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These are the best and worst cities for expats to live and work in

This picture taken from Marina Barrage shows water fountains with the city skyline in the background in Singapore on October 10, 2022. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
This picture taken from Marina Barrage shows water fountains with the city skyline in the background in Singapore on October 10, 2022. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By Alex Millson

(Bloomberg) — Three different cities on three separate continents are the best places for expats to live and work, according to a new survey.

Spain’s Valencia topped the InterNations Expat City Ranking list 2022 — with respondents raving about quality of life, public transport and sporting opportunities — followed by Dubai, which was lauded for the welcome it gives new arrivals. Mexico City came in third for its affordability.

Not faring so well was Johannesburg, which ranked bottom of the 50-strong list, with those surveyed branding the South African city unaffordable and unsafe. Sitting just above it are Germany’s Frankfurt and the French capital Paris, which both scored poorly when it came to affordable housing.

Miami was the highest-ranking North American city on the list, in 12th place, with New York clocking in at number 16 and Toronto in 19th position. In the UK, London limped in at 40th place.

Elsewhere in Asia, Bangkok came in sixth thanks to its low cost of living, Melbourne’s work-life balance earned it eighth spot, and Singapore rounded out the top 10.

InterNations collected information from 11,970 expats living in 181 countries or territories. Fifty cities met the sample size requirement of at least 50 participants per destination.

Here’s the top 10 in full — with a brief description by InterNations of each city’s major polling features:

  1. Valencia, Spain: Liveable, friendly and affordable

  2. Dubai, UAE: Great for work and leisure

  3. Mexico City, Mexico: Friendly and affordable, but unsafe

  4. Lisbon, Portugal: Amazing climate and quality of life, mediocre work options

  5. Madrid, Spain: Great leisure activities, a welcoming culture

  6. Bangkok, Thailand: Expats feel at home despite safety concerns

  7. Basel, Switzerland: Expats satisfied with finances, jobs, quality of life

  8. Melbourne, Australia: An easy city to get used to

  9. Abu Dhabi, UAE: Excellent health care, worry-free bureaucracy

  10. Singapore: Easy administration, satisfying finances, improved career prospects

And the bottom 10:

  1. Rome, Italy: Expats feel at home despite low quality of life

  2. Tokyo, Japan: Hard to navigate but quality of life high

  3. Vancouver, Canada: Housing unaffordable and local residents not so friendly

  4. Milan, Italy: Troubling financial situation, difficult working life

  5. Hamburg, Germany: Expats unhappiest here, have hardest time making friends

  6. Hong Kong, China: Frustrating environmental and work-life factors

  7. Istanbul, Turkey: The worst city for working abroad

  8. Paris, France: A top destination for culture and cuisine — if you can afford it

  9. Frankfurt, Germany: Struggle with digitisation, administration and language

  10. Johannesburg, South Africa: The world’s worst expat destination

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.