Munich: The Expat Essentials Index of the InterNations has released the list of 52 destinations that make life abroad easiest and those that make life most challenging for foreign expatriates.
The index is based on data from the Expat Insider 2022 survey by InterNations, the world’s largest expatriate community with over 4.5 million members.
While the Sultante of Oman (5) figures in the top 10, the report said that the top three destinations, Bahrain (first), the UAE (second), and Singapore (third), offer easy communication with the lack of a language barrier, while also posing minimal bureaucratic issues.
On the other hand, expatriates struggle the most with getting started in Germany (52), Japan (51), and China (50). Expats in all three countries struggle with the local language and a lack of modern digitalization.
The report said that the Sultanate offers a smooth start for expatriates.
Expats find it very easy to find their footing in Oman — it excels in the Expat Essentials Index (5th), ranking among the top 10 in both Housing (8th) and Language (7th)
Subcategories. Expats report that housing is both easy to find (79 percent vs. 54 percent globally) and to afford (57 percent vs 39 percent globally).
It is also easy to live in Oman without speaking the local language (75 percent vs. 51 percent globally).
In fact, only 33 percent speak it fairly or very well, 20 percentage points less than the global average of 53 percent.
However, the sultanate has its restrictions and joins Kuwait (51st) among the bottom three destinations for unrestricted access to online services (e.g., social media).
In fact, 13 percent of expatriates feel that their online access is limited, nearly twice the global average (7 percent). This leads to a below-average 38th place in the Digital Life Subcategory.
As far as Admin Topics (12th) are concerned, though, Oman makes life for expatriates relatively easy again.
Among other countries in the GCC, finding feet in this island country of Bahrain appears to be a breeze — it
secures first place out of 52 in the ranking of the best and worst destinations to get started in.
The Admin Topics Subcategory (2nd) is a particular highlight for expatriates in Bahrain.
About two in three (67 percent) report that it is easy to deal with the local authorities, an impressive 27 percentage points more than the global average (40 percent).
Visa issues also pose very few problems: 70 percent say it is easy to get a visa to move there (vs. 56% globally).
When it comes to Digital Life, Bahrain ranks below the global average for unrestricted access to online services, such as social media (34th) but lands in the top 10 spots for the availability of government services online (8).
The majority of expats in Bahrain (82 percent) say that it is easy for them to find housing, while only about half of expats globally (54 percent) can say the same. However, only 39% find housing in Bahrain affordable, the same share as the worldwide average (39 percent).
But expats in Bahrain are at least not held back by language barriers; 82 percent say it is easy to live there without speaking the local language(s) (vs. 51percent globally).
The UAE offers expats a smooth transition to life abroad, claiming second place in the ranking. Just like in no. 1 Bahrain, the Language Subcategory (2nd) is also a major highlight for the UAE. While only 40 percent of expats say that learning the local language is easy (vs. 41 percent globally), this doesn’t seem to be
a major issue, since the majority (85 percent ) also says that it is easy to live there without speaking the local language(s) (vs. 51 percent globally).
Expats are also very pleased with the way Admin Topics (3rd) are handled in the UAE, voting the country 1st worldwide for the ease of obtaining a visa to move there.
However, the UAE ranks 49th for unrestricted access to online services, such as social media. In fact, 19 percent of expats do not feel that they have unrestricted access there, almost triple the global average (7 percent).
When it comes to the Housing Subcategory (14th), 75 percent consider it easy to find housing in the UAE (vs. 54 percent globally), but only 38 percent
say that it is affordable (vs. 39 percent globally).
3 | Singapore Offers Expats a Well-Organized & Highly Digitalized Life ranking 3rd out of 52 destinations, Singapore makes it especially easy for expats to get started. With English as one of its official languages, it is hardly surprising that the city-state lands in first place in the Language Subcategory.
Saudi Arabia facilitates a smooth transition to local life for expats, ranking 7th in the Expat Essentials
Index. Like its fellow Gulf States Bahrain (first), the UAE (second), Oman (fifth), and Qatar (eight), it offers expats relatively worry-free bureaucracy, easily available housing, and not much of a language barrier.
Not only do 62 percent say that housing in Saudi Arabia is easy for expats to find (vs. 54 percent globally), another 42 percent say it is affordable as well (vs. 39 percent globally).
Although 77 percent are happy with the availability of government services online (vs. 61 percent globally), just 51 percent feel they have unrestricted access to online services (e.g., social media), compared to 82% globally. This results in a mediocre rank for Saudi Arabia in the Digital Life Subcategory (25th).
Qatar ranks 8th in the Expat Essentials Index overall. It claims a place among the top 10 in the
Language (5th) and Admin Topics (10th) Subcategories. Close to four in five (79 percent ) find it easy to live in the Gulf State without speaking Arabic (vs. 51% globally).
Worldwide, the share of expats who struggle abroad due to not speaking the local language(s) is 32 percent.
In Qatar, this percentage is four times lower (8 percent).
Qatar gets mixed results in the Digital Life Subcategory (17th). On the one hand, 91% say it is easy to pay without cash (vs. 84% globally), and another 81% like the availability of government services online (vs. 61 percent globally).
However, the country only ranks 46th out of 52 when it comes to unrestricted
access to online services, for example, social media.
The Expat Essentials Index is part of the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations. In the 2022 edition, InterNations asked 11,970 expats representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories to provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and
Participants were asked to rate up to 56 different factors regarding life abroad on a scale of one to seven.