These Are The Best And Worst Cities For Expats To Live And Work

Valencia, Spain (photo: IStock)

Valencia has been voted the world’s best city to live in if you’re a foreign resident, ranking top for its quality of life, leisure opportunities and ease of settling in, as per a new survey.

The Expat City Ranking 2022, published on Tuesday, is based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, a global community of people who live and work abroad. For this year’s survey, 11,970 expats representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories provided information on various aspects of expat life.

For a city to be featured in the Expat City Ranking 2022, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per destination was required. In total, 50 cities met this requirement.

Spain’s Valencia topped the InterNations Expat City Ranking list 2022 — with respondents raving about the quality of life, public transport and sporting opportunities — followed by Dubai, which was lauded for the welcome it gives new arrivals. Mexico City came in third for its affordability.

In the list, Johannesburg ranked at the bottom of the 50-strong list, with those surveyed branding the South African city as unaffordable and unsafe. Right above Johannesburg is Germany’s Frankfurt and the French capital Paris, which both scored poorly when it came to affordable housing.

Miami was the highest-ranking North American city on the list, in 12th place, with New York clocking in at number 16 and Toronto in 19th position. In the UK, London limped in at 40th place.

The Top 10 Cities for Expats

  1. Valencia, Spain: Liveable, friendly and affordable
  2. Dubai, UAE: Great for work and leisure
  3. Mexico City, Mexico: Friendly and affordable, but unsafe
  4. Lisbon, Portugal: Amazing climate and quality of life, mediocre work options
  5. Madrid, Spain: Great leisure activities, a welcoming culture
  6. Bangkok, Thailand: Expats feel at home despite safety concerns
  7. Basel, Switzerland: Expats satisfied with finances, jobs, quality of life
  8. Melbourne, Australia: An easy city to get used to
  9. Abu Dhabi, UAE: Excellent health care, worry-free bureaucracy
  10. Singapore: Easy administration, satisfying finances, improved career prospects

The Bottom 10 Cities for Expats

  1. Rome, Italy: Expats feel at home despite low quality of life
  2. Tokyo, Japan: Hard to navigate but quality of life high
  3. Vancouver, Canada: Housing unaffordable and local residents not so friendly
  4. Milan, Italy: Troubling financial situation, difficult working life
  5. Hamburg, Germany: Expats unhappiest here, have hardest time making friends
  6. Hong Kong, China: Frustrating environmental and work-life factors
  7. Istanbul, Turkey: The worst city for working abroad
  8. Paris, France: A top destination for culture and cuisine — if you can afford it
  9. Frankfurt, Germany: Struggle with digitization, administration and language
  10. Johannesburg, South Africa: The world’s worst expat destination

(With inputs from Expat Insider 2022 survey)


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