natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle also add to the country’s high quality of life. The country is home to vast forests, picturesque lakes, and stunning coastlines, and there are ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits. The country’s public transportation system is also highly developed, making it easy to access these natural wonders and explore the country’s many charming towns and cities.
Cost of living in Sweden
According to WorldData, Sweden ranks 14th place in the world in terms of cost of living. While the cost of living in Stockholm is high compared to many other cities, it is still more affordable than other major European cities such as Paris, London, and Zurich.
The main factor that leads to the high cost of living in Sweden is housing. Housing is the most significant expense in Sweden, and it can be difficult to find affordable accommodation in some areas. Fortunately, Sweden’s welfare system is very generous — free healthcare and education help to offset some of the costs.
Job opportunities in Sweden
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Sweden ranks 5th in the world for its ability to develop, attract, and retain talent, reflecting its strong performance in areas such as education, innovation, and labour market flexibility. The index also highlights Sweden’s robust IT infrastructure and high levels of digital readiness, which have contributed to the growth of industries such as information technology, e-commerce, and fintech.
To attract more international talent to Sweden, the country launched Sweden Job Seeker Visa sometime last year. This new Swedish visa allows people to seek a job in Sweden. This job seeker visa will be valid for a minimum of 3 months; however, can be granted for a maximum of 9 months.
Security and safety in Sweden
According to the Global Peace Index, Sweden ranks as the 26th most peaceful country in the world and according to the 2022 Safety Perception Index, Sweden ranks as the 20th safest country in the world. The country has a very low crime rate, with low levels of violent crime, property crime, and drug-related crime. Sweden’s commitment to social welfare, strong police force, and culture of transparency and accountability help to make it one of the safest and most secure countries in the world. Expats can feel confident that they will be well-protected and supported in Sweden, and can enjoy a high quality of life in a safe and welcoming environment.
The country is one of the largest economies in Europe, with a high standard of living and a low unemployment rate. Germany has a highly skilled workforce and a thriving business environment, with many opportunities available in fields such as finance, technology, and engineering. The country also has a well-developed social welfare system, which provides support to workers and their families, and ensures that everyone has access to healthcare, education, and other essential services.
Quality of life in Germany
Germany is known for its high quality of life, and the 2023 Numbeo Quality of Life Index confirms this. The index ranks Germany as the 11th country with the highest quality of life out of 139 countries. The main contributor to its high rank is the country’s strong social welfare system, which provides support to those in need and ensures that everyone has access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and housing.
Cost of living in Germany
According to WorldData, Germany ranks 27th place in the world for the cost of living index, making it one of the more affordable countries for expats. Some of the main expenses for expats in Germany are housing, entertainment and food.
Rent prices can be high, especially in major cities, with apartments in desirable locations being particularly expensive. Food and entertainment can also be relatively expensive, although there are plenty of options for budget-conscious expats, including discount supermarkets and free cultural events.
Germany can be considered a relatively expensive country to live in, the high quality of life and excellent public services make it an attractive destination for many expats. It is important for expats to carefully consider their budget and plan accordingly, especially when it comes to housing and transportation costs.
Job opportunities in Germany
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Germany ranks 14th in the world for job opportunities.
Germany is often recognized as one of the world’s most innovative and successful economies, with a highly skilled workforce, robust infrastructure, and excellent business environment. The country is also renowned for offering outstanding job opportunities for both local and foreign workers.
Germany is one of the largest and most prosperous economies in the world, with a strong and diverse job market that offers many opportunities for expats. The country is home to many major multinational corporations, as well as a thriving small and medium-sized business sector.
Safety and security in Germany
Germany is considered one of the safest countries in the world, with a strong emphasis on security measures and law enforcement. According to the Global Peace Index 2022, Germany ranks 16th in place for safety and security. The country’s low crime rates and effective police force contribute to its high safety ranking.
Germany is a very safe country for expats to live in. The country has a well-developed police force which is also well-resourced and well-trained, and the country has a low incidence of violent crime.
Switzerland is consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world for its high quality of life. According to Numbeo, Switzerland was ranked as the 3rd best country for overall quality of life in 2023, based on factors such as safety, healthcare, and work-life balance. Switzerland’s high standard of living is largely due to its strong economy and high salaries, as well as its commitment to social welfare programs that support its citizens.
Quality of life in Switzerland
According to Numbeo’s 2023 Quality of Life Index, Switzerland is ranked in 3rd place for quality of life. Switzerland scored high in categories such as safety, healthcare, and education.
The main contributing factor to this is the country’s healthcare system. Switzerland has a universal health insurance system that provides high-quality medical care to all residents. The country has a high number of medical professionals and well-equipped hospitals, ensuring easy access to medical services.
Cost of living in Switzerland
According to WorldData, Switzerland is the 2nd most expensive country in the world, after Bermuda. However, while living expenses in Switzerland are generally higher than in other countries, the country also offers a high standard of living and excellent quality of life.
Job opportunities in Switzerland
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Switzerland is the most attractive country to attract and retain talent.
Switzerland is known for its strong economy and low unemployment rate, making it an attractive destination for job seekers. The country’s highly-developed economy and focus on innovation make it an ideal location for professionals in fields such as banking and finance, technology, and healthcare.
The main industries that offer job opportunities in Switzerland are banking and finance. Switzerland is home to some of the world’s largest banks, and the country has a well-developed financial sector that offers a range of job opportunities in areas such as wealth management, investment banking, and insurance.
So if you are a professional accountant or someone skilled in finance management, Switzerland definitely will be able to present you with a lot of job opportunities.
Safety and security in Switzerland
According to the 2022 Global Peace Index, Switzerland ranks 11th in place for safety and security. Crime rates in Switzerland are generally low, particularly violent crime. The country has a low murder rate, and incidents of assault and robbery are relatively rare. Swiss police are well-trained and equipped to respond to emergencies, and the country has a high police presence in public areas.
Switzerland’s stable political climate and neutral position in international conflicts also contribute to its safety and security. The country is not a member of the European Union, but has strong diplomatic ties with its neighbours and is a member of several international organisations, including the United Nations.
Expats living in Switzerland can feel confident in their safety and security, with a high level of trust in the country’s institutions and authorities.
The main reason that Spain is a popular destination for expats is its warm and sunny climate. Thanks to the country’s Mediterranean climate — you will get to enjoy hot summers and mild winters. Making it an ideal location for those looking to enjoy outdoor activities and a relaxed lifestyle.
In addition, Spain Golden Visa is a residency by investment program which offers investors residency in Spain in return for an investment. It’s not a direct route to citizenship. However, if you get your Golden Visa and decide to live in Spain, you might be eligible for citizenship after 10 years.
Quality of life in Spain
According to the 2023 Numbeo Quality of Life Index, Spain ranks 16th in place for overall quality of life. The main contributing factor is Spain’s high-quality healthcare system. The country’s public healthcare system is funded by taxes and provides comprehensive coverage for all residents. Furthermore, Spain’s healthcare system is known for its high quality and accessibility, with modern facilities and well-trained medical professionals.
In addition to Spain’s excellent healthcare system, the country’s food culture is amazing as well. You can look forward to enjoying sampling authentic paella and tapas as well as Spain’s world-famous Old Style wine. So if you are a foodie you will enjoy settling down in Spain.
Cost of living in Spain
According to WorldData, Spain ranks in 30th place for cost of living. This means the cost of living in Spain is moderately lower compared to other countries. The purchasing power is also moderately lower according to numbers provided by the index data.
Job opportunities in Spain
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Spain ranks in 29th place, which means there are job opportunities but somewhat competitive.
However, the country’s service sector, or to be specific the tourism industry, creates many job opportunities in hotels, restaurants, and other related sectors. So if you are an expat skilled and professionally trained in the art of hospitality, then Spain offers plenty of job opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Besides tourism and hospitality, Spain is also known for its strong agricultural industry, with opportunities in farming and food production. Making a great destination for those trained in culinary or agriculture.
To gain an advantage in Spain’s competitive job market, having good proficiency in Spanish can be an advantage when searching for work.
Safety and security in Spain
According to the Global Peace Index, Spain ranks in 29th place as the safest country in the world. This indicates that the country has a relatively low level of crime and violence. However, this is not to say Spain is completely safe. Much like every other country, some areas and regions are dangerous — such as in certain parts of Barcelona and Madrid.
Since Spain is also a tourism hotspot, petty crimes such as pickpocketing are common crime incidents and problems. So it is better to take extra precautions while you are out and about.
Overall, Spain is relatively a safe country for expats to settle in, you can expect a good and family-friendly environment and community.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular destination for expats looking for a high quality of life and lucrative job opportunities. The country is known for its impressive infrastructure, tax-free salaries, and luxurious lifestyle. The UAE is made up of seven emirates, each with its unique character and charm. The most popular emirates for expats are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which offer modern amenities, excellent healthcare, and a vibrant social scene.
Quality of life in the United Arab Emirates
According to the Numbeo Quality of Life Index, the UAE ranks high in 15th place, this thanks to the country’s robust healthcare, education, and overall happiness. The country has invested heavily in these areas to ensure that residents have access to the best possible services and facilities.
In terms of healthcare, The United Arab Emirates has a modern and well-equipped healthcare system, with many top-class hospitals and clinics located throughout the country. Besides excellent and well-invested healthcare, the country also offers excellent educational opportunities, with many top-class international schools and universities located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Cost of living in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known for its luxurious lifestyle, which can make it an expensive place to live. However, the cost of living can vary depending on the emirate and the lifestyle that a person chooses to lead.
According to WorldData, the United Arab Emirates ranks in 37th place for the cost of living. This means the cost of living in the United Arab Emirates is moderately lower compared to other countries. However, as mentioned above it depends on the emirate — for both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the cost of living in those two emirates is especially high compared to other emirates.
And this applies to food and groceries as well — food and groceries can also be expensive, with imported products being particularly costly. However, there are many affordable options available, including local markets and supermarkets.
Job opportunities in the United Arab Emirates
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, the United Arab Emirates ranks in 25th place, which means there are plenty of job opportunities and business or investment potential.
The United Arab Emirates made a move to attract and retain international talents by launching Thrive in Abu Dhabi programme in 2021. The programme targets talent in priority sectors, with long-term visas specific for creatives, students, innovators, investors and those who excel in their field, from science and engineering to healthcare, education and sport.
Contributing to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s rapidly diversifying economy and fast-growing private sector, the programme supports residents and their families to reach their potential in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment, where they can even invest in their ‘future homes and plan their retirement.
The United Arab Emirates is a hub for many international businesses and corporations, making it an attractive destination for expats looking for career opportunities. The country is home to many multinational companies, and there are many opportunities for career growth and advancement.
Safety and security in the United Arab Emirates
According to the Global Peace Index, The United Arab Emirates ranks in 60th place, meaning it is one of the safest countries in the world, with low levels of crime and violence. The country has a well-established legal system and strong law enforcement, which helps to maintain a safe and secure environment.
The UAE is also a peaceful country, with low levels of political instability and terrorism. The country has a policy of non-interference in other countries’ affairs, which has helped to promote stability and security in the region. The UAE has also taken steps to strengthen its counter-terrorism capabilities, including cooperating with international organisations and sharing intelligence with other countries.
Portugal offers a high quality of life for expats, with affordable living costs, a relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, and a welcoming and friendly culture. The country’s high-quality healthcare and education systems, along with its beautiful scenery and rich culture, make it an attractive destination for expats from all over the world.
Quality of life in Portugal
Portugal ranks in 22nd place as one of the top countries in the world for quality of life, according to the Numbeo Quality of Life Index. One of the factors that contribute to Portugal’s high quality of life is its excellent healthcare system. The country has a well-developed public healthcare system, which is free or low-cost for citizens and residents. Portugal also has a strong network of private healthcare providers, which offer high-quality medical care at affordable prices.
Another factor that contributes to Portugal’s high quality of life is its vibrant cultural scene. Portugal has a rich history and cultural heritage, which is reflected in its art, music, food, and architecture. Overall, Portugal offers a high quality of life for expats, with excellent healthcare, a vibrant cultural scene, and beautiful scenery.
Cost of living in Portugal
According to WorldData, Portugal ranks in 32nd place for cost of living. This means Portugal’s cost of living is moderately high. However, the country offers a range of housing options, including apartments, villas, and townhouses, at affordable prices. Expats can find accommodation at reasonable rates in both urban and rural areas, depending on their preferences.
In addition to that, food, transportation and utilities such as electricity, water, and gas are also relatively affordable in Portugal. The country offers various affordable food options, including fresh produce, meat, and seafood. Expats can also enjoy affordable dining out options, with a range of restaurants serving local and international cuisine at reasonable prices.
Job opportunities in Portugal
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Portugal ranks in 26th place, which means there are plenty of opportunities for jobs, business or investment.
The index reading is proof of the country’s steadily improving and increasing economic sector, making it an attractive destination for expats looking for employment opportunities.
One of the main employment sectors in Portugal is tourism, which employs a significant portion of the population. The tourism industry has created job opportunities in various sectors, including hospitality, transportation, and entertainment.
In addition to the creation of job opportunities, Portugal aims to attract and retain international talents via The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Programme.
The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Programme (commonly known as the Portugal Golden Visa Program) is a five-year residence-by-investment program for non-EU nationals. The residence permit gives the right to live, work, and study in Portugal and allows free circulation in Europe’s Schengen Area. Furthermore, the program only requires an average of seven days per year to stay in Portugal over this period, which can also count towards citizenship eligibility after five years.
Safety and security in Portugal
The Global Peace Index ranks Portugal in 6th place, which is relatively high, making it not only a safe but also an attractive destination for expats looking for a peaceful and secure place to live. This is because Portugal has a well-developed law enforcement system, with a focus on community policing and crime prevention. The country’s police force is well-trained and equipped to deal with any potential threats to public safety.
Costa Rica is a popular destination for expats looking for a high quality of life in a beautiful and peaceful environment. The country is known for its stunning natural beauty, warm climate, and friendly people. Costa Rica has a stable democracy, a strong economy, and a high standard of living, making it an attractive destination for expats from around the world.
Quality of life in Costa Rica
According to Numbeo, was ranked in 50th place in 2023 for the quality of life index. This means Costa Rica has fairly low living standards. However, the country is on its way to a higher and better living standard. Overall, Costa Rica is still able to offer a comfortable life for expats, with the country’s focus on sustainability, access to healthcare, and a good work-life balance.
Cost of living in Costa Rica
According to WorldData, Costa Rica ranks 43rd place for the cost of living. This means the cost of living in Costa Rica is significantly lower compared to other countries.
One of the major contributors is the housing costs in Costa Rica which are affordable — with a range of options available for both renting and buying. However, prices can vary depending on the location and amenities of the property. The same goes for food and transportation costs in Costa Rica. Fresh produce is widely available and affordable, and eating out at local restaurants can be a cost-effective way to enjoy the country’s cuisine. Public transportation in Costa Rica is reliable and affordable, with buses and trains connecting the major cities and towns.
One area where costs can be higher in Costa Rica is healthcare. While the country’s public healthcare system is affordable and accessible, the best private healthcare services are expensive.
Also, Costa Rica launched a new law in 2021 to make Costa Rica more attractive for foreign investors, rentiers and pensioners, announcing tax exemptions and reduced investment thresholds.
The biggest incentive offered to foreign investors under the new law is that the minimum investment threshold requirement has been reduced from the previous $200,000 to $150,000. This investment can be either in real estate or securities, registrable assets, shares, profit-generating projects, or projects that the Costa Rican government considers to be of national interest.
Overall, Costa Rica offers a relatively low cost of living compared to other developed countries, making it an attractive destination for expats looking to stretch their budgets. With affordable housing, food, and transportation options, expats can enjoy a high quality of life in Costa Rica without breaking the bank.
Job opportunities in Costa Rica
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Costa Rica ranks in 42nd place, which means there are job opportunities, but it is moderately low compared to other countries.
However, if you are a skilled and professional expat, it won’t be too difficult to find a job — that is of course if the job you are looking for is available in Costa Rica. If not, you may want to consider a job in the Costa Rica tourism industry, there are plenty of opportunities.
Also, it is advisable for expats looking to work in Costa Rica to have good proficiency in Spanish as it is often a requirement for many jobs, although some roles in the technology sector may be conducted in English.
Safety and security in Costa Rica
According to the Global Peace Index, Costa Rica ranks in 38th place, which means the country has a moderate level of safety. So, Costa Rica is generally considered a safe country for both locals and expats. It has a low crime rate compared to other countries in the region, with petty crimes such as pickpocketing and theft being the most common types of crimes reported.
The country has a relatively low rate of violent crime, although incidents of gang-related violence have been reported in some areas. The government has implemented measures to combat crime, including increasing police presence in tourist areas and investing in community programs to prevent youth involvement in gangs.
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, are also potential risks in Costa Rica. The country is located in an area prone to seismic activity, and hurricanes can occur during the rainy season between May and November. However, the government has implemented measures to prepare for and respond to these events, and expats are advised to familiarise themselves with emergency procedures and to stay informed of any potential risks.
Malta is a small Mediterranean island country known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and warm climate. It has become a popular destination for expats seeking a high quality of life, as it offers a combination of modern amenities and traditional charm. English is widely spoken in Malta, making it an easy place for English-speaking expats to integrate into the local culture.
Quality of life in Malta
According to the 2023 Quality of Life Index by Numbeo, Malta ranks in 58th place. One of the factors contributing to Malta’s high quality of life is its beautiful natural scenery, including crystal clear waters, rocky beaches, and stunning architecture.
Besides Malta’s natural beauty, and stunning architecture — Malta’s healthcare system is another factor that contributes to its high quality of life index ranking. The country has a mix of public and private healthcare facilities, generally of a high standard. Many expats opt for private healthcare, which is affordable compared to other European countries.
Cost of living in Malta
According to Numbeo, a website that collects and analyses data on the cost of living, the overall cost of living index for Malta in 2023 ranks in 34th place, which is lower than the cost of living in many other European countries.
However, housing is one of the major expenses in Malta, with rental prices varying depending on the location and size of the property. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre can cost around €800-€1,200 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost around €1,200-€2,000 per month. Fortunately, outside of the city centre, rental prices tend to be more affordable, with one-bedroom apartments costing around €500-€800 per month.
Food and transportation costs in Malta are generally considered to be affordable as well. Grocery prices are similar to other European countries, with a weekly shop for two people costing around €50-€70. Public transportation is also affordable, with a single bus ticket costing around €1.50 and a monthly pass costing around €26.
Job opportunities in Malta
According to the 2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Malta ranks in 22nd place, which means there are plenty of job opportunities, especially for skilled expats.
In addition, it is reported that the country has a relatively low unemployment rate compared to other European countries. According to Trading Economics, the employment rate in Malta averaged around 78% for the fourth quarter of 2022.
If you are wondering about which language is commonly used for communication — English is widely spoken in Malta, and many job opportunities require English language skills. Other languages such as Maltese, Italian, and French may also be useful depending on the industry.
Safety and security in Malta
According to the Safety Perception Index, Malta ranks in 58th place, which means the country has a moderate level of safety. This indicates that Malta is considered a safe country to live in — with a low crime rate compared to many other European countries.
Natural disasters are not a significant concern in Malta, with no major earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes recorded in recent history. The island’s location in the Mediterranean means it is susceptible to occasional storms and high winds during the winter months, but these are generally mild compared to other parts of the world.
The biggest safety concerns for expats in Malta are likely to be related to traffic accidents, which can be common due to the small size of the island and the high number of cars on the roads. Expats should familiarise themselves with local traffic laws and exercise caution when driving or walking on the roads.
In conclusion, choosing a liveable country for expats involves considering several factors such as quality of life, cost of living, job opportunities, safety, and security. Based on research, the top 13 liveable countries for expats include Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Costa Rica, Spain, and Malta.
Each of these countries has its unique benefits, such as Canada’s high standard of living, excellent healthcare system, and multicultural society. Australia offers a great work-life balance, friendly people, and beautiful natural landscapes. Singapore is known for its efficient public transportation system, low crime rate, and diverse food culture. Switzerland is renowned for its high quality of life, stunning natural scenery, and a strong economy.
New Zealand is famous for its welcoming culture, stunning scenery, and outdoor lifestyle. Germany boasts a robust economy, excellent healthcare, and a high-quality education system. Sweden has a high standard of living, excellent social welfare, and a great work-life balance. The United Arab Emirates has a booming economy, tax-free income, and a high standard of living.
Portugal offers a warm climate, affordable cost of living, and a relaxed lifestyle. Costa Rica has a stable political climate, beautiful natural scenery, and welcoming culture. Spain offers a great climate, a laid-back lifestyle, and an affordable cost of living. Malta is renowned for its stunning beaches, warm climate, and welcoming people.
In conclusion, expats can find a liveable country that meets their needs and expectations in any of the top 13 liveable countries. By considering factors such as quality of life, cost of living, job opportunities, safety, and security, expats can make an informed decision about their next adventure destination.
Before you go…
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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.
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