Top spots for expat living

SINGAPORE, 9 December 2019: Asian cities take the top four places in the  Expat City Ranking 2019, while Italian cities Rome and Milan join Kuwait City at the bottom of the chart covering  82 cities, worldwide.

Following on as the top scorer in the 2018 ranking conducted by InterNations, Taipei managed to defend its first place in the overall standings for the second consecutive year.

Second-place  Kuala Lumpur gained its high ranking due to the ease of settling in the country. 

Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam gained third place due to its high score for finance and housing.

Singapore took the fourth top spot followed by Montréal (5) and European cities dominating the rest of the top 10 places.

Singapore’s fourth-place further adds to Asian destinations dominating the Expat City Ranking 2019. The four top cities all do very well regarding finance and housing, although Singapore dropped points in the category resulting in a 15th rank.  All four Asian cities ranked among the top 20 of the ‘Getting Settled Index’, though results in the ‘Urban Work Life Index’ and especially the ‘Quality of Urban Living Index’ vary greatly.

Bottom of the List

Kuwait City’s disappointing performance mirrors Kuwait’s last place in the country-specific Expat Insider 2019 ranking. Expats rank the city among the bottom five of the Urban Work Life (79th), Quality of Urban Living (81st), and Getting Settled (82nd) Indices.

Italian cities Rome (81st) and Milan (80th) have nearly hit rock bottom. Both are among the 10 worst-rated cities worldwide in the Urban Work Life Index, with Rome even placing last.

Bangkok drops 15 places

The report showed Bangkok is going downhill fast with an ‘also ran’ ranking of 20th that reflects a massive decline from fifth place in 2018.

It is just not viewed as a serious contender anymore for expatriates, a situation that can be in part blamed on Draconian immigration and work permit rules interpreted by expats as a  ‘you are not welcome’ message.

The report found that Bangkok scored poorly amongst expats for health and environment and political stability.

Expats said they regarded the Thai capital as one of the worst in the world for the quality of the environment (79th), while it ranked 74th for political stability. Visa bureaucracy was another complaint amongst working expats.

But as compensation, Bangkok did perform better than Myanmar’s Yangon that ranked 73rd and is the only Asian city to figure in the bottom 10.

The study involved 20,000 survey respondents living in 187 countries and territories worldwide who were asked to rate more than 25 different aspects of urban life abroad on a scale of one to seven. It takes into account combinations for a total of 13 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up four topical indices: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, and Finance & Housing.