Canada, Bahrain, the Emirates or Singapore… Discover the 10 most convenient destinations to expatriate to in 2023, according to a survey by InterNations.
In which country is it easiest to find accommodation? Is it possible to expatriate without speaking the local language? On March 21, the Expat Essentials index unveiled the 10 most convenient countries to expatriate to in 2023. The index is based on the results of the Expat Insider 2022 study, conducted by InterNations – with more than 4.5 million expatriate members. This index looks at 4 key criteria such as housing, language, digital life and administrative procedures.
The Expat Essentials Index is part of InterNations’ annual Expat Insider survey. 11,970 expatriates representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries were asked to rate up to 56 different factors about living abroad on a scale of one to seven.
The overall survey is composed of five indices, including the Expat Essentials Index. The Expat Essentials Index has four subcategories and eleven factors that cover the areas of digital life, administrative matters, housing and language. To be included in the Expat Essentials Index, each destination needed a sample of at least 50 survey participants. A total of 52 countries and territories met this requirement in the 2022 survey.
At the top of the list are Bahrain (1st), the United Arab Emirates (2nd) and Singapore (3rd). Here’s the lowdown.
1. Bahrain: the ideal place for a first expatriation
Bahrain stands out as the best destination for expatriates, offering an easy environment to settle and adapt. Local authorities are easy to deal with for 67% of them, as well as obtaining visas. Finding accommodation is also considered easy for 82% of respondents.
Bahrain also ranks among the top 10 countries for the availability of online government services. In addition, 82% of expatriates in Bahrain find it easy to live in the country without speaking the local language.
2. The United Arab Emirates offers expatriates a hassle-free bureaucracy
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranks second. The “Language” subcategory is one of the country’s strengths, with 85% of expats saying it is easy to live without speaking the local language. Administrative matters are also well handled in the UAE – with the country ranked first in the world for ease of obtaining a visa.
Results are mixed on the Digital Life and Housing subcategories, with low accessibility to online services and a majority of expats considering housing to be unaffordable.
3. Singapore, a highly digitalized city
Singapore is ranked third among the most welcoming destinations, with an excellent infrastructure for digital living and no language barrier due to English as the official language.
Expats also appreciate the availability of online government services, ease of dealing with local authorities, and cashless payment options. However, Singapore has mixed results when it comes to housing due to its unaffordable prices.
4. Estonia, 4th most convenient country to expatriate to in 2023
Estonia is considered the best expat destination for government and digital life, ranking fourth globally. Expats found it easy to get their visas and had few problems with local authorities. Estonia also tops the list for online government services, cashless payments and ease of Internet access. However, the country scores moderately on language and housing, although it is still possible to get by without speaking the local language.
5. Oman: a smooth start for expats but limited online services
Expatriates consider Oman to be an easy country to settle in. Its great advantage? Affordable housing. However, Oman ranks 50th for its access to online services, with 13% of expats feeling that their access is limited.
6. Indonesia: affordable housing market, and few language barriers for expats
Indonesia (6th) is considered an excellent choice for expats looking to settle easily in a new country. It even ranks first for ease of finding housing, with 84% of expats rating this factor positively, 30 percentage points higher than the global average. Local housing is also considered affordable by nearly three in four (74%). Expats do, however, have difficulty with local bureaucracy (57% vs. 39% on average).
7. Housing in Saudi Arabia is a strength, but online access is less so
Saudi Arabia (7th) makes it easy for expats to transition to their new local life, with a peaceful bureaucracy, easily accessible housing and a low language barrier. Expats find it easy to find affordable housing (62%), open a local bank account (73%) and live without speaking the local language (18%).
8. Qatar, an easy country to live in as an expat
Qatar is ranked 8th in the Expat Essentials index, with a top 10 ranking in the subcategories Language (5th) and Administration (10th). It is easy to live in Qatar without speaking Arabic according to 79% of expats. Respondents also find it easy to find accommodation.
9. Kenya, for a smooth expatriation
Kenya offers an easy transition for expatriates in terms of language (3rd place) and housing (12th place). However, the country only ranks 35th for administrative matters. In addition, the availability of online government services is still complex, with Kenya ranking 42nd out of 52 destinations.
10. Canada: an easy expatriation
Canada ranks 10th in this ranking, offering expatriates an easy transition in several areas. Local authorities are considered accessible for 64% of expatriates. The same is true for administrative matters, such as the ease of opening a local bank account. The maple leaf country also ranks in the top 10 for the subcategory Digital Life and Language.
However, it is ranked 43rd for housing, with 30% of expatriates reporting difficulties in finding accommodation.