Relocation can be a tricky business. When businesses decide to make the leap beyond county lines, there are a number of factors to consider. Usually at the top of that list is, of course, finances. Either a business will relocate to another country to cut manufacturing or staffing costs, or it expands to get a hold on a larger market of consumers. Setting aside the aspect of money for a moment, consider what life is like for the expats of foreign assignees that make the move with the business.
Expat Insider recently released the results of a survey which asked over 14,000 expats that exact question – and many more. Expats in 67 countries, hailing from a wide range of nations themselves – answered questions about quality of life, financial aspects, housing and more. Taiwan, Malta and Ecuador were named the top three countries for expats – but what about the worst?
Read on to find out which countries you might want to avoid when relocating:
At the bottom of the list is Kuwait, an oil-rich country which neighbors Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Kuwait is an ally of the U.S. and has a Sunni Muslim majority. According to the BBC, the country has one of the most open political systems in the region, though the government has faced many calls for radical reform. What makes it so bad for expats? Kuwait ranks very low in terms of health and well-being, leisure options, personal happiness, ease of settling in and job security.
It should come as no surprise to those who follow global economics that Greece is so far down on the list. The country may be home to beautiful natural sights and ancient monuments, but jobs are in very low supply. According to Trading Economics, Greece had an incredible unemployment rate of 23.5 percent as of May 2016. In fact, half of all people between the ages of 15 and 24 were jobless at that time, and Greece’s economy is predicted to take many years to recover.
Nigeria, situated on the Gulf of Guinea in western Africa, is third from bottom of the list. The country ranks very low for quality of life, personal finance and cost of living. The African Development Bank reported that falling prices of crude oil have set the country’s economy back. On top of that Nigeria’s major cities are growing at an unprecedented rate, leaving few job opportunities available. Security concerns also make the country unappealing to expats.
This year has put Brazil in the global spotlight for positive reasons such as the Olympic Games, and negative associations with the Zika virus. Although the country received middling scores in terms of personal happiness and leisure opportunities, it ranked quite low for transportation, safety, work opportunities and language barriers. While the country does a lot of business with foreign countries, expats should be wary of moving to Brazil for these reasons.
#63: Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest countries in the Middle East. It’s home to Islam’s holiest sites and large, skyscraper-filled metropolises. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, the country is an absolute monarchy, though elections are held for certain municipal positions. Its economy is heavily reliant on oil exports and related industries such as plastics. For expats, Saudi Arabia ranks very low in terms of ease of settling in, jobs and family life.
While the countries listed above aren’t the best places for expats to live, there are still plenty of opportunities in other countries such as Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Australia, Austria, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, which round out the top 10 list. Interestingly, the U.S. placed 25th in the survey, while Japan was 29th and the U.K. was 42nd, just ahead of China.
Which country would you relocate to? Let us know by tweeting @MSIGTS.