France voted as best country in the world for expats for fifth year in a row

by Ray Clancy on January 11, 2010

movingtofranceIMAGE200For the fifth year running France has been voted the best country in the world to live in for its outstanding quality of life and the best health care. It may have tiresome bureaucracy and high taxes, but its cultural life, cuisine, café society and laid back attitude makes it the best place for expats, according to an annual survey by International Living magazine.

France scored 100% for health care, safety and freedom in the publication’s 2010 Quality of Life Index. It has ‘an unsurpassable quality of life,’ the magazine said. In second place came Australia which scored high on freedom, safety and infrastructure. ‘Across the continent, Aussies and those who’ve chosen to emigrate there have access to an active and healthy lifestyle. The urban dwellers though will find plenty of great culture and excellent food in Sydney and Melbourne, and a cost of living below that of some of the world’s other great cities,’ the survey said. It also points out that Australia’s economy has managed to weather the global financial crisis better than any other Western country.

Switzerland comes in third place and is praised for its super-efficient, high-tech society, while neighbouring Germany is in fourth place. Germany is placed for its houses that are built to last, its legendary autobahns, sports facilities and its friendly attitude to naturists. New Zealand comes fifth and is described as having one of ‘the most pristine landscapes on earth’ as well as being ‘a wonderful place to relocate and raise a family’. It may be only 51 miles long and 35 miles wide, but landlocked Luxembourg is voted the sixth best country and one of the richest in the world. A third of Luxembourg’s 420,000 inhabitants were born elsewhere and cross-border workers and foreigners account for some 60% of its labour force.

In seventh place is the US which is described as safe, comfortable and affordable. ‘It’s hard to beat the day-to-day ease you enjoy in the US. You can buy eye drops at a pharmacy at 3 a.m. and have dinner delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less,’ the survey says. Belgium comes in at eighth with the capital city well known at the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. Brussels is described as Europe’s greenest city. ‘Along with many international schools, it delivers all an expat could desire: theatre, English-language cinema, sports centers, great public transport, beers, numerous gourmet and ethnic restaurants, and fast trains to London, Paris, and Amsterdam,’ the report says.

Canada, ‘a diverse country of incredible natural beauty and resources,’ is placed ninth and the survey says its health care and living standards are among the highest in the world. ‘Canada’s economy is based on vast natural resources, a robust financial industry, and innovative manufacturing including the renewable energy sector. Canada has remained resilient through the global financial crises,’ it says.

Finishing the top ten is Italy. ‘Trains are often late, workers frequently strike, corruption isn’t unknown and red tape comes in slow moving triplicate, but what Italians don’t know about la dolce vita (the sweet life) isn’t worth knowing,’ the survey found.

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