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Best and Worst Countries for Living and Working Abroad - 2021

Best Countries for Living and Working

With more than 12,000 respondents the world’s largest expat community revealed insights into expat life in 59 countries and rank them from best to worst for living and working.

InterNation's Expat Insider survey for 2021 offers in-depth information on expats’ satisfaction with the quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, personal finance, and the cost of living in their respective country of residence. Additionally, the respondents share how they have been experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted their life.

According to the Expat Insider 2021 survey, Taiwan, Mexico, and Costa Rica are the best expat destinations worldwide: all of them attract expats with their ease of settling in and good personal finances.



Taiwan ranks 1st out of 59 destinations for the 3 year in a row. It also comes first in the Quality of Life and Working Abroad Indices. Most expats are satisfied with their job security and the state of the local economy. Additionally, the majority is happy with their job and their life in general.

Furthermore, 96% of expats rate the quality of medical care positively, and another 94% are satisfied with its affordability. An expat from Chile says, “The Taiwanese healthcare system truly considers people as human beings instead of mere numbers.”



Moreover, not a single expat feels personally unsafe in Taiwan. An expat from Canada shares, “I can live independently. I feel safe wherever I go, and everything is convenient.”

Although Taiwan places slightly lower in the Ease of Setting In Index (13th place), it is the best ranking country worldwide in the Friendliness subcategory. Most expats find it easy to make friends there and describe the Taiwanese population as friendly towards foreign residents.

Mexico ranks 2nd out of 59 destinations worldwide. It is rated the best country in the Ease of Settling In Index: 85% find it east to settle down in Mexico and 78% say it is east to make local friends. A US American expat says that “the culture and friendliness of the local people” is their favorite thing about living in Mexico.

Mexico ranks 2nd in the Personal Finance and 4th in the Cost of Living Indices.

Costa Rica places 3rd out of 59 countries. It ranks among the top 5 in the Ease of Settling In Index (3rd), with 91% of expats describing the population as generally friendly.

Costa Rica performs well in the Quality of Live Index (14th), coming in second place worldwide for personal happiness - just behind Mexico.

On the other hand, the bottom three countries, Kuwait, Italy, and South Africa, all perform poorly in the Working Abroad Index. Additionally, Kuwait is the hardest country for expats to feel at home in, Italy is the worst for personal finances, and expats in South Africa do not feel safe.

The Expat Insider 2021 survey was conducted by InterNations and ran from 7-31 January 2021.

best and worst places to live work in 2021

Turkey - Worst in The World for Working Abroad

Turkey comes 52nd out of 59 destinations in the Expat Insider 2021 survey. Expats rank the country worst in the world for working abroad (59th) and 44th in the Personal Finance Index. While Turkey gets only average results in the Quality of Life (35th) and the Ease of Settling In (32nd) Indices, it performs fairly well in the Cost of Living Index (20th).


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