Watch out! See the worst countries to live and work abroad

More and more people are looking for a better quality of personal and work life, and this may mean moving to another city or even country. Well, you probably know someone who left Brazil to work elsewhere or is planning to do so for the next few years. But what are the best places and worst countries to live abroad?

A survey by the InterNations agency, which has more than 4 million expatriates in its database, gathered the opinions of travelers themselves to create the ranking, and here we bring you the 10 worst countries to live abroad.

Expats rated five main categories and subcategories, such as quality of life, ease of settling in, work abroad rate, personal finances, ease of finding friends, local friendliness, ease of obtaining a visa to live in the country, ease of language and housing, gastronomic options, quality of medical care, urban transport, safety, cost of living, sport and leisure opportunities and many others. In total, up to 56 different factors related to various aspects of the expatriate’s life were evaluated.

The 10 worst countries to live abroad

The annual ‘Expat Insider’ survey has been carried out with expatriates since 2014 and, this year, InterNations gathered the opinion of around 12,000 respondents from 177 different nationalities.

A total of 52 countries entered the ranking, and below we will see the 10 worst:

10 – Malta

Seeing photos of Malta is like falling in love with the place and wanting to buy a plane ticket to visit this European country. Spending a few days visiting its beaches is really a good choice, but living there has some problems according to the expatriates who voted in the survey.

Digital life and administrative issues are some of the negative issues raised by foreigners living in Malta, as well as ‘travel and transport’ and ‘leisure options’. Malta also lost points on the ‘climate and environment’ issue.


9 – Italy

Italy is always one of the most sought after destinations for tourism, and it is no wonder that cities like Rome, Milan, Venice and others are crowded throughout the year. The country, however, is not ranked very well when it comes to housing and work for foreigners.

One of the expats’ complaints is that they are not well paid for the services provided, and 45% of respondents are dissatisfied with the job market in Italy. “The salary is too low”, complains an American.

rome things to do piazza spagna

Rome Italy

8 – Turkey

Living in Europe seems to be a good thing, at least in the movies and stories. In reality, this is not the case, at least in Turkey according to the InterNations survey.

While 60% of respondents in general say that moving to another country has improved their prospects for improving their professional career, in Turkey that number is at 48% – and 34% said they were bad about the local job market. “Finding work here is very difficult”, pointed out a Cameroonian. “The working conditions are not good at all compared to the salary.”

Itinerary in Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

7 – South Africa

If 46% of expatriates in South Africa say they are satisfied with the accessibility of finding housing, which is a good number, 45% say it is difficult to get a visa to move to the African country, and more than half say it is complicated dealing with the country’s bureaucracy.

Quality of life ends up getting a low score due to lack of personal safety, political instability and high crime. An Irishman stated that “crime, security, inequality and poverty” are his biggest concerns when living in South Africa.

The lack of perspective of a good job and the low salary are also some of the complaints of the interviewees.

Cape Town, South Africa

6 – Japan

Language was one of the main factors pointed out by expatriates in the survey that made life difficult in Japan – 53% of people said it was difficult to live in the country without speaking Japanese, which leads to other difficulties: finding housing and opening a bank account.

The workload is also criticized by the interviewees, as well as the lack of openness to new ideas. The country, however, is well evaluated in terms of health and transportation.

tokyo, japan

5 – Luxembourg

One of the smallest countries in the world is also one of the worst countries to live and work according to the InterNations expatriate ranking.

Luxembourg was poorly rated in the Finance Index, and 71% of respondents say they struggle with the high cost of living – more than double the global average. Already 51% said that the money does not last long.

On the other hand, Luxembourg was the best cited country when it comes to ease of public transport.

4 – Cyprus

Living in Cyprus is not very cheap, according to the survey, which heard 44% of expatriates say that they are dissatisfied with their family income and that, with what they earn, it is not possible to live comfortably enough.

Furthermore, 34% are dissatisfied with their career opportunities (versus 22% globally). “I think it’s difficult to find a job here in Cyprus,” one Nigerian told the survey.

Larnaca, Cyprus

3 – Hong Kong

The lack of space for creativity was one of the points that made Hong Kong fall at the bottom of the ranking. Despite having good ratings for accessibility to public transport and career prospects, this island in southeastern China does poorly when it comes to being able to openly express one’s opinions on work and the general cost of living.

Hong Kong

2 – New Zealand

New Zealand seems to be a paradise destination and a great place to live, right? Maybe for a vacation trip it’s even good, but not for living and working according to the ‘Expat Insider 2022’ survey, due to the high costs.

According to the interviewees, the cost of living is very high and the quality of life is not the best – in this case, the evaluation was bad due to the high cost of transportation and the lack of culture and nightlife. The country was also bad in the Work Abroad Index.

On the other hand, New Zealand scored highly on recreational sports and natural environment. Despite the fact that the country was ranked poorly, 60% of expatriates say they are happy to live there.

1 – Kuwait

Expats who have moved to Kuwait don’t seem to be very happy. The country earned the worst marks in almost all areas – only 37% of those who responded to the survey are satisfied with life in Kuwait.

The country was considered the worst in terms of Quality of Life and Ease of Installation, and 44% of respondents consider local residents as hostile (versus 17% globally); already 50% evaluate their social life negatively.

Kuwait – credit: Jan Dommerholt / unsplash


Whenever there is a list of this type, the question is the following: but what about Brazil? We were more at the top of the best countries for a foreigner to live and work in 2022, in 16th position among the 52 countries in the ranking.

Brazil did poorly in terms of security and protection, but did very well in terms of culture, ease of making friends, leisure options and ease of settling in the country.

Check out the full ranking here.

And you, have you considered moving to another country or do you know someone who left Brazil? Tell us which country you would like to move to and why.

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