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Thailand ranked 25th by expats as best spot to live

Taiwan reclaims its 2016 top spot with great results across all topics, but Vietnam is a close second even ranking first for finance and working abroad, while Thailand nosedives to 25th position.

Olivier Languepin

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Thailand ranked 25th out of 64 destinations to live and work worldwide in the Expat Insider 2019 survey by InterNations, a significant drop from last year 18th rank.

The Expat Insider 2019 report surveyed 20,259 expats, representing 182 nationalities, living in 187 countries or territories. The survey ran from 7 to 28 March. Respondents were asked to score 48 different factors — which fall into 17 subcategories — related to living abroad.

Those 17 subcategories are then put into five pillars — Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, and Personal Finance.

Thailand ranks high on the personal finance and cost of living indices, at 13th and 15th, respectively, down from the previous year, when it was sixth and fourth.

Vietnam (2nd) ranks first for finance and working abroad

While first-placed Taiwan is not new to the top 3 and ranked first in 2016 as well, Portugal (3rd) and especially Vietnam (2nd) have reached new heights in the global expat ranking.

On the other hand Thailand as dropped from the 18th spot to the 25th, very far from its best performance in 2015 (7th).

Nearly half of respondents based in Thailand are not satisfied with the availability of administrative and government services online. Additionally, the country ranks 56th for both political stability and the environment.

“There is no care for the environment,” said an expat from Luxembourg.

On a positive note, quality of medical care is one of Thailand’s strongest points. Some 80% of expats rated this factor positively and the country features among the global top 10.

Back on Top: Taiwan

Since first featuring in the survey in 2016, Taiwan has consistently ranked in the top 5. In 2019, it manages to reclaim first place. Taiwan offers a great quality of life (3rd out of 64 destinations), favorable personal finances (6th), an impressive working life (8th), and good results for ease of settling in (14th). However, with only 9% of respondents raising children in 2019, there were not enough expat parents for Taiwan to rank in the Family Life Index.

Nearly all expats in Taiwan rate the quality (92%) and affordability (89%) of medical care positively — no other destination has performed better for either factor since Taiwan entered the survey.

“The health insurance system and safety are what makes Taiwan attractive to me,” shares an Indian respondent. This is only somewhat offset by the mediocre result for quality of the environment (35th). For more details on Taiwan and the Quality of Life Index, please refer to the in-depth article.

Reaching New Heights: Vietnam

There is no better place for finances and working abroad than Vietnam, it ranks first in both indices. Together with the improved ratings for quality of life and ease of settling in, this means it reaches the top 3 for the first time, ranking second overall.

Over four in five expats (81%) are satisfied with their financial situation, noticeably above the global average (64%). The same applies to the share of those agreeing their disposable household income is enough or even more than enough to cover daily expenses (96% vs. 77% worldwide).

Vietnam places first for both career prospects and job satisfaction. Combined with a satisfying work-life balance — 71% rate it favorably, compared to 60% worldwide — and a good economy (82% positive answers vs. 63% globally), this makes it hardly surprising that Vietnam ranks first in the Working Abroad Index.

The country receives a comparatively disappointing result in the Quality of Life Index, placing only 42nd, though this is an improvement after its 51st rank in 2018. Respondents are still dissatisfied with their health and well-being (56th) and digital life (51st). “I don’t like the traffic, pollution, and bad public transport systems,” says a British expat. Over a third (36%) regard the transportation infrastructure negatively. Still, 88% are generally happy with their life.


Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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