THERE ARE a lot of things that you have to consider before making the big decision to move to a new country. It could be either a higher salary, good quality of life, balanced work-life relationship or great career opportunities.
Among the popular destinations worldwide, Taiwan has apparently ticked all the boxes, making it an ideal place for foreign workers to live and work in. The ‘newcomer’ country ousted two-time champion Ecuador to win this year’s ‘InterNations Expat Insider Survey’ that was released recently. This is the third such annual survey conducted by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with 2.3 million members stationed at 390 locations around the world. Taiwan got included in the results for the first time.
Taiwan: Out with the old, in with the new
In addition to claiming the first place out of 67 countries in the overall ranking, it is in the top 10 for every individual index. Taiwan holds the first place in the ‘quality of life’ and ‘personal finance’ indices’, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of expats living there. The ‘Asian tiger’ secures the second place in the ‘working abroad’ index. Over one-third of expats in Taiwan (34%) are completely satisfied with their jobs, more than double the global average of 16%. Expats are similarly enthusiastic about their work-life balance (30%) and job security (34%). This small island country also holds the second place for overall satisfaction with life abroad, with 93% voicing their general contentment. Only Spain has higher ratings here.
Malta: Fun in the sun
Malta, a newcomer in last year’s survey, has moved up one spot to claim the second place, pushing Mexico, last year’s second-place winner, off the podium completely, but only down to the fourth place. Similar to Taiwan, Malta is also in the top 10 for every index that factors into the overall ranking. This Mediterranean country performs best in the ‘ease of settling’ index, coming in the fourth place. Over four in 10 expats (41%) say it is very easy to settle down in Malta, well over twice the global average of 16%. Malta fell from the first place to fifth this year in the ‘working abroad’ index. It seems that expats working there are not as pleased with their work-life balance as they were in 2015, with only 22% completely satisfied (versus 27% in 2015), which is still slightly above the global average of 17%. This is despite, or perhaps due to, the fact that 28% are part-time workers. In the ‘personal finance’ index, Malta has made quite a significant jump, from the 42nd to the sixth place.
Ecuador: Struggling economy, sinking ratings
After two years in the first place, Ecuador has lost its crown. Nevertheless, it has still retained a spot on the podium with its third place finish in 2016. It saw losses in each index, some more striking than others. Ecuador lost the most ground in the ‘working abroad’ index. In 2014, it ranked fifth out of 61 and, in 2015, it held the seventh position out of 64 countries. But this year, it comes in at a very mediocre 30th out of 67 countries. This is mostly due to its dismal finish in the ‘job security’ sub-category, where it comes in the 50th place (it was 22nd in 2015). Overall, only half of the expats in Ecuador are satisfied with their level of job security, just under the global average of 56%. Even worse, only 6%, about one-third of the global average of 17%, believe the state of Ecuador’s economy to be very good. As oil is Ecuador’s key export, its low price has had adverse effects on the economy.
The bottom three:
No surprises here. The three countries at the end of the list in 2016 have remained stable: Kuwait, Greece and Nigeria.
Kuwait has remained steadily at the bottom for three years running. It even managed to go down in each index this year, most notably in the ‘working abroad’ and ‘personal finance’ indices. Greece also came in second-to-last in 2015, while in 2014, it held the third-to-last spot. It did better in the ‘ease of settling’ index this year (up to 27th from 41st), but worse in all the other indices that factor into the overall ranking. It’s now in the last place for the ‘working abroad’ and ‘personal finance’ indices and ranks a dismal 43rd out of 45 countries in the ‘family life’ index. Nigeria also came in third-to-last in 2015, and in 2014, it was fifth-to-last. This year, it holds the last place for the ‘quality of life’ and the ‘cost of living’ indices. Compared to 2015, it does slightly better in the ‘ease of settling’ index this year (from the 42nd to the 39th place), but much worse in the ‘personal finance’ index (from the 10th to the 32nd place).