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Which Countries are Expats Moving to in 2017?


Published   06:20 AM 23 May 2017
Updated    06:20 AM 23 May 2017

Which Countries are Expats Moving to in 2017?
Immigration issues across the world are becoming as uncertain as the United States these days, and many wealthy global residents who fancy a change are packing their bags for opportunities abroad. In an annual study conducted by, one of the world’s largest expat community platforms, countries were scored with a range of criteria including healthcare, education, safety and security, and health and well-being, among others. So what countries are foreign nationals heading to in 2017? You may find some of the answers surprising.

Note: The countries in this blog are not listed based upon individual ranking, but regions among the top 50 countries for expats.

North America: Canada

Oh, Canada. Having Canada in the top 20 countries that foreign nationals are emigrating to should be no surprise. After all, who doesn’t love Canada? For starters, expats are choosing to live in Canadian provinces for a number of reasons that not only include higher wages, but a more suitable balance between work and leisure, and one that allows residents to spend time exploring the country’s natural beauty and city life outside of professional settings. As we covered in a previous blog, Canada offers its residents a multitude of activities that anyone can enjoy: from national parks to museums and theaters to sports, everyone can find the perfect recreational activity to enjoy.

With a growing number of Canada’s expats hailing from the UK and United States, newcomers don’t have to worry about language barriers, as the majority of Canada is an English-speaking country (with the exception of Quebec, whose official language is French).

East Asia: Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong

East Asia is becoming a preferred destination for expats, with countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong gaining popularity over the years and ranking among the world’s top 40 countries. While it might be a surprising answer, the East Asian countries’ respective rankings make them practical choices due to low unemployment and crime rates, family-friendly environments, strong economies, and top-notch healthcare systems.

Similar to Canada, a big “push” factor for these locations is also having the convenience of English as a spoken language in personal and professional settings—especially for American and British expats. In other countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore, both former British colonies, English is listed as an official language next to the countries’ mother tongue and widely used in international trade and business-related settings.

Although Hong Kong’s position has slipped in rank in lieu of European destinations for 2017, the country’s growing economy (and Deutsche Bank’s recent report designating Hong Kong as one of the world’s highest-paid salaries) should provide ample leverage as a top choice in the coming year.

Europe: Austria, Spain, and Malta

Believe it or not, Austria skyrocketed to the top of the charts at number 2 this year with an individual ranking as the most popular European destination for expats, beating out its former competitors of Spain and Malta—but not by much! According to surveyed expats, Austria’s clean water and air received top marks in InterNation’s Health and Well-Being sub-index, including a high score for the country’s infrastructure and easy-to-use transportation system.

Close behind Austria comes Spain and Malta, which have also ranked in the top 10 European countries for expats in 2017. For Spain, the country has received a number 4 ranking this year not due to its famously great weather, but high scoring on the Ease of Settling sub-index. In addition, expats increasingly find that local friendliness towards newcomers makes Spain an agreeable place to live.

Although Malta has been pushed from its number 3 spot from 2016, Europe’s smallest country still ranks among the top European locales for expats at number 6 this year. Like Spain, many expats enjoy the island’s beautiful Mediterranean weather, turquoise lagoons, local culture, and architectural history. For expats worried about learning a foreign language, the official languages are English and Maltese, with the latter a descendent of a Sicilian-Arabic dialect.

Final Thoughts

It should come as no surprise that a growing number of foreign nationals seeking better opportunities across Europe, North America, and East Asia, and for a multitude of reasons beyond a casual holiday.

At QICMS, we recognize individual circumstances of why foreign nationals choose to move abroad, whether it’s for better safety and security, healthcare benefits, expanding business opportunities, or to gain greater travel freedom though second citizenship or residency programs. If you and your family are considering immigration solutions for a better future, contact our office today to discuss your options for citizenship or residency through investment in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, or Asia with one of our qualified professionals.

For more information on Canadian immigration programs, please click here.

For more information on Spain’s Golden Visa Program, please click here.

For more information on Malta’s Residence and Visa Program (MRVP) or Citizenship by Investment in Malta, please click here.

For more information on Hong Kong’s Entrepreneur Visa, please click here.

Fill out our Free Assessment to see if you qualify for any of the immigration programs offered.

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