Taiwan Rated the Top Spot for Expats in 2016

Expats enjoy Taiwanese food. (Courtesy of Taiwan Travel and Living Channel)

Taiwan, stands out above 66 countries and regions, topping the list of expat destinations, according to the latest InterNations Expat Insider Survey, just released.

According to the report “Expats living in Taiwan particularly appreciate the local transport infrastructure and the travel opportunities, as well as the quality and affordability of healthcare. A high percent  are also happy with their financial situation while 34% couldn’t be more satisfied with their current jobs”.

This is the 3rd such annual survey conducted by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with 2.3 million members stationed at 390 locations around the world. Taiwan has been included in the results for the 1st time.

The Expat Insider Survey 2016 came to the conclusion that Taiwan was the best place in the world for expats to live after taking into consideration factors including quality of life, personal finance, cost of living, ease of settling in and work-life balance.

InterNations Expat Insider 2016 Survey - The Top Expat Destinations 2016. (InterNations)
InterNations Expat Insider 2016 Survey – The Top Expat Destinations 2016. (InterNations)

The InterNations’s survey taken among its members, covered more than 14,000 expats including 174 nationalities living in 191 countries, which inquired about their experience of living overseas.

Respondents were asked to rate 43 aspects of life on a 1-7 scale, the results were then combined into 16 subcategories from which mean values were used to rate topical indices. 

On this basis Taiwan outperformed 66 other counterparts in the survey and topped the list. Ecuador, last year’s winner dropped to 3rd place, Mexico also dropped from 2nd to 4th, while Malta advanced by 1 position to take 2nd place, in this year’s survey.

The survey showed that up to 85% of expats in Taiwan were happy with their financial situation, compared to a global average of 64%. A high percentage of Expats in Taiwan were also satisfied with the quality and affordability of the local healthcare system (94% and 95% respectively), friendliness towards foreign residents and the overall living experience. They found it easy to communicate with local people, in spite of the difficulties in learning Chinese.

Expats in Taiwan were generally satisfied with the natural beauty and work-life balance that Taiwan offers. Taiwan was very affordable in eating out and socializing, compared to other Asia Pacific destinations. However, the housing market in Taiwan has become increasingly expensive.

According to the report, “A staggering 99% rate their personal safety favourably, and 78% even say it is very good. Around nine out of ten expats (89%) are also happy with the peacefulness in Taiwan. However, this Asian country only ranks 10th in the Safety & Security subcategory due to political uncertainties. Not one person considers the climate and weather to be very bad, with 3 out of 4 giving this a positive rating compared with a global average of 61%”.

Men and women agree on Taiwan, whereas in other countries ratings vary considerably

“Women and men are in agreement on Taiwan, while the rankings differ considerably in countries such as India, Colombia, and Sweden. Nowhere are opinions more divided than in Cyprus” the report states.

The top 10 on the list are Taiwan, Malta, Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Australia, Austria, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.

The 10 countries from the bottom are listed as Kuwait, Greece, Nigeria, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mozambique, Qatar, Italy and Tanzania.

While expats give newcomer Taiwan a high rating, some of Taiwan’s neighbours have become less attractive over the last two years. Serious air pollution pushed China down 10 places to 48 out of 67 countries.


InterNations Expat Insider 2016 Survey, country report for China. (Internations)
InterNations Expat Insider 2016 Survey, country report for China. (Internations)

Although respondents report positively about career opportunities and job prospects in China, many negative aspects drag its rating down with 84% of respondents unhappy with quality of the environmental, it ranks 64 out of 67 in the health subcategory and only 45% of respondents were positive about local healthcare.

The language barrier is seen as a particular difficulty, with its writing system and many verbal dialects – 82% view learning the language a key difficulty. China’s Ease of Settling in index has declined to 60th out of 67, with newcomers Taiwan, Ukraine, Morocco, and Egypt all posting better results. Other detracting features mentioned are the lack of child care options and the lack of leisure activities for children, leading to a low rating for family life.

Hong Kong

InterNations Expat Insider 2016 Survey - country report for Hong Kong. (InterNations)
InterNations Expat Insider 2016 Survey – country report for Hong Kong. (InterNations)

Hong Kong has fallen dramatically in the overall ranking from 10th in 2014 to 44th in 2016.

Hong Kong has shown a decline since the 2014 survey in nearly every factor, dropping in Quality of Life (from 4 to 25), Ease of Settling In (35 to 48), Working Abroad (22 to 33), Family Life (32 to 37) and Cost of Living (44 to 66).

The report states “Now in 2016, Hong Kong is firmly in the bottom half of the ranking, having fallen an additional 18 spots to land at 44th place out of 67 countries. The Personal Finance Index took a major hit, dropping from 24th to 42nd place. Hong Kong also lost 11 spots in both the Ease of Settling In (37th to 48th) and the Working Abroad Indices (22nd to 33rd)”.

In an official statement, Malte Zeeck, Co-CEO of InterNations explained “The respondents’ lack of satisfaction with their finances as compared to the high living expenses also shows in the Cost of Living Index, in the complaints about the lack of affordable housing, and even in the Family Life Index”.

Asia Pacific

Singapore also dropped, falling from 4th to 13th place in the rankings due mainly to unaffordable prices.

Australia and New Zealand (ranked 7 and 5 overall respectively) – both rank highly on Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad and Family Life but fall down on Personal Finance and Cost of Living indices.

New Zealand (5) and Australia (8) are also highly ranked for Quality of Environment but Scandinavian countries take the top spots in this subcategory: Finland (1), Sweden (2), Norway (6) and Denmark (7) – Austria (4), Switzerland (3) also rank highly in this subcategory.

For full information visit www.internations.org/expat-insiderSurvey Report 2016

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