Expats might relocate overseas for a career opportunity, or perhaps it is simply for a change of scenery. Yet, with such a leap comes a whole array of things to consider.
Life abroad is not the same in any two places, and things such as social life, ease of settling, financial stability or quality of life can suddenly change.
A study by InterNations has highlighted some of the “best” and “worst” places for expats based on a number of factors.
The Expat Insider surveyed a total of 11,970 expats, representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories.
The results are published in the report in the form of an overall ranking of popular expat destinations, as well as additional information on five topical indices: quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, personal finance, and expat essentials.
Based on these topics, the online questionnaire was able to name 10 destinations where expats were struggling to fully find their feet.
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According to the research, many expats said they were “struggling to find friends in Kuwait”.
InterNations said: “Kuwait not only ranks last in the Expat Insider 2022 survey overall, but also in the bottom 10 of each index.
“It is rated worst in terms of quality of life and ease of settling in (52nd for each): for example, expats are unhappy with the natural environment (65 percent versus 8 percent globally) and feel that they cannot openly express their opinions (57 percent versus 18 percent globally).
“They also perceive the local residents as unfriendly (44 percent versus 17 percent globally) and rate their social life negatively (50 percent versus 26 percent globally).”
Many of the expats who took part in the survey also said they were “unhappy with their career opportunities and their work-life balance”.
However, the country performs well in the personal finance category.
InterNations explained: “76 percent of expats feel that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life.”
Overall, 37 percent of those surveyed said they were “happy with their life in Kuwait”.
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According to the survey, New Zealand was found to be “too expensive” by 75 percent of those surveyed.
Around 30 percent of expats included in the report that they viewed their financial situation negatively.
InterNations pointed out: “It might play a role that 32 percent do not feel fairly paid for their work, versus 20 percent globally.
“Since 15 percent also do not see a purpose in their work, versus 9 percent globally, and 26 percent do not like their working hours, New Zealand only ranks 42nd in the Working Abroad Index.”
High transport costs were also highlighted as a problem, and 40 percent of respondents said there was a “lack of culture and nightlife”.
Despite this, 60 percent of expats said they were happy with their life in New Zealand.
In third place was Hong Kong, where, according to InterNations, 68 percent of respondents said they are unhappy with “the general cost of living”.
InterNations explained: “The destination narrowly escapes the bottom 10 in the Working Abroad Index: 46 percent miss creativity in the local business culture, but moving to Hong Kong has indeed improved their career prospects (70 percent versus 60 percent globally).”
Expats did celebrate the availability and affordability of public transport, but 56 percent said they felt “they cannot openly express themselves and their opinions”.
Overall, 56 percent of expats are happy with their life in Hong Kong.