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World’s most Welcoming Countries for expats

portugal porto riverThe latest Expat Insider survey reveals the world’s most welcoming country for expats in 2017. Last year's number 1 city for expats; Manama placed Bahrain into the 5th place in the rankings for countries.

Based on the insights of close to 13,000 expats from 188 countries and territories in the annual survey, InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work abroad, compiled a so-far unpublished ranking of the world’s friendliest countries for foreign residents. Expats in living in these destinations also find it easy to make local friends, and the majority feels at home in the local culture.

1. Portugal

Climbing nine places since 2016, Portugal claims the title of the most welcoming country for expats. “The local population is friendly and helpful,” states an Australian, while a Dutch expat values that “people look after each other” here. In fact, close to four in five expats (79%) describe the Portuguese as welcoming, and about three in ten (29%) state that locals make up most of their social circles (vs. 19% globally).

2. Taiwan

Close to three-quarters of expats living in Taiwan agree that the Taiwanese are welcoming (73%) rather than distant (8%). “The people are wonderfully friendly and welcoming to foreigners,” states a US American expat. Maybe it is this friendly attitude that makes it easy for the majority of expats to settle down in the country (74%) and feel at home in the local culture (69%).

3. Mexico

Considering how easy expats find it to make local friends in Mexico, it comes as no surprise that 30 percent say their friends are mainly locals. Moreover, four in five expats find it easy to settle down in the country (81%) and to get used to the local culture (80%). A US American expat especially likes “how easy it is to adapt, and the people are incredibly friendly”.

4. Cambodia

Moving to Cambodia does not seem to be worrisome for expats: more than four in five find the local population welcoming (85%) and think that it is easy to settle down here (83%). This might be one of the reasons why 39 percent felt at home nearly straight away, which is the highest share across all surveyed countries and more than twice the global average (19%).

5. Bahrain

Close to seven in ten (69%) find the Bahrainis welcoming, and another 73 percent feel at home in the local culture. This might be thanks to the lack of a significant language barrier: 91 percent find it easy to live here without speaking the local language. “Bahrain is a beautiful melting pot of many different cultures,” states an expat from the USA. In fact, only one percent believes that they will never feel at home here.

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6. Costa Rica

Out of 65 countries, Costa Rica is the number one destination when it comes to making local friends. This might be due to the fact that 85 percent of expats describe Costa Ricans as welcoming rather than distant (9%), which is 30 percentage points above the global average (55%). Moreover, it might have contributed to more than four in five expats saying they feel at home in the local culture (81%), compared to a global average of 60 percent.

7. Oman

“Oman is very expat friendly. The locals are warm and welcoming,” says an Indian living in Oman, and most expats in the country seem to agree: close to three-quarters describe the locals as welcoming (73%). Despite that positive attitude, only three percent state to be mainly friends with locals — however, the majority (58%) is part of a quite mixed social circle.

8. Colombia

Out of the top 10 most welcoming countries, expats in Colombia are the most likely to be mainly friends with locals (34%). In fact, more than four in five expats describe the Colombians as welcoming (86%) and find it easy to settle down in the country (81%). A US American finds the Colombians “open, warm, and friendly”,and an expat from the Netherlands adds that they “are always willing to help”.

9. Vietnam

More than four in five expats describe the Vietnamese as welcoming (81%), and 73 percent find it easy to settle down in the country. “I love the friendly vibe in the city,” states an expat from South Korea about life in Ho Chi Minh, “people are mostly nice and gentle.” Despite that welcoming attitude, more than half the expats in Vietnam (51%) plan to stay up to five years at most, which is quite above the global average (35%).

10. Canada

Canadians are perceived as welcoming by 62 percent of expats in the country, or as a French expat puts it: they are “open-minded, tolerant, and benevolent”. In fact, close to three in ten expats state to be mainly friends with locals (27%), which might contribute to their ease of settling down in the country (70%). Although many expats (45%) find it likely that they will stay forever, the share of expats not yet feeling at home in the country (15%) is the highest out of the top-10 destinations.