These are the 10 best countries to relocate to, according to expats

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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Thinking of a big move? These are the countries you should consider.     

It’s easy to sit at your desk on a freezing cold Tuesday, dreaming of a life lived elsewhere in the world but thrashing out the actual nitty gritty of the plan is a little harder. Especially when it comes to choosing which of the world’s 195 countries will best suit your needs. 

Thankfully HSBC have just released the results of the world’s largest expat survey. Over 27,000 people who’ve made the move to a foreign country were consulted on their satisfaction with various aspects of their new life, including categories such as ‘Making friends’, ‘Career progression’ and ‘Closeness with partner’. 46 countries came out on top, with India, Portugal and Belgium all taking places in the best 20. And with about 1.3 million Brits taking the leap overseas, the guide should prove an indispensable tool for those wavering about where to pitch their tents. 

Read on to discover the 10 most rewarding places to up sticks to around the world.

1. Singapore 

For a second year in a row, Singapore tops the expat country rankings. Perhaps it has something to do with its status as one of the most affluent city states in the world and its ability to provide a lifestyle befitting of that title to residents. Or maybe it’s the incredible mixture of cultures that being an international finance hub brings. Or it could be the fantastic education and healthcare systems. Or the great nightlife. Simply put, Singapore has almost everything down (ex)pat. 

2. Norway

Coming in second, Norway is “ideal for people at the family stage of their life,” says one expat respondent. But there’s plenty to be mined by anyone. Who wouldn’t want to live in country boasting both incredible landscapes and thriving cultural destinations? It’s not all about Oslo either. Cities like Tromsø, in the north of the Norway, offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences like the famed Midnight Sun alongside fantastic arts attractions such as the Tromsø International Film Festival. Couple that with the universal welfare system and it’s the easiest sell in the world. 

3. New Zealand

Rugged topography? Temperatures of 30°C? And reportedly some of the friendliest residents in the world. What’s not to like? Despite New Zealand recently tightening immigration restrictions it remains a wonderful country to relocate to. Beautiful scenery, a brilliant female head-of-state and you’re never more than 128km away from the sea. Plus, the foodie scene is considered one of the best in the world - Kiwis are coffee connoisseurs, too.

4. Germany

We all know about the lure of Berlin by now. But Germany also offers expats benefits like great salaries: the average household income is £24,143, which compares to £22,044 for all UK employees. It boasts a wealth of beautiful cities to visit, including Stuttgart, Colonge and Hamburg - plus it borders a host of other European nations that make weekend breaks extremely easy. 

5. Netherlands

An iconic landscape (windmills! tulips!) and a constantly improving quality of life - the Netherlands is a very strong option for anyone looking for a calmer pace. And expats living there advise buying a bike immediately. “Biking is one of the best things about living in the Netherlands,” one immigrant writes. “Consider not owning a car. With the bus and the train, it is really all you need for great transport.” How freeing. 

6. Canada

America’s friendlier cousin. Thanks to its reputation as a liberal nation with extremely polite citizens and stunning scenery to boot, Canada is already cited as a dream relocation destination by many. The second largest country in the world, it offers both sun and snow depending on what sort environment you want to spend your days in.  It also offers a chance to become bilingual from a comfortable English-speaking base, thanks to its official second language of French. 

7. Australia

Even though a good chunk of Australia is essentially uninhabitable, it’s still the most populated Oceanic country. And that’s reflected in the diversity it offers: from the laid back lifestyle of the Gold Coast to the indie metropolis of Melbourne (check out this George Constanza-themed bar). If you can overcome having Christmas in high summer, it’s paradise.

8. Sweden

The most gender equal country in the world? Say no more, we’re sold. We’ll also take their commitment to a cleaner environment and fantastic welfare system. And the seafood. 

9. Austria

Rated extremely highly by expats for its work/life balance and the quality of life on offer, Austria is often overlooked in the grand scheme of things. No more. With its amazing Alpine countryside and grand cities (Vienna anyone?) it’s a solid bet for anyone. 

10. United Arab Emirates

Financial advancement is a huge draw for expats going to the UAE, although the cost of living is high. But being a tax-free area means that those moving to one of the Emirates can make serious savings if they’re smart - it’s a land of opportunity. 

Images: Rex Features/Instagram


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Moya Lothian-McLean

Moya Lothian-McLean is a freelance writer with an excessive amount of opinions. She tweets @moya_lm.