Conflicting surveys make research tricky for would be expats

Published:  9 Mar at 6 PM
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Hardly a week goes by without yet another survey advising potential expats on the best locations worldwide in which to live, work or retire.

Given that the majority of such surveys originate from companies selling expat needs from relocating through property purchase and insurance to the move itself, it’s no wonder that many of the much-publicised results conflict with each other in a confusing manner. After all, the only, mostly impractical, way to truly evaluate which destination is best for each individual is to be there and do that for at least a while.

Of three surveys released this month, the most positive would have expats believe that their move abroad is good news for their health, wealth and happiness. Half of the one thousand online respondents to a relocation company’s poll had lived abroad, the other half had only lived and worked in the UK or Ireland. The conclusion seemed to be that those who’d experienced expat life were healthier, happier and wealthier than those who’d stayed in the UK Exactly what those readers who were planning to start a new life overseas were to make of that is unsure.

Of the two remaining surveys, one dealt with discovering the most dangerous expat destinations and the other concentrated on the most welcoming expat havens across the world. Bahrain was one of the winners as regards welcome and feeling at home, even although the UK’s Foreign Office warns travellers of the risk of terrorist attacks and violent protests there. India also scored highly as regards its welcome to incomers from overseas, with the survey forgetting to mention the street crime, slums, dangerous road traffic and violence.

Although Malaysia was high on the list of welcoming destinations, its unsociable British expat community received a negative mention. As regards the world’s most dangerous cities, there are no prizes for guessing that Nigeria, the Lebanon, most of the Middle East and almost all of Africa are on the no-go list. Of course, upscale havens such as Luxembourg, Zurich, Helsinki, Vienna, Bern and other such luxury hotspots headed the ‘safe side of life’ list, but are unlikely to be the top choice of expats seeking a comfortable, affordable retirement somewhere warm within reach of a beach.
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