Affordable and universal healthcare. Low cost of living. Friendly neighbors. Delicious food. Do these qualities remind you of a place? Taiwan!

Earlier this year, Taiwan was ranked the happiest country in East Asia. It is now also the best destination for expat, according to the 2019 Expat Insider survey.

In its sixth year, Expat Insider is a survey conducted by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with 3.6 million members. With over 20,000 respondents, this year's survey has gathered extensive insights into people living and working abroad in 64 destinations.

Taiwan is named the best country for expats thanks to a high quality of life, good personal finances, and great working life, according to the survey. It is rated best in the world for the affordability of healthcare, with 89 percent of respondents satisfied with this factor (versus 55 percent globally). In addition to the logistical aspects of life, 88 percent of expats find that Taiwanese locals are generally friendly.


Source: InterNations

A Canadian expat told InterNations, "I love that Taiwan is safe like Japan but with a wild freedom like Vietnam."

The only obstacle for expats settling in Taiwan is the language barrier: more than half of the expats struggle with learning and communicating in Mandarin.

Taiwan is followed by Vietnam and Portugal, with respondents praising Vietnam's low cost of living and friendliness and Portugal for its "relaxed lifestyle."

Hong Kong, on the contrary, is ranked 41st out of 64 destinations for expats. Its worst ratings are in the work and leisure category with respondents complaining about their working hours and work-life balance. While many working expats in Hong Kong have a higher income than their previous country of residence, the cost of living is shockingly high.

"I knew the cost of living was high before coming here. I prepared mentally for years, yet it is still a shock," said an expat from Canada.

But Hong Kong is far from being the worst destination on the list.

Kuwait has been consistently ranked as the worst country for expats except 2017, when it ranked second to last. Most respondents feel the locals are not friendly towards expats and "seem to resent foreigners." Kuwait also receives some of the worst scores in quality of life, available leisure activities, and career prospects.

Italy, similarly, receives poor ratings in the same categories and it is ranked the second-worst country according to the expat survey. While most expats appreciate the good weather and climate, they are disappointed with the overall quality of life and the country's political stability. 67 percent of the respondents also find it hard to live in Italy without speaking the local language.

A total of 25,259 expats representing 182 nationalities participated in the 2019 Expat Insider survey. They were asked to rate up to 48 aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven, and the rating process emphasized their personal satisfaction with these aspects. The ratings were then bundled to draw up six indices: quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance, and cost of living.

Data Source: InterNations 2019 Expat Insider Survey

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TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)

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