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The best and worst places for relocation in 2021.

The majority of people would agree that Gibraltar has been one of the best places in the world to live in during the pandemic, given the relatively low number of COVID-19 cases we had and one of the most successful vaccination programs in the world. With a sizeable expat community in Gibraltar, not only from the UK, but from a wide variety of countries across the world, the past year has not been an easy one for those on relocation assignments. 

According to a recent global survey by InterNations Organisation (May 2021), close to one in five respondents (18%) say that they have returned from a stay abroad earlier than originally planned. When asked about the main reason for their earlier return, many cite the desire to be closer to their family and/or friends (22%), a job or business opportunity lost due to COVID-19 (21%), or concerns about their personal and/or their family’s health (16%). In addition, 12% were recalled by their own or their partner’s employer, while one in ten (10%) was worried about the local healthcare system in their host country. 

Among those who were considering relocation, one in six (17%) had to stop their plans either to move abroad in the first place or to relocate from one foreign country to another. Those respondents who had to put their international relocation plans on hold due to the pandemic often struggle with organisational aspects: 35% say that travel restrictions are the reason for their changed plans. One in five (20%) simply did not feel comfortable moving to another country in such uncertain times, 11% could not or cannot find a job abroad, and 7% state that their work as a freelancer and/or new business owner was made impossible by the pandemic. If you’re one of the many that are planning to relocate, we recommend getting in touch with local movers to help make the move easier.

But COVID-19 has not only disrupted relocation plans; when asked where they see the biggest impact of the pandemic on their personal life right now, expat respondents pointed out its effect on personal travel (25%), social life (23%) and their work and business (16%) in particular:

Source: InterNations Organisation survey (May 2021)

 

One in five (20%) simply did not feel comfortable moving to another country.

Indeed, many issues mentioned by expats in the InterNations survey are issues that our relocation advisory team in Gibraltar has had to deal with over the past year, be it in relation to prospective newcomers to Gibraltar or expats living in Gibraltar.

So, which are the best and worst countries to relocate to in 2021? The InterNations survey looked at responses from expats living in 59 countries, with a minimum of 50 respondents in each country. The survey examined parameters such as Quality of Life, Ease of Settling-in, Working Abroad (job security, career opportunities etc.), and Personal Finance (cost of living vs salaries). 

The following are the 10 top and bottom countries to relocate to in 2021:

Source: InterNations Organisation survey (May 2021) 

For the third year in a row, Taiwan ranked top destination amongst expats primarily due to its Quality of Life and Working Abroad aspects. Expats particularly favoured the quality of medical care there, the high level of personal security, high job security, and the strong local economy. Taiwan also ranked number 1 in terms of the Friendliness of the people there towards foreign residents. Mexico ranked in second place in the overall ranking, with top marks received in the Ease of Settling-In criteria (ranked second in terms Friendliness of the people to foreigners), and also does well in relation to Personal Finance and Cost of Living indices, with over 90% of respondents saying their disposable income is more than enough to cover their living expenses. Mexico however, performed badly in relation to Quality of the Environment and Personal Security aspects.

In terms of the Bottom 10 places, for the seventh time in eight years, Kuwait comes in last place in the survey. Respondents ranked it lowest especially in terms of Quality-of-Life aspects such as in the Leisure Options, Personal Happiness and Travel and Transportation subcategories. Kuwait is also the worst expat destination in the Ease of Settling-In criteria, with majority of respondents commenting on the difficulty of to make friends with the locals there. Italy was voted the second worst country for expats in 2021, performing badly in the Personal Finance and in the Working Abroad categories, with disposable income insufficient to cover living expenses and big difficulties for foreigners to find a job.

While Gibraltar was not included in the survey, two of Gibraltar’s closer competitors in the online gaming and finance sectors – Malta and Cyprus – were ranked in the bottom 10 destinations for expats. This is particularly due to low scores on the Personal Finance and Working Abroad categories. 

With summer traditionally being the time of year when most relocations take place, if you are planning on moving to or from Gibraltar, make sure to speak to us, as no relocation is the same and personalised guidance is often key to a successful relocation. 

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Eran Shay Managing Director, Benefit Business Solutions Ltd. With over 20 years’ experience in the world of Finance, Eran specialises in helping companies grow in innovative ways. Eran has ample experience in the fields of Corporate Finance, Regulatory Advisory, Business & Strategic Planning, Valuations and Transaction Support and his focus on technology means he keeps in touch with innovative companies in a variety of sectors. Ayelet Mamo Shay Co-Founder & Business Development Director, Benefit Business Solutions Ltd. Ayelet specialises in online and offline marketing, sales, and PR. She is the author of the successful novel “Relocation Darling, Relocation!” and provides relocation consulting and personal coaching. A busy entrepreneur, Ayelet also serves as Chairwoman of the Gibraltar-Israel Chamber of Commerce.