Saudi Arabia, Kuwait named ‘worst places for expats’ in annual list

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are included among the “worst places for expats” to live in, with Kuwait topping the list, and Saudi Arabia coming in fifth, a survey published annually by the global expat support network InterNations has revealed.

Greece, in spite of its popularity as a tourist destination, was rated the second “worst place for expats”, followed in third place by Nigeria and in fourth place by Brazil.

Taiwan, Malta and Ecuador were rated the “best places” for expats, in descending order, with Taiwan in first place.

In Taiwan, At least 34% of expats said they were “completely satisfied” with their jobs, which was more than double the global average of 16%t.

Neither the UK nor the US were rated in the top 10 of either the best or worst list.

The survey polled some 14,300 expats of 174 nationalities, who are currently living in one of some 191 countries or territories, on 43 different aspects of their lives in their current country of residence.

The questions covered such topics as healthcare, safety, education, childcare and the cost of living, with respondents asked to rate these on a scale of one to seven.

Kuwait named worst

InterNations noted that Kuwait retained its place at the bottom of the list for the third year in a row, and was not helped by a slide in the survey respondents’ ratings for its offerings to expats in the ‘Working Abroad’ and ‘Personal Finance’ categories.

The UAE, meanwhile, came in at 40th position overall, with one of the most notable drops in ranking this year, having fallen from 19th position in last year’s poll. This result was evidently driven in part by falls in the survey respondents’ ratings of its offerings in the area of ‘Cost of Living’ and ‘Working Abroad’.

Among Middle Eastern countries, Bahrain scored the highest.

Other countries with high rates of decline compared with last year’s InterNation’s survey included Indonesia, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Countries that show drastic jumps in rankings, meanwhile, included Vietnam (35 to 11), Uganda (45 to 25), and Finland (51 to 32).

Bahrain, in 19th place, was the highest-placing Middle Eastern country, followed by Oman in 22nd place.

World’s happiest people

Elsewhere, recently, Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a new report released on Monday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens.

The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are said to be the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations.

InterNations 2016 survey

Best countries for expats:

1. Taiwan

2. Malta

3. Ecuador

4. Mexico

5. New Zealand

6. Costa Rica

7. Australia

8. Austria

9. Luxembourg

10. Czech Republic

Worst countries for expats: 

1. Kuwait

2. Greece

3. Nigeria

4. Brazil

5. Saudi Arabia

6. Egypt

7. Mozambique

8. Qatar

9. Italy

10. Tanzania

To read and download the InterNations report, click here. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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