7 Best Countries To Live To Be An Expat
There are many countries in the world, but not all are great places to live in. Right?
Let’s be honest; relocating or living abroad is more complex than it sounds.
Many factors can make a country a good place for ex-pats, including the availability of job opportunities, affordability, quality of life, healthy life, and safety. Some countries are also known for their welcoming attitudes toward ex-pats and livability.
In contrast, others may face challenges in terms of health infrastructure, crime rate, language barriers, etc., in a foreign country.
This list will highlight some of the best countries to live in for expats to consider when looking for a new place to call home.
The Netherlands has consistently ranked the best place to live in the world, especially if you are a family or want to have one. Here is why we gave it the top spot –
Work-Life Balance: Whether you’re single, planning a family, or have kids, the Netherlands gives you work-life balance. If you’re planning to have children, there is good news too. As a mother, you can take 16 weeks of paid holiday; as a father, you can get 5 weeks off at 70% pay.
Education: Not only is the quality of education good, but the number of children with university degrees is high. According to OECD research, 42% of people aged 25-64 (above 37% in all of Europe) have a tertiary degree. Isn’t that something?
Healthcare: The system is efficient with short wait times. However, medical insurance is expensive and only covers a little.
Language Barrier: Netherlands is one place in Europe where you can easily find an English-speaking population.
Cost of living: The cost of living in the Netherlands is generally high, especially in larger cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague.
Quality Of Life: The crime rates are low, and so are the lowest unemployment rates. In fact, the 2022 World Happiness Index Report declares the Netherlands the fifth happiest country in the world.
The second place goes to Switzerland, a Central European country famous among tourists and one of the best places to relocate.
Switzerland has been voted fourth on the list of the happiest countries in the world and no. 1 country on the Human Development Index.
Here is why you should move:
Work-Life Balance: Swiss residents enjoy an outstanding work-life balance.
Safety: Switzerland is considered safe for residents and tourists and is almost crime-free.
Employment: There are ample opportunities (especially in the cottage industries), and the unemployment rate is low. However, understand that a lot of times, Swiss businesses don’t recognize foreign degrees.
Note: Not all businesses or locals are open to employing expats. That means your options can be limited, and the best cities for you would be Zurich and Geneva.
Language Barrier: English is widely spoken, but you should learn German or French.
Cost of living: The cost of living is high but remember, the salary you get here is also on the higher side. Living costs are manageable for those with decent jobs, budgeting, and investment strategies.
Canada is known for excellent healthcare, low crime rate, and high quality of life. And this is why it is an attractive option for families wanting to settle in a different country.
Some of the best cities are Ottawa, Burlington, and Oakville, and here is why the country features on this list:
Healthcare: Tax revenue funds healthcare, so it’s free of cost.
Language Barrier: Everyone speaks English.
Crime Rate: Canada is comparatively safer with a low crime rate, and it’s almost 40% lower than the crime rate in the US.
Employment rate: Canada is open to immigration so that you can find a job quickly.
Cost of Living: Living in Canada is expensive, and taxes are high, but if you earn well and know how to manage finances, it will all fall into place.
Free education: If you have a residence permit, it’s free to send your children to a public school in your area.
You may be surprised that Denmark ranks high in the quality of life index and ranks well in the Safety and Security Subcategory.
Here are a few more reasons to live here:
Cost of living: Denmark is an expensive country to live in, with an average of 8.8% more than the cost of living in the US. If you learn to invest right, earn decently well and have a savings plan, Denmark is a great country to live in.
While the taxes are really high, they are also used to provide free healthcare and education. So, it balances well. Besides this, you can also enjoy subsidized childcare in this country.
Work-Life Balance: According to the World Economic Forum, Denmark has the best work-life balance. Only 2% of employees have reported working long hours.
Healthcare: Tax revenue pays for free healthcare in the country.
Education: Like in other countries, there is free education in public schools and universities.
Safety: The crime rate is generally low, and it is definitely one of the safest countries in the world. It also means it is one of the most peaceful countries too.
Lagom: “not too much and not too little.”
The motto of the Swedish and our favorite from the list. Sweden is not just a tourist place and here is why:
Cost of living: Like the high standard of living, the average cost of living is also high in Sweden, averaging approximately 10,000 SEK for a single person (exclusive of rent). However, if you have a job in the country, you’ll earn SEK 32000+ a month (on average).
Income: While the salaries are high, the taxes are high too. However, if you are a registered resident, you get benefits like healthcare, pension, unemployment insurance, daycare for kids, etc.
Healthcare: The infrastructure is excellent, but it is not free. The cost is minimal, and the most you might spend is 1200 SEK per year.
Education: Primary education from ages 6 – 19 is free, and degrees from public universities are also free of cost.
Pro Tip: Whatever you do, the first thing you should do is get your Swedish Personal Number. Everything without that is tricky.
Germany is more than just castles and greenery. It has a GDP of over $3.85 trillion and is one of the richest countries in the world.
But, besides all of this, here is why you should pick this country:
Cost of Living: The cost of living in Germany is low, which makes it one of the cheapest places to live. However, the taxes are high and are utilized to provide you with world-class education and healthcare at a low price.
Crime Rate and Security: While Germany is prone to “not so much crime,” the good thing is it is a peaceful country with the strictest gun laws (and highest gun ownership).
The Global Peace Index rates Germany as the 22nd most peaceful country in the world.
Healthcare: The healthcare system in this country is reliable, the medicines cost less, and most providers speak English. In fact, the average life expectancy of a person is 86 years.
Language Barrier: While you should always work on local languages, Germany is one country where most people speak English.
Education: Undergrad programs at public universities cost less than $300 a semester. It is almost as good as free!
Looking to settle in Germany? We’ve got some great news. Unlike Denmark or Switzerland, there are no restrictions for foreigners to purchase real estate in Germany. Before you invest, though, take some time to research and understand the laws.
With beautiful landscapes and surroundings, Norway is a visually appealing European country.
But here are the top things about the country:
Crime Rate: It may come as a surprise that people often leave their doors unlocked, and this is because the crime rate is low, and it is the safest country to live in.
Family First: The workplace is comfortable with you taking time off to pick up children from school. You also get paid parental leave for over 707 days.
Work-Life Balance: The working culture here is good, with an average of 7.5 hours working. Employers don’t expect you to work after that or respond to emails over weekends.
Besides this, a typical workday starts at 8 AM to 4 PM.
Cost of living: The cost of living is high, and groceries are more expensive than in any other country. However, the good news is that salaries are high, even if you pick up a typically low-paid job.
Healthcare: The infrastructure is excellent and covered by the country.
Education: Both schools and universities are free of cost. Don’t be surprised by this, but Norway has a high literacy rateglobally.
Language: English is widely spoken, so you won’t have a problem.
Norway is ranked 7th happiest country in the world in the 2022 World Happiness Report.
And, if you want to retire abroad, Norway is a good option too. According to the World Economic Forum and Natixis Global Retirement Index, Norway is the most friendly place for retirees, scoring 81% on health, quality of life, material well-being, and finances.
Which Country Are You Going To Settle Down in or Move To?
So, these are some of the best places to live in. There are many factors to consider when deciding about working abroad or living abroad.
Some people prioritize a strong economy and job opportunities. In contrast, others may value a high quality of life and access to healthcare and education. Some people are just looking for the best places to retire.
Ultimately, the best country for an individual will depend on their unique needs and priorities. It is essential to carefully research and compare different countries to find the one that is the best fit for you.
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.