Top 10 worst countries for expats [SURVEY]

According to a 2019 HSBC survey, working abroad could boost your earnings by 35% or more. Vietnam, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and Germany have emerged as the best destinations for working abroad. But it’s not always easy to live and work in another country. Here we take a look at the top 10 worst countries for expats in 2019.

Top 10 worst countries for expats

rawpixel / Pixabay

InterNations, a global community of expats, has shared the results of its sixth annual Expat Insider survey. To compile the list, InterNations asked 20,259 expats living and working in 182 countries across the globe about their life in the country they live in. Survey participants were of varied nationalities, genders, and ages.

Participants were asked to rate 48 different aspects of the expat life, including the ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, quality of life, cost of living, and personal finance. InterNations considered only those countries for ranking where a sample size of at least 75 survey participants was available. That’s probably why they ranked only 64 countries for expat living.

People living in the worst countries for expats are often concerned about their safety and the country’s political stability. Some expats also struggle with settling in, communicating with locals, high cost of living, and raising families in another country.

These are the top 10 worst countries for expats, according to the Expat Insider 2019 survey:

10- South Korea

South Korea is one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries. It offers plenty of job opportunities as well. But expats struggle to settle in South Korea and adapt to the local culture. About 37% expats rated their work-life balance negatively. South Korea also witnessed a 14-place drop in the quality of life index. Close to 70% expats said they were dissatisfied with the quality of the environment.

9- Russia

Expats living in Russia struggle with the harsh weather and climate. The language barrier makes it pretty difficult to settle in the country. According to the survey, 75% participants find it hard to learn the Russian language, and 77% said it was difficult to live in Russia without speaking the local language. Expats were also concerned about their children’s safety and health. Another major hurdle is the restricted access to online services.

8- Greece

Greece has some of the best beaches in the world, and the country attracts millions of tourists every year. Expats enjoy the Mediterranean climate. But if you want to live and work in Greece, you should know that it’s among the worst countries for expats. The biggest concern for expats is personal finance. The survey found that 39% expats worry about their financial situation, and 42% believe their household income is not even sufficient to cover the daily costs. Greece also performed poorly in terms of job security and career prospects.

7- United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has been living in confusion, illusion, and uncertainty for the last few years amid the Brexit saga. The looming Brexit makes expats in the UK visibly worried about their future and the country’s political stability. Some expats are also unhappy with the state of the economy. Surprisingly, expats also struggle to settle in the UK, primarily because the locals are not friendly towards foreigners.

6- India

Expats living in India have complained that they struggle to get a local mobile phone number. Accessing government services online is another major concern. According to the survey, 44% expats don’t find the country peaceful, and 27% do not feel safe in India. Expats have also criticized the quality of the environment in the country. Life in India is affordable, but expats are not happy with the long working hours for full-timers.

5- Turkey

Turkey is the 5th worst country for expats in the world. You wouldn’t want to live and work there if you have a family. Close to 40% expat parents are dissatisfied with the options for children’s education in Turkey. The quality of education is not good either. Other major concerns are poor work-life balance, low career prospects, and the lack of job security. The survey found that 47% expats also worry about the country’s political stability.

4- Brazil

Brazil sits at the bottom in terms of safety and security. A staggering 61% expats don’t feel safe in the country, and 41% don’t find Brazil peaceful. According to the survey, 53% expats are dissatisfied with political stability. Though locals tend to be welcoming of families with children, Brazil came second last in the Family Life Index, only ahead of Turkey. More than 54% expat parents rated it as the worst country for family well-being.

3- Nigeria

Nigeria has been rated as the country with the “world’s worst quality of life” for expats. It also ranked at the bottom in terms of health & well-being, and travel & transportation. About 66% expats said healthcare in Nigeria was expensive and low-quality. Safety and security is another major concern. More than half of expats don’t feel safe in the country.

2- Italy

Italy has a rich history and beautifully-preserved cultural sites, which helped it attract 62 million tourists last year. But the Italian economy is a mess. It ranked last on the Working Abroad Index. More than 84% participants are not satisfied with the state of Italy’s economy. A third of respondents are unhappy with their jobs and 50% are dissatisfied with their career prospects. Other major concerns for expats are the cost of living and the language barrier.

1- Kuwait

The Middle-Eastern nation has been rated the worst country for expats in 2019. More than half of respondents find it difficult to settle in Kuwait and adapt to the local culture. The locals are also not friendly towards expats. The country offers a low quality of life and poor work-life balance. Expats are also not so optimistic about their career prospects.



About the Author

Vikas Shukla
Although he has a background in finance and holds an MBA, Vikas Shukla is a technology reporter. He has a strong interest in gadgets, gizmos, and science. He writes regularly on these topics. - He can be contacted by email at vshukla@valuewalk.com