Kuala Lumpur won this year the title of “World’s Best City for Expats” in the annual survey conducted by InterNations, the global expat network.

Based on responses from more than 12,000 members around the world, the ‘Expat City Ranking 2021’, published on Wednesday, judged 57 cities on the basis of the quality of city life, ease of installation, working life, finances and housing.Malaga, Dubai, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Prague, Mexico City, Basel and Madrid round out the top ten in this year’s ranking.Kuala Lumpur won the top spot largely because expats felt at home there, praising the ease of settling down and the friendliness of the locals.“Kuala Lumpur also ranks first out of 57 in the finance and housing index,” InterNations said. “Expats find accommodation both affordable and easy to find. Another 80 percent are happy with their financial situation (compared to a global average of 64 percent) and 64 percent say their household income is more than enough.“However, it scores average on the Urban Work Life Index. Expats are happy with their working hours and work-life balance, but not so much with the local economy and career opportunities.”

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Malaga comes second after being voted the best city for making friends and socializing. It also came out on top of the local cost of living index and for its climate, but sits near the bottom of the rankings when it comes to career prospects and job security.In third place, Dubai performed well in the settling in category and was ranked as the world’s easiest city to live in without speaking the local language. More than four-fifths of expats described the local population as being generally friendly towards foreigners and 97% felt safe living there.“However, it lags behind in the urban work life index,” InterNations reported. “It even ranks in the bottom ten for job security. Expats are also unhappy with their work-life balance and only 65% ​​are happy with their jobs in general.”The cost of accommodation has also been criticized, with 41% deeming it “unaffordable”.

Table of Best and Worst Internation Cities for Expats

At the other end of the table, Rome occupies 57th place with Milan, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Tokyo, Cairo, Paris, Maastricht, Moscow and New York making up the remainder of the bottom ten.Rome ranked among the worst on the Urban Working Life Index, with expats unhappy with career prospects, job security and work-life balance. The city also scored poorly on quality of life, although the local climate was rated positively.Among other cities in the world, New York came in 48th place, with InterNations describing it as a city “where expats sacrifice their work-life balance for their careers.”Some three-quarters of expatriates in the Big Apple have expressed dissatisfaction with the cost of living, with the cost of housing and health care particularly appalling. Almost half of expats in New York expressed concerns about political stability and 28% feared for their personal safety.London beat New York by ten places, ranking 38th, although it also ranks poorly in terms of cost of living and accommodation. In addition, the local weather was ranked 56th in the world, just one above Amsterdam, the last place in the climate category.“On the plus side, 80 percent positively rate local recreation options,” the report says. “London ranks much better on the Urban Working Life Index, even ranking third out of 57 for local career opportunities.”Comments on other cities in the report included: Sydney (4th) “a sunny destination with great career opportunities for expats; Singapore (5th) »a high quality of life but a poor work-life balance; and Paris (51st) “lacking conviviality, personal security and affordable housing”.

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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