Vietnam second best place in the world for expats

By Minh Nga   September 6, 2019 | 05:00 pm PT
Vietnam second best place in the world for expats
An American expat (R) attends a Vietnamese class at a language center in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Le.
Nine of ten expat respondents said they were happy with their life in Vietnam, compared to a global average of 74 percent.

The high rate put Vietnam second among 64 destinations around the world in an annual ranking compiled by InterNations, the largest global community and information site for people who live and work abroad with 3.6 million members.

This was a remarkable climb up from 14th position out of 68 destinations last year.

As for this year’s Expat Insider 2019 survey, the respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were bundled in various combinations for a total of 17 subcategories, of which mean values were used to draw up six topical indices: quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance, and cost of living. 

The survey that was conducted among 20,260 respondents representing 182 nationalities from 187 countries or territories.

On the ease of settling in, Vietnam moved from 31st place in 2018 to 15th in 2019, and over three-quarters of surveyed expats agreed that it was easy to settle down in Vietnam compared to the global rate of 59 percent.

Over four in five expats rated the attitude towards foreign residents positively compared to 65 percent globally, while almost nine in ten considered the local population generally friendly in comparison with 68 percent globally.

When it comes to the working abroad index, Vietnam took the top spot worldwide.

For the sixth year in a row, expats seemed to be especially impressed with their personal finances, ranking Vietnam first in this index for the second time.

In fact, 81 percent were happy with their financial situation versus 64 percent globally, while 75 percent agreed that their household income was more than enough to cover their living expenses, compared to 49 percent globally.

One in three expats even said that, in Vietnam, they have a lot more than what they need to afford life abroad, compared to 11 globally.

Vietnam also performed very well in terms of cost of living, ranking first in 2019. Almost nine in ten respondents rated the general cost of living positively, versus 47 percent globally; while 52 percent could not be any happier with this factor, versus 15 percent globally.

Negative points

On the other hand, Vietnam lagged behind in terms of digital life where it was ranked 51st, with, for example, just about half the respondents finding it easy to make cashless payments versus 79 percent globally.

Another dissatisfying factor was the quality of the environment, which was rated negatively by 57 percent, versus 20 percent globally.

Compared to Southeast Asian peers, Vietnam was the best destination in three of the five main indices – personal finance, cost of living and working abroad. The other two categories are ease of settling and quality of life.

For this year, the top 10 destinations on the overall index are: Taiwan, Vietnam, Portugal, Mexico, Spain, Singapore, Bahrain, Ecuador, Malaysia, and the Czech Republic.

The worst were Kuwait, Italy, Nigeria, Brazil, Turkey, India, the U.K., Greece, Russia, and South Korea.

InterNations cautioned that it wouldn't recommend anyone to move to Vietnam based just on the Expat Insider results.

However, the survey can be seen as a valuable tool for expats-to-be who are doing some in-depth research into living and working abroad, it said. It allows them to evaluate different areas of life far from home, helping them choose a destination according to the aspects that are most important to them.

Earlier this year, HSBC said in a survey that expats in Vietnam earn higher than global average incomes.

Although the average income for expats in Vietnam has fallen compared to the figure of $90,408 last year, 67 percent of expats agree that they have more disposable income when moving to Vietnam than they did in their home country, according to HSBC.

There are about 83,500 expats in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

go to top