The Gulf country of Bahrain was picked by expatriates as the best place to live and work in, according to the 2017 Expat Insider survey conducted annually by InterNations.
InterNations is a Munich-based network of 2.8 million expats.
Bahrain topped the survey and according to the respondents, it is the best place to work and raise a family and highly praised the Gulf country for making foreigners feel welcome.
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were in the bottom 10 of the 65 countries ranked in the survey. Kuwait ranked 64th, Saudi Arabia was 61st and Qatar was 58th.
The UAE ranked 26th in the list.
The survey sought to get the views of millions of executives, skilled workers, students and retirees who live outside the country where they grew up.
The survey involved almost 13,000 expatriates of 166 nationalities.
Finaccord’s market research showed that there are about 50 million expats worldwide and the number is expected to hit 60 million over the next five years. They often have a choice of where they want to live, and their opinions matter to countries that want to attract talented and affluent people.
Taiwan, which topped last year’s survey, dropped to fourth place while Singapore edged into the top 10, placing ninth.
The rest of the top 10 are: Costa Rica (2nd), Mexico (3rd), Portugal (5th), New Zealand (6th), Malta (7th), Colombia (8th), Spain (10th).
Hong Kong was at 39th, up five places on last year.
While China is one of the expats’ favorite places to work in, where two-thirds of respondents are happy with their careers, it ranked 55th because of quality of life.
The expats there, especially those with children, expressed concern about the severe pollution and the quality and cost of health care and education.
Since last year’s US presidential elections and Brexit votes, both countries are now perceived as less friendly to foreigners and less politically stable, according the survey.
The expats also said the quality of life in the US and UK is declining by other measures, especially the affordability of child care and health care in the US and housing in the UK.
In the survey, The UK placed 54th, down 21 places from last year’s report as a result of its June 2016 vote to leave the European Union (EU).
Before the Brexit referendum, 77 percent of expats in the UK had a favorable opinion of the nation’s political stability, which dropped to 47 percent this year. The survey was conducted in February and March, before the most recent British election.
Just half of expats say the UK has a good attitude toward foreign residents, compared to 67 percent worldwide.
Expats in Britain have also soured on its economy. The weak pound and higher inflation put the U.K. 59th for personal finance. Almost two-thirds of its expats have an unfavorable opinion of its cost of living, with 69 percent unhappy with the affordability of housing.
The US lost some luster after a year of political volatility, said Malte Zeeck, a founder and co-chief executive officer of InterNations, as he pointed out that just 36 percent of expats have a positive opinion of America’s political stability, down from 68 percent in last year’s survey.
Overall, the US is ranked 43rd, 17 places lower than last year. One bright note is that 69 percent of expats have a favorable view of the American economy.
While Americans are still considered as welcoming, the perception is shifting. Three years ago, 84 percent of expats gave positive ratings to the US when it comes to “friendly attitude to foreign residents,” and just five percent gave negative ratings.
But this year, the negative ratings had tripled and the positive ratings had dropped 16 points.
Meanwhile, Greece was at the bottom of the list as it is weighed down by economic problems.
Australia, which ranked in the top 10 last year, fell to 34th place – more than any other country – as expats’ ratings of jobs, career prospects, work hours and work-life balance all dropped. GAC/Expat Media
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