InterNation’s Expat Insider Report 2022 reveals the best and worst destinations for living and working abroad. Italy ranked 44th out of 52 countries in the report.
For the ninth time, InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with more than 4 million members, has published the results of its Expat Insider survey. With nearly 12,000 respondents, it is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, providing insights into expat life in 52 destinations.
Mexico, Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, Spain, the UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore came out top as destinations for expats in 2022.
The worst destinations for expats in the Expat Insider Report 2022 are Kuwait (52nd), New Zealand, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Italy, and Malta (43rd).
However, Italy’s position of 44th is an improvement over the 2021 ranking which placed it 58th out of 59 countries. And it’s not all doom and gloom; overall, 71% of expats are happy with their life in Italy.
Best Places to Live for Expats
Mexico (1st), Indonesia (2nd), and Taiwan (3rd) make up the top 3 destinations, and they all rank very well in the Ease of Settling In and Personal Finance Indices.
The full top 10 destinations are:
The Bottom 10 Expat Destinations
The bottom 3 destinations, Kuwait (52nd), New Zealand, and Hong Kong, all perform poorly in terms of personal finances for expats. While Kuwait ranks among the worst destinations worldwide for all factors, expats in New Zealand struggle with their career and those in Hong Kong are unhappy with the local environment.
- Kuwait (52nd)
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
- Italy (44th)
Expats find it hard to navigate everyday life in Italy. Indeed, Italy performs worst in the Expat Essentials Index (48th). Among other things, expats find it hard to deal with the local bureaucracy (68% vs. 39% globally) and to open a local bank account (35% vs. 21% globally).
Italy lands among the bottom 10 in the Working Abroad Index (47th), where 29% of expats do not feel fairly paid for their work (vs. 20% globally). They are also unhappy with the local job market (45% vs. 27% globally) and their personal career opportunities (34% vs. 22% globally).
Italy performs much better in terms of Personal Finance (33rd) and the Ease of Settling In (29th). In fact, 68% find it easy to get used to the local culture (vs. 62% globally).
Quality of Life (28th) is Italy’s best index: expats particularly enjoy the climate and weather (82% vs. 62% globally), as well as the culinary variety and dining options (84% vs. 77% globally). Overall, 71% of expats are happy with their life in Italy.
In 2021, Milan and Rome ranked as the worst cities for expats.
Expat Essential Index
Part of the overall rating, the Expat Essentials Index is new for 2021. It is based on four subcategories with at least two rating factors each. Respondents were asked to rate each factor on a scale of 1 to 7.
The Admin Topics Subcategory includes the ease of getting a visa, dealing with local bureaucracy, and opening a local bank account. Digital Life covers the availability of government services online, the ease of getting high-speed internet access at home, cashless payment options, and unrestricted online access. For the Language Subcategory, respondents rated how easy it is to learn the local language(s) and to live abroad without speaking it/them. Lastly, the Housing Subcategory covers the affordability and availability of local housing.
Trends in the Bottom 10
- Germany (52nd)
- Italy (48th)
- Malta (43rd)
In addition to Germany (52nd), there are plenty of other European countries among the bottom 10. Czechia (45th) and France (44th) are joined by Malta (43rd), Greece (47th), and Italy (48th). The southern European destinations have some clear trends in common. They do poorly with regard to Digital Life and Admin Topics, while showing an average performance for Housing and Language.
The survey offers in-depth information on expats’ satisfaction with the Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, and Personal Finance in their respective country of residence.
For the first time, the ranking also includes the new Expat Essentials Index, which covers digital life, admin topics, housing, and language.
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 nationality. Participants were asked to rate up to 56 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven.
To be featured in the indices and consequently in the overall ranking, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per destination was necessary.