Want to live abroad? Top expat destinations to consider

In the cold, rainy, dark days of winter, the thought of relocating abroad can be incredibly tempting. With many destinations offering higher salaries, improved career progression opportunities, good quality of life, a better work/life balance and more inviting climates, it isn’t hard to see why so many British workers and their families are becoming expatriates, and setting off for new adventures around the world.
Sometimes opportunities to work and live overseas come through current employment, with multinational companies offering placements in worldwide offices, often accompanied by generous relocation packages. However, there are plenty of work opportunities to be found in many different countries, some that might not be immediately obvious as the perfect place for a British expat to settle.
Here we look at some of the top destinations to consider when researching the right place to live and work abroad.


Taiwan was listed as the best expat destination in 2016 by InterNations in its annual Expat Insider survey, which asks current expats to judge quality of life, ease of settling in, personal finance, work and family life in their new country. A steady economic growth year on year, as well as strong trading links with Western countries, means there are many business opportunities. Salaries are relatively good, especially when coupled with low living costs and taxes. Outside of the main cities, which are densely populated and bustling with day-to-day activity, the island is green and luscious, meaning that weekends are often spent hiking and relaxing in the sub-tropical climate. While the main languages are Mandarin and Taiwanese, English is spoken by many, particularly in business and in the capital city of Taipei, where many expats live.


Canada is a very popular destination for British expatriates. A familiar way of life, no language barriers and picturesque locations give it its appeal. In the Mercer 2016 Quality of Living Rankings, three Canadian cities make the top 20 (Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa). The second largest country in the world has a strong economy, centred around the business and financial hubs in the major cities. The cold winters can take some getting used to, but it doesn’t take long to discover a love for winter sports and the great outdoors. It’s a safe place to live, with good schools, an exceptional healthcare system, and reliable transport networks spanning the vast country, making it a solid choice for those moving with family.


Germany is a great option for those who want to try a different way of life, but don’t want to move too far from home. It boasts a very strong economy and is the powerhouse of the European Union. It offers a good balance between career progression and family life, which is attractive to many expats. Quality of life is high across the country, and most expats make an effort to integrate with the local community by sending children to public schools, learning the language and getting engaged in social events. Everything in Germany is renowned for speed, efficiency and reliability, including public transport and healthcare.


When it comes to economics, Switzerland is top of the list according to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, although it ranks highly across all other areas too. It has a fantastic quality of life, as well as a low crime rate. It is very modern and all the facilities and public services are first class and well maintained. It’s also very multicultural and the ability to speak a second language is a real bonus, but there are plenty to choose from: the four official languages are Swiss-German, French, Italian and Romansch. British expatriates are usually located in the larger cities of Geneva and Zurich, where trade, business and finance is booming. The only downside is the cost of living, which is high, but this can be negotiated into salaries upon relocation.
Information correct at time of publication.