10 Places to Avoid for Expats in 2022  according to InterNations.

10 Places to Avoid for Expats in 2022 

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There are many places to avoid for varying reasons – from the difficulty of making friends to the outrageous cost of living.

In this article, we included the 10 worst countries that expats should stay away from as much as possible, based on a report of the survey conducted by international networking site InterNations.

The report includes a yearly ranking of the best and worst destinations for those looking to live and work abroad. InterNations asked thousands of expats to rate their quality of life overseas; specifically, 11,970 expats, representing 177 nationalities and residing in 181 countries, were polled for this year’s Expat Insider.

1. Kuwait: Low quality of life and lack of friends

Kuwait ranked last in the survey for top expat countries, making it the worst country to be in and one of the top places to avoid. Expats surveyed consider the Middle Eastern country to be the worst in terms of quality of life and ease of settling in. They expressed that they are dissatisfied with the natural environment and consider that they are unable to openly voice their ideas. Expats also see the local residents as hostile, and they rate their social life negatively.

Moreover, expats are disappointed with their career prospects and their work-life. In terms of personal finance though, 76% of expats think that their disposable household income is sufficient or more than sufficient to live comfortably.

Overall, 37% of expats are happy with their life in Kuwait.

places to avoid kuwait
Kuwait to deport expats who protested in Fahaheel in June (AP)

2. New Zealand: So hard to land a job and so costly

In New Zealand, expats rate their general cost of living and financial situation negatively. In particular, 32% do not feel that they get enough payment for their work, 15% think their work makes no sense or has no meaning, and 26% hate their working hours. Expensive transportation costs and a lack of culture and nightlife also makes the country one of the top places to avoid.

On the bright side, expats enjoy the natural environment and the opportunities for recreational sports.

Sixty percent of expats are happy with their life in New Zealand overall.

3. Hong Kong: Improved career prospects but no room for creativity

Sixty-eight percent of expats polled do not find the general cost of living in Hong Kong to be pleasing and, even though relocating to the country has increased their career opportunities, 46% miss creativity in the local business culture.

Expats’ feeling of being unable to openly express themselves and voice out their opinions also cast a shadow on the commendable accessibility and affordability of public transportation (which otherwise would have been highlighted). They are also displeased with the urban environment.

Overall, 56% of expats are happy living in Hong Kong.

4. Cyprus: Absence of career opportunities

Not only are expats in Cyprus disappointed with their personal career prospects and working hours, but they also do not see a meaning in their work. About three in 10, or 28%, deem they do not get proper compensation for their job and rate their personal finances negatively thus making the Middle Eastern country one of the places to avoid.

Thirty-four percent of expats polled are frustrated with the availability of online government services. However, 62% of expats feel welcome and 58% are content with their social life.

Generally, 66% of expats are happy with their life in Cyprus.

5. Luxembourg: Where there’s nothing to do

Expats enjoy public transportation and the political stability in Luxembourg but negatively rate the culture and nightlife, as well as the opportunities for recreational sports in the country.

Twenty-six percent of the expats surveyed expressed general dissatisfaction with their job. They are also displeased with their social life and lack a personal support network.

Sixty percent of expats are happy with their overall life in Luxembourg.

6. Japan: Tough work and personal life

Expats find it hard to pay with no cash and are dissatisfied with the availability of online government services. They are also unhappy with their working hours and work-life balance.

Thirty percent do not consider it easy to get used to the local culture, while 25% feel they do not get proper compensation for their work.

Nevertheless, expats generally feel safe and find it easy and safe to walk around and/or ride on a bicycle.

Overall, 66% of expats are happy with their life in Japan.

places to avoid japan
Living in Japan (Getty)

7. South Africa: Where expats are concerned about their jobs and safety

South Africa is also one the places to avoid because expats worry about the security of their jobs, are displeased with the local job market, and feel unfairly paid. In addition, they rate their personal safety and the availability of public transportation negatively.

Expats in the country found it hard to get a visa and have trouble when dealing with the local bureaucracy.

On a good note, expats enjoy their social life and the relative ease of making local friends.

Sixty-one percent of expats are happy with their life in South Africa in general.

8. Turkey: Worst rated for working abroad

Expats are very upset with the state of the economy and their personal career prospects in Turkey, so it is one of the places to avoid. To add, 27% feel being unjustly paid for their work, which might affect expats’ discontent with their financial situation.

Although expats did not encounter any issues in getting a visa, they are displeased with the limited access to services online.

In terms of quality of life and ease of settling in, expats find the local residents to be friendly and thus making friends easy.

Overall, 62% of expats are happy with their life in Turkey.

9. Italy: Navigating day to day life is difficult

Despite how attractive Italy was portrayed in the movie Eat, Pray, Love, it is actually one of the places to avoid for expats. Those surveyed find it hard to deal with the local bureaucracy and to open a local bank account. Twenty-nine percent also feel that their work is unfairly compensated. Expats are also unhappy with the local job market and their personal career options.

Expats particularly enjoy the climate and weather in Italy, as well as the culinary selection and dining options. Sixty-eight percent of expats polled find it easy to adapt to the local culture.

 Overall, 71% of expats are happy to be living in Italy.

10. Malta: A low quality of life

The infrastructure for cars, the urban environment, and the accessibility of green goods and services are displeasing in Malta, according to expats. They even find it quite difficult to open a local bank account.

Expats are very satisfied with their personal career prospects, but they deem that the local business culture lack creativity.

While expats feel at home and have a personal support network in the European country, it is still among the places to avoid.

In general, 68% of expats are generally happy with their life in Malta.

Remote work and living overseas

In an effort to capitalize on the rise of remote work, many countries have created visas for digital nomads; some even offer tax-free living as an incentive. With more options available, prospective expats are perhaps unsure as to which place is best for their lifestyle and professional needs. They might actually land in a worse place if they are not careful.

People are showing an increasing amount of interest in moving abroad whether they are among the increasing number of workers who are dissatisfied with their current employment, or they are simply looking for ways to make ends meet in the midst of the crisis of skyrocketing living expenses experienced worldwide.

Due to the prevalence of remote employment, people can now live overseas much more effortlessly. It’s not strange that the concept as a whole would be alluring to certain individuals who are only considering it from a financial standpoint. In some ways, the possibility might also have political benefits, especially for individuals who are sick of the political drama in their own countries.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 669.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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