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The Worst 10 Expat Destinations

In the top destinations of 2022, expats especially appreciate the ease of settling in and their finances. The same cannot be said about the bottom 10, which include some surprises.

Struggling to Find Friends in Kuwait

Kuwait not only ranks last in the Expat Insider 2022 survey overall, but also in the bottom 10 of each index. It is rated worst in terms of Quality of Life and Ease of Settling In (52nd for each): for example, expats are unhappy with the natural environment (65% vs. 8% globally) and feel that they cannot openly express their opinions (57% vs. 18% globally). They also perceive the local residents as unfriendly (44% vs. 17% globally) and rate their social life negatively (50% vs. 26% globally).

The Working Abroad Index (51st) does not look much better. Expats are unhappy with their career opportunities (39% vs. 22% globally) and their work-life balance (37% vs. 19% globally).

While Kuwait ranks 49th in the Expat Essentials Index, it performs best for Personal Finance (45th): 76% of expats feel that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 72% globally). Overall, 37% of expats are happy with their life in Kuwait.

New Zealand Proves Too Expensive

Expats in New Zealand struggle the most with their Personal Finance (52nd): they rate the general cost of living (75% vs. 35% globally) and their financial situation (30% vs. 21% globally) negatively. It might play a role that 32% do not feel fairly paid for their work (vs. 20% globally). Since 15% also do not see a purpose in their work (vs. 9% globally) and 26% do not like their working hours (vs. 17% globally), New Zealand only ranks 42nd in the Working Abroad Index.

New Zealand has a mediocre performance in the Expat Essentials and Quality of Life Indices (39th for each). The latter is mainly due to the high transportation costs (36% vs. 17% globally) and a lack of culture and nightlife (40% vs. 16% globally). But expats love the natural environment (95% vs. 83% globally) and the opportunities for recreational sports (84% vs. 75% globally). Lastly, the country ranks 34th for the Ease of Settling In. Overall, 60% of expats are happy with their life in New Zealand.

Hong Kong Offers No Room for Creativity

Expats rank Hong Kong among the bottom 10 in the Personal Finance Index (44th), and 68% are unhappy with the general cost of living (vs. 35% globally). The destination narrowly escapes the bottom 10 in the Working Abroad Index (41st): 46% miss creativity in the local business culture (vs. 26% globally), but moving to Hong Kong has indeed improved their career prospects (70% vs. 60% globally).

Things do not look much better in the Quality of Life Index (40th). While the availability (96% vs. 73% globally) and affordability (93% vs. 70% globally) of public transportation is a highlight, expats feel that they cannot openly express themselves and their opinions (56% vs. 18% globally). They are also unhappy with the urban environment (33% vs. 17% globally). Hong Kong does best, but still not very well, in the Expat Essentials (35th) and Ease of Settling In (33rd) Indices. Overall, 56% of expats are happy with their life in Hong Kong.

The Bottom 10 Expat Destinations:

  1. Kuwait
  2. New Zealand
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Cyprus
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Japan
  7. South Africa
  8. Turkey
  9. Italy
  10. Malta
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