10 most desirable expat destinations in 2017
When it comes to moving abroad, many prospective expats consider quality of life as the defining metric by which they choose their future home. Others will choose low cost of living, allowing their budget to stretch further. Business-minded expats may even choose a destination for its tax benefits, though when it comes down to it, personal preference plays a big part.
Regardless of preference, there are many countries that naturally appeal to expatriates – be it down to their laws, culture, or established expat communities. So, let’s look at the ten most desirable expat destinations this year.
Spain maintains its position as the most popular European country for British expats to settle in, with almost 400,000 Brits now calling sunny España their home.
And for good reason! With a favourable climate, delicious food, charming locals and a laid-back lifestyle, expats residing here are really living la vida bueno!
That’s not all, the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommended the country as a “near perfect environment that’s almost impossible to obtain”. Coupled with the healthy Mediterranean diet, it’s no surprise the Spanish have an average life expectancy of 81.75 years (UK 80.77).
Never mind Europe. The sunny land down-under, Australia, is the most popular destination in the world for British expats to relocate – boasting a sizeable population of British nationals (approximately 1.3 million of them).
So, apart from all those beaches and celebrating Christmas in summer, what makes it such a popular expat destination?
Well for starters, Australia has a very sustainable and well-built healthcare system known as Medicare – which is free and universally available for residents and is funded by tax and the central government.
While moving costs and property are expensive there (and the visa process can be a nightmare,) it is but a small price to pay for expat paradise.
If you’re moving or thinking of moving to Australia, check out our expat guide here.
50 years ago, Singapore was a small, island nation located in southeast Asia. It wasn’t an economic power and it wasn’t a global hub for business or expatriates. In fact, much of it was swamp and jungle.
Over the years, skyscrapers have emerged and Singapore’s skyline came to rival that of any major city on earth – with healthcare and business opportunities to boot.
Singapore also has a thriving expat population, with over 45,000 British nationals calling the island home. Many expats relocate for the high wages, enviable education system and premium quality of life – although living in Singapore can be relatively expensive.
You may be initially put off due to the arctic climate but if you can excuse a bit of cold then Norway is one awesome place to live. Not only does the country have one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it is also one of the happiest places on earth, according to the national happiness index where Norway came 12th.
Most locals speak excellent English, so expats are unlikely to experience alienation due to language barriers, and with over 15,000 Brits calling Norway home, you’ll have a sizeable expat community in which to integrate.
Visit sites like Internations to discover other expats living in Norway.
With 80% of the country’s population born overseas, you might say that the United Arab Emirates is an expat’s paradise. 20 years ago, though, Dubai was a very different place – a sparse desert with not a mega-mall or luxury hotel in sight.
Fast track to today, however, and you will be greeted with a skyline featuring towering edifices and some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers – including the Burj Khalifa, sitting proudly at 163 storeys high.
Expats relocating to the UAE can likely expect a generous salary, as the UAE offer expat salary packages that are among the highest in the world. The cost of living isn’t bad either, at over 5% lower than the UK. However, rent prices are significantly higher, with rent costs a whopping 93% higher than the UK.
Thankfully, the higher income offsets the high cost of housing.
Ask anybody and it’s almost assured that they would not consider the Czech Republic as a top expat destination. Well, we disagree! With quality, yet inexpensive healthcare, low crime rates and an extremely low cost of living, this eastern European country is beginning to give other expat destinations a run for its money.
Setting up a business in the Czech Republic is a relatively painless ordeal, making it easier for expats to relocate and establish their commerce operations. The only tricky part of the process is filling out all the paperwork in Czech; it is recommended that you hire a Czech speaking agent to assist you with this.
Combine the stellar business opportunities with the low cost of living and you’ll find that life is much more sustainable, both financially and in terms of wellbeing.
America’s favourite cousin, Canada, has long been a favourite destination among expatriates; over 600,000 Brits call this beautiful, frozen country home.
Aside from the outstanding natural beauty (and all the maple syrup you can drink), expats living here benefit from their world-leading healthcare system, unrivalled education, progressive government, and enviably low crime rates. This makes Canada a serious contender for the top spot as an expat destination.
If that wasn’t enough assurance of a great standard of living, the Telegraph reports that almost 90% of immigrants residing in Canada are happy, compared to the 44% residing in China.
Thanks to minimal cultural differences, you are more likely to settle in nicely to your new life surrounded by mountain peaks and oxbow lakes.
The land of dragons and hobbits has long captured the hearts and imaginations of people around the world, thanks to the country’s glorious landscapes and otherworldly scenery.
And now it seems New Zealand has captured the hearts of expats too, being home to over 215,000 British nationals.
Skilled workers in the country are very much in demand – agriculture, construction and health industries are in chronically short supply of workers, meaning lots of opportunities for skilled expats looking to relocate. Housing, too, is in low demand, meaning accommodation is cheaper and you’ll have more choice when it comes to real estate.
One downside to living in this exotic locale is the threat of natural disasters – earthquakes and tsunamis stem from seismic activity in the area.
Force majeure, however, shouldn’t stop you from moving there, after all, who wouldn’t want to wake up to those mountains every morning?!
As if the abundance of beer and sausages isn’t reason enough to move, Germany has taken huge strides in improving their economy and wellbeing for their citizens, making Germany a very desirable place to settle down.
Famed for the efficiency of their train system, Germany offers excellent public transport options; so for those expats sans vehicle, that can be a huge bonus. One can easily travel to work and medical appointments on the bus, metro or tram or make an excursion to some of the country’s larger major cities on the train. The autobahns are also a great way to travel for those car-driving expats with a need for speed.
Transportation aside, the Germans enjoy terrific employment opportunities. They work fewer hours than employees in the UK or US and ladies are entitled to at least 14 weeks maternity leave, and paternity rights are covered too.
Scandinavia has long been hailed for its progressive policies and high standard of living, with Denmark offering its fair share of these benefits.
One of the country’s most obvious benefits includes the enviable ‘world’s shortest working week’, with the national average topping out at around 33 hours. This is because the Danish take work-life balance seriously and have realised the obvious health and productivity benefits that result from working fewer hours. Coupled with ample paid holiday, it makes for a much more balanced lifestyle!
One downside to living in Denmark is the high taxes, which are a significant 40% of your personal income. The benefits of this, however, are obvious, and as Denmark has one of the best social welfare systems in the world, all that tax money goes towards funding healthcare, public services, and infrastructure – all of which benefit everybody, regardless of income.