Survey: Malaysia is the world’s fourth best destination for expats in 2021

Malaysia came in fourth out of 59 countries in InterNations’ Expat Insider 2021 survey, ranking above the global average in every index. — Picture from Unsplash
Malaysia came in fourth out of 59 countries in InterNations’ Expat Insider 2021 survey, ranking above the global average in every index. — Picture from Unsplash

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Malaysia has been ranked fourth as the best destination for expatriates to live and work in this year according to the Expat Insider 2021 survey.

The findings were released today by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community boasting around four million members.

Malaysia came in fourth out of 59 countries in the survey, ranking above the global average in every index.

Taiwan topped the list, followed by Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Canada, and Vietnam.

Kuwait (59th), Italy, South Africa, Russia, Egypt, Japan, Cyprus, Turkey, India, and Malta (50th) was voted the worst countries for expats.

Malaysia ranked second in the Ease of Settling In Index where 77 per cent of expats said they found it easy to settle down in the country and make new friends (66 per cent versus 48 per cent globally).

92 per cent of expats surveyed found it easy to live in the Southeast Asian country without speaking the local language while 45 per cent said Bahasa Malaysia was easy to learn.

Malaysia fared exceedingly well in the Cost of Living Index where it placed second after Vietnam.

Taiwan was ranked first, followed by Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Canada and Vietnam. — Infographic courtesy of InterNations
Taiwan was ranked first, followed by Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Canada and Vietnam. — Infographic courtesy of InterNations

Eighty-two per cent of expats rated Malaysia’s cost of living positively.

When it comes to money matters, the country ranked ninth in the Personal Finance Index where almost three in four expats (73 per cent) are satisfied with their financial situation and 85 per cent said their disposable household income is enough to cover their expenses.

Although Malaysia didn’t do so well in the Quality of Living Index where it ranked 19th, it performed well in a number of areas including social life and healthcare.

Most expats are happy with their socialising and leisure activities (80 per cent) and their life in general (85 per cent).

Eighty-two per cent of expats rated the country’s medical care positively and 71 per cent are satisfied with its affordability.

Many are also happy with the transportation infrastructure (82 per cent).

However, Malaysia ranked 36th in the Safety & Security subcategory with more than a quarter of expats (26 per cent) citing the country’s political stability as a concern.

Malaysia’s ranking dipped in the Working Abroad Index although the country still fared slightly above-average at 25th place.

Malaysia fared well in the areas of ease of settling in, cost of living and personal finance. — Inforgraphic courtesy of InterNations
Malaysia fared well in the areas of ease of settling in, cost of living and personal finance. — Inforgraphic courtesy of InterNations

Seventy-two per cent of expats said they are satisfied with their working hours and 69 per cent are happy with their job in general.

This year’s report also took the pandemic into account where it asked expats how Covid-19 affected their life on a global and destination-based level.

New Zealand was the destination where expats were most satisfied with the official Covid-19 communication followed by Taiwan, Qatar and Singapore in second, third and fourth place respectively.

Malaysia was ranked number 30 out of 59 countries.

In Malaysia, 49 per cent of expats rely on social media to obtain information on Covid-19 and related regulations followed by local news (47 per cent) and official government channels (44 per cent).

Seventy-one per cent said they are satisfied with the official communication related to the pandemic while more than half (55 per cent) said the information was clear and easy to understand.

Two in five respondents in Malaysia (40 per cent) said the pandemic impacted their personal travel the most, a figure that is much higher compared to the global average of 28 per cent.

Eight per cent of expats said the pandemic impacted their working life and 17 per cent said it affected their social life, a score that is lower than the global average.

Entering its seventh year, the Expat Insider survey is one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad that provides insights into expat life in 59 destinations.

With more than 12,000 respondents, the survey offers in-depth information on expats’ satisfaction with the quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, personal finance, and the cost of living in their respective country of residence.

This year’s survey included findings on how expats coped with Covid-19 and how the pandemic has impacted their lives.

Read the full report here.

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