Taiwan is the new Malta for expats with Vietnam rising up the global rankings

by Ray Clancy on August 30, 2016

Taiwan, Malta and Ecuador have topped the latest annual survey of the best places in the world for expats to live, with Vietnam the biggest jumper in the 2016 rankings.

In first place, Taiwan has knocked Ecuador from the top spot which is down to third behind the Mediterranean island country of Malta which has been an unexpected star in the InterNations expat insider survey which questions over 14,000 expats in 191 countries about their life abroad.

TaipeiIn addition to claiming first place in the overall ranking, Taiwan is in the top 10 for every individual index and first for quality of life and personal finance, impressing with the quality and affordability of its healthcare and the enviable financial situation of expats living there.

It is second place in the working abroad index with 34% of expats in Taiwan completely satisfied with their jobs, more than double the global average of 16%. It also has second place for overall satisfaction with life abroad, with 93% voicing their general contentment.

A majority of expats in Taiwan, 64%, plan to stay there longer than three years and 36% of these are considering staying there forever. However, Taiwan performs worse in the ease of settling in index, although it still comes in a respectable tenth with language being problematic but nine in 10 expats give the friendliness of local residents towards foreigners a positive rating, compared to only 65% worldwide.

Similar to Taiwan, Malta is in the top 10 for every index that factors into the overall ranking and performs best for settling in at fourth place with 41% of expats saying it is very easy to settle down in Malta, well over twice the global average of 16%.

Malta fell from first place to fifth this year in the working abroad index with 22% completely satisfied compared to 27% in 2015, which is still above the global average of 17%. While for personal finance Malta made a significant jump from 42nd to sixth place.

Ecuador has moved down the rankings with losses in each index, some more striking than others. Ecuador lost the most ground in the working abroad index, down from seven to 30 and the report says this was mostly due to its dismal finish in the job security subcategory where it ranked at 50, down from 22 in 2015.

Despite the dreary state of the economy, 27% of expats there are very happy with their financial situation, almost double the global average of 15%. This may be because 41% of survey respondents in Ecuador are retirees and may not be relying on Ecuador’s economy for their income, the survey report point out. This assumption is bolstered by the fact that only 13% of retirees were living in Ecuador prior to their retirement.

The three countries at the end of the list in 2016 have remained stable with Kuwait at the bottom for three years running. Greece is once again second to last overall and last place for the working abroad and personal finance indices and second last for family life. Nigeria was unchanged in third from last.

Vietnam has made the biggest jump in the 2016 survey, rising up 24 places to 11th and made the biggest gains in the working abroad index from 36th to 12th place and the ease of settling in index from 35th to 29th place.

Whereas in 2015, only 13% of expats in Vietnam were completely satisfied with their work life balance, in 2016 it is 19%. Expats there are also more satisfied with their jobs in general, up to 74% from 61% last year.

The percentage of expats that rate the general friendliness of the population positively has risen 74% to 84% and 41% regard the friendly attitude towards foreign residents as very good compared to 33% in 2015. It also seems to be easier to make new friends among the local residents this year, with 63% generally agreeing that this is easy to do. In 2015, only 48% were of the same opinion.

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