While some expats look for a low cost of living, business-minded individuals may choose a destination for its tax benefits. Regardless, personal preference plays a big part.
Nonetheless, there are many countries that naturally appeal to expats, be it down to their laws, culture or established expat communities.
If you’re looking to move abroad in 2017, here are the top ten countries to consider:
Spain maintains its position as the most popular European country for British expats to move to, with almost 400,000 Britons now calling sunny Spain their home.
And it’s no wonder why – with its favourable climate, delicious food, charming locals and laid-back lifestyle, expats residing here are really living the high life!
The World Health Organisation has also recommended the country as a “near perfect environment that’s almost impossible to obtain”. Coupled with its healthy Mediterranean diet, it’s no wonder that the Spanish have an average life expectancy of 81.75 years (the UK’s is 80.77).
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If you want to leave Europe altogether, then the sunny land down-under is waiting for you. In fact, Australia is the most popular destination in the whole world for British expats to relocate to, boasting a population of 1.3m British nationals.
So what makes it so special, apart from its beaches and summer Christmases?
For starters, Australia has a very sustainable and well-built healthcare system, known as Medicare, which is free and universally available for residents, and is funded by tax and the central government.
While moving costs and property are expensive (and the visa process can be difficult), it’s a small price to pay for paradise!
50 years ago, Singapore was a small-island nation located in Southeast Asia. It wasn’t an economic power or a global hub for business and expats. In fact, much of it was swamp and jungle.
Fast-forward to 2017, and skyscrapers have emerged, with Singapore’s skyline rivalling any major city on Earth – it also boasts fantastic healthcare and business opportunities.
Singapore also has a thriving expat population, with over 45,000 British nationals calling the island home. Many expats relocate for the high wages, enviable education system and premium quality of life – although living in Singapore can be relatively expensive.
Some Brits may initially be put off by Norway’s arctic climate, but the country is a wonderful place to live. Not only does it have one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it is also one of the happiest places on earth, according to the National Happiness Index, where Norway came 12th.
Most locals speak excellent English, so expats are unlikely to experience many language barriers. And with over 15,000 Brits calling Norway home, you’ll have a sizeable expat community to help you settle in.
With 80% of the nation’s population born overseas, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an expat’s paradise. 20 yeas ago, however, Dubai was a very different place – a sparse desert with not a mega-mall or luxury hotel in sight.
Fast track to today, and you’ll be greeted with a skyline featuring some of the world’s tallest towers, including the Burj Khalifa, sitting at a whopping 163 storeys high.
Expats relocating to the UAE can likely expect a generous salary, as the UAE offers expat salary packages that are among the highest in the world. And the cost of living isn’t bad, at over 5% lower than the UK.
However, rent prices are significantly higher, with homes costing a huge 93% more than in the UK. Thankfully, the higher income offsets the high cost of property.
No one is likely to name the Czech Republic as a top expat destination, but its quality, inexpensive healthcare, low crime rates and an extremely low cost of living are giving other expat destinations a run for their money.
Setting up a business in the Czech Republic is a relatively painless process, making it easy for expats to relocate and establish their commerce operations. The only difficult part of the process is filling out all the paperwork in Czech; it’s recommended that you hire a Czech-speaking agent to assist you with this.
Combine the fantastic business opportunities with the low cost of living, and you’ll find that life is much more sustainable, both financially and in terms of wellbeing.
Canada has long been a favourite destination among expats; over 600,000 Brits call the beautiful country home.
Aside from the outstanding natural beauty (and tonnes of maple syrup), expats living in Canada benefit from its world-leading healthcare system, unrivalled education, progressive government and enviably low crime rates, making the country a serious contender for the top spot.
If that wasn’t enough, the Telegraph reports that almost 90% of expats living in Canada are happy, compared to the 44% residing in China.
Thanks to minimal cultural differences, you are also more likely to settle in nicely.
The land famous for dragons and hobbits has long captured the hearts and imaginations of people all over the world, thanks to its glorious landscapes and otherworldly scenery.
It now seems that New Zealand has captured the hearts of expats too, home to more than 215,000 British nationals.
Skilled workers are also very much in demand in the country – agriculture, construction and health industries are in chronically short supply, meaning lots of opportunities for skilled expats looking to relocate. Housing too is in low demand, meaning accommodation is cheaper and you’ll have more choice.
One downside to living in the exotic locale is the threat of natural disasters – earthquakes and tsunamis stem from seismic activity in the area.
If you love beer and sausages, Germany is the place for you! It has also taken huge strides in improving its economy and wellbeing for citizens, making Germany a very desirable place to settle down.
Famed for the efficiency of its train system, Germany offers excellent public transport options, making it a huge bonus for those without vehicles. Residents can easily travel to work and appointments on the bus, metro or tram, or make an excursion to some of the country’s large cities on the train. The autobahns are also a great way of travelling for those with cars.
Transportation aside, the Germans enjoy wonderful employment opportunities. They work fewer hours than employees in the UK and US, and women are entitled to at least 14 weeks’ maternity leave, while paternity rights are also covered.
Scandinavia has long been hailed for its progressive policies and high standard of living. Denmark offers its fair share of these benefits.
One of the country’s most obvious benefits includes the enviable world’s shortest working week, with the national weekly average standing at 33 hours. This is because the Danish take work-life balance seriously, and have realised the obvious health and productivity benefits that result from working fewer hours. Coupled with ample paid holiday, Danes enjoy a much more balanced lifestyle!
One downside to living in Denmark is the high taxes, which are a massive 40% of your personal income. The benefits of this, however, are obvious, with Danish tax money going towards healthcare, public services and infrastructure – all of which benefit everybody, regardless of income.
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