Just five years after finishing in second place as the best country to live in if you’re an expat, Malta has come in the Bottom 10, at 50th. And it’s not even the first time, either.
The placing comes after a survey that engaged 12,420 expat respondents from across the globe as part of the 2021 Expat Insider survey. Bringing together 174 nationalities who live in 186 countries or territories around the world, this year’s survey also marked a first since its launch in 2014 – the participation of more than 6,000 local residents, including many former and future expats.
In what was very aptly dubbed “The Year Of Uncertainty”, Malta actually managed to move up two places from last year’s 52nd finish, but still manages to be low enough to kick off the dreaded Bottom 10.
Malta joins the low ranks of Mediterranean destinations like Turkey (52nd), Cyprus (53rd), Egypt (55th) and Italy (58th).
Commenting on these bottom countries, the survey results remarked how “expats are particularly dissatisfied with their working life and financial aspects” in these places.
Meanwhile, Malta is also joined at the bottom of this year’s list by Russia (56th), Japan (54th) and India (51st).
On the complete other end of the list, Taiwan topped all 59 countries, with Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia and Portugal rounding out the Top Five.
“The Taiwanese healthcare system truly considers people as human beings instead of mere numbers,” one responder said when asked why the country rated so highly. Beyond that, not even one singly expat said they felt personally unsafe in Taiwan… as opposed to an average of 8% globally.
So what were the factors in play?
“For the rankings themselves, respondents were asked to rate up to 37 different factors related to various aspects of expat life on a scale of one to seven,” the survey explained. “The rating process emphasizes the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these factors and considers both emotional topics (like getting used to the local culture) and more factual aspects (like transportation infrastructure) with equal weight.”
“The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were bundled in various combinations for a total of 14 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up the four topical indices cited above.”
COVID-19 has of course proven to be a massive upset; just last year, Scandinavia’s Finland, Sweden and Norway dominated the top three of the list, with every single Top 10 spot save for 7th and 9th being taken up by a European country. For context, this year’s top country Taiwan was 11th in 2020.
Malta has had a tough couple of years as far as the index is concerned.
Last year, dubbing the tiny island as “an outlier – the only European country in the Bottom 10” – the index highlighted “a more effective waste management” as one of Malta’s biggest goals for the year ahead.
In 2016, Malta had placed second in the whole world as the global expat destination of choice.
In 2017, it dropped to seventh.
In 2018, it came in at 20th.
In 2019, it was 31st.
By last year, Malta had entered the Bottom 10, at 52nd.
Hopefully, however, with this year’s minimal budge upwards, this could be the beginning of an upward trend for Malta that has been missing for half a decade.
What do you make of this? Do you agree with Malta’s ranking this year? Sound off in the comments below