Expats rank the best and worst European countries for careers, social life and healthcare
The remote work trend shows no signs of slowing down, which means now is a great time to try living in another country.
With more and more countries introducing digital nomad visas, it is also becoming easier to work legally from abroad.
Choosing a country well suited to remote work and your lifestyle is essential, however. To help you decide, InterNations conducted its annual Expat Insider survey of expat destinations around the world.
The global community of people who live and work abroad spoke with 11,970 expats representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories.
What are the best European countries to live in right now?
The 2022 Expat Insider report examines 52 expat destinations around the world and ranks them according to expatriate quality of life.
The survey asked expats about the ease of settling down, working abroad and personal finances where they lived.
For the first time, the ranking also includes the new Expat Essentials Index, which covers digital life, administrative topics, housing and language.
Surprisingly, only two European countries made the top ten this year.
Portugal is the best destination for expats in Europe
Portugal ranks fourth in the general ranking of the best destinations in the world for expatriates, in particular for its sunshine and good social life.
Nine out of ten expats surveyed said they liked the climate and the weather, while 89% were satisfied with the air quality. Expats appreciate the opportunities to play sports and 93% said it was easy and safe to walk or drive around. Bicycle.
Respondents also said it was easy to make local friends and have a good social life. An expat from Germany commented that “people are friendly and open”.
However, more than half of the expats surveyed said they had trouble dealing with local bureaucracy.
They also said they were unhappy with the local labor market and career opportunities. Thus, Portugal falls to 35th place in the Working Abroad index.
Overall, however, 85% of expats say they are satisfied with their life in Portugal.
Spain offers expats the best quality of life
Although fifth overall, Spain was voted the number one expat destination for quality of life.
Respondents said they like the variety of culinary and gastronomic options on offer, the opportunities for sports, culture and nightlife.
“I appreciate the social freedom and culture in Spain. There is a great nightlife,” commented an Australian expat.
Spain also ranked first for climate and weather, beaten only by its neighbor Portugal.
The affordability of its healthcare system is a strong point for expats – almost four out of five rated it positively. Of those surveyed, 77% said they can access all types of health services they need.
Although Spain doesn’t quite make it into the top 10 of the Personal Finance Index, 70% of respondents are happy with the cost of living, compared to 45% globally.
As in Portugal, however, expats expressed dissatisfaction with personal career opportunities and a lack of fair pay.
France has good healthcare but slow administration
Popular expat destination France received a poor ranking in the 2022 survey, coming in only 31st out of 52 destinations.
Although the country ranks well in the Quality of Life Index at 11th place, expats have expressed language issues. Three in five expats say it’s hard to live in France without speaking the local Languagealmost double the world average.
France also made the bottom 10 in the Admin subcategory. “Everything that is administrative is very complicated. The system is outdated and slow,” said a Lithuanian expat.
However, expats praised the country’s healthcare system, with 84% of expats in France satisfied with the affordability of healthcare, compared to just 61% globally.
“I like the access to very good services such as health care, aids and public transport,” commented an Italian expat.
Italian expats struggle with poor salaries and bureaucracy
Despite its reputation for dolce vita, Italy ranks among the bottom 10 destinations for expats in the InterNations survey.
Italy recently announced a new digital nomad visa to facilitate work from the country. But it still ranks 44th in the survey, with expats finding it particularly difficult to deal with local bureaucracy and open a local bank account.
The country also ranks in the bottom 10 of the Working Abroad Index, where 29% of expats feel unpaid for their work, compared to 20% globally.
Almost half of those surveyed also said they were unhappy with the local job market.
The country fares much better in terms of ease of settling in, with 68% finding it easy to get used to the local culture, compared to 62% globally.
Expats also appreciate the climate and Weather report as well as culinary variety and dining options.
Which European countries are the worst for expats?
Luxemburg also ranks in the bottom 10, criticized for its lack of leisure activities and high cost of living. 42% of expats are dissatisfied with their social life, compared to 26% globally.
Maltaalso, scores poorly with expatriates dissatisfied with the infrastructure for cars, the urban environment, and the availability of industries that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment.
69% of expats also struggled to open a bank account, compared to 21% globally.