Special Report

The 25 Best Countries for Working Abroad

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5. Netherlands

The Netherlands ranks in this survey as the eighth most common country for expat residence. It’s among the top five for job security and in the top 10 for work-life balance. But like other European countries, it can be difficult to find a job in Holland as a foreign national, so the country ranks relatively low in career prospects. If you can land an expat job in the Netherlands, then you’ll enjoy some of the world’s best transportation infrastructure and quality of education.

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4. Norway

This highly developed Scandinavian country ranks high for work-life balance, economy and job security, but low for career prospects and job satisfaction, mainly because it’s not easy to find work as an expat. (Having English-language skills, for example, is essentially worthless as so many locals speak it.) Norway ranks among the top five countries on the survey for health, safety and digital life, a category that includes the quality of internet infrastructure and the utilization of newer technologies such as digital payments. Norway ranks lower on other non-work-related categories compared to its Scandinavian neighbors.

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3. Czech Republic

Czechia, as the country is also known, fell from the top spot on this list in 2017 thanks to more positive marks for Taiwan and Bahrain in 2018. The European country ranked high for job security, with 71% of respondents rating that factor favorably compared to the survey’s total average of 59%. A combination of job opportunities and low cost of living gives Czechia a competitive edge. The country also ranks among the top five in travel and transport infrastructure, along with family well-being, a category that includes child safety.

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2. Taiwan

Taiwan advanced to second place on this list, climbing from 12th place in 2016 and 2017, after receiving higher marks particularly for career prospects and job satisfaction. About three-fourths of polled expats reported they were “completely” or “generally” satisfied with their job security and gave their work-life balance the highest rating, in part because expats in Taiwan work fewer hours per week full-time compared to the survey’s global average: 39.9 hours vs. 44.0 hours. Taiwan also ranks within the top five for overall friendliness and personal happiness.

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1. Bahrain

The tiny island monarchy in the Arabian Gulf moved up to first place from third place in 2017, and from 37th place in the first Expat Survey in 2014. Thirty percent of foreign workers who responded to the survey say they’re “completely satisfied” with their career prospects in Bahrain, more than twice the global average, despite working long hours: 45.2 hours per week for full time. The country also ranks first for ease of settling in, a category that includes being made to feel at home and the ease of getting by without local-language skills.