The 7 Best Countries For Working Abroad
For a certain segment of American workers—both full-time employees and contractors—remote work is not merely a perk, but the whole point.
And for those lucky enough to be able to work the logistics, the ultimate goal is to do that work in another country.
If you’re considering joining the roughly 8 million non-military Americans currently working overseas, you may want to pick one of these seven nations, which a recent HSBC study of 22,000 expat workers identified as most conducive to an overseas career. And, whether you want to work from a sandy beach or hunker down in an idyllic snowy cabin, there’s an option on this list for everyone.
Claiming first place two years in a row, Singapore topped the list for pretty much every reason you can imagine. Aside from a tropical climate (the island country is located just 85 miles north of the Equator) it also boasts affordable health care. Sure, you’ll have to give up chewing gum—and don’t even think about bringing your herb “medicinals” as all forms of drugs are strictly verboten. But ‘tis a small sacrifice to live in this clean, supremely impressive global financial hub. Want more proof? The average annual income for expats in Singapore is 221,522 SGD or 164,066 USD. Not too shabby.
2. New Zealand
Getting inspired in New Zealand is pretty easy, so it’s no wonder the archipelago-based country performed well in the “experience” category. Remote workers fell in love with the unique food and laid-back lifestyle, bolstered by friendly locals and a unique blend of indigenous Maori and western culture. Of course, it’s not just “Lord of the Rings” mysticism (the movies were all filmed there) that draws expats to this lush and rustic corner of the world. In addition to awesome healthcare and unparalleled safety, New Zealand also scored high in work/life balance and its entrepreneurial spirit. And, hey, no point on the island is more than 80 miles from the ocean. So if you’re looking to get your own startup off the ground, you might just find that a hobbit hole here is the ideal place to make it happen.
Germany has held fast to the HSBC study’s third spot for two years in a row, largely due to its strong financial standing. Economic confidence and job security rank highly here. Germany is good for families—as the country that coined the word “kindergarten” unsurprisingly also offers great childcare options and quality schools. Of course, it’s not all rainbows and “schmetterlings” (yes, that’s the harsh-sounding German word for butterflies). In fact, many expats reported that it can be difficult to make friends with the locals. In which case you can at least soothe your sorrows with a plate of schnitzel and a tall, frosty hefeweizen.
Oh, Canadaaaa… the expats love you! Our great, white neighbor to the north has become a favorite among Americans looking for a change. Economic ratings varied a bit, with strong showings in overall rankings supported by high rankings in economic confidence and career progression. However, you’ll need to be willing to put up with a lot of winter weather. In Quebec City, it snows an average of 70 days per year, 54 days per year in Calgary and 41 in Toronto. And while you’ll only see an average of nine days of snow in Vancouver, that’s not counting the other 150 days of rain. But hey, at least you’re just a short flight—or even drive—from home!
Bahrain might be a great place for you extroverts as this island kingdom has a huge population of like-minded expats for you to mingle with. A relatively small country in the Persian Gulf (not far from Qatar and Saudi Arabia), Bahrain notches major points for its off-the-charts wage growth, which probably has something to do with its title as the world’s fastest-growing financial center. Plus, the cost of living there is 17 percent less than in the U.S. It’s got an interesting and unique culture that welcomes diversity, and its warm climate and many beautiful beaches are also draws for remote workers.
The land down under is rated high in quality of life, integration, health, and finance, with related categories racking up some pretty good points for culture, healthcare, and more. It’s mainly known for a variety of totally unique animals, reptiles and fish species—from kangaroos to koalas to spiders as big as your head. And don’t let the maps fool you. Australia is actually about the size of the United States with vast variances in climate and culture. In other words, there’s something for everyone! Plus, shrimp. And barbies, too.
While Sweden might be last on this list of very stiff competition, those familiar with the country won’t be surprised that its highest scores came under the family category, helped significantly by 480 days of paid parental leave. And while you might be paying higher taxes there, you’ll also see perks like nearly free healthcare and college for European Union citizens. The country that’s given us Avicii and Abba—and often holds one of the top spots for patents per capita in Europe—could spark some creative inspiration for your work, too—if you don’t mind the cold. In other words, take a chance on this Scandinavian country.