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Where to Live and Work in 2024: Top Cities and Countries

The international expat community InterNations has come up with its Expat City Ranking 2023. It was compiled using various criteria such as quality of life, living conditions, employment opportunities, financial aspects, and real estate affordability for foreigners. 

Best cities in the world

Besides, an independent analysis of research conducted by other organizations was undertaken to name the best countries in the world to live in based on their safety index, living standards, and healthcare quality. Here are the most promising jurisdictions that offer advantageous living, working, and business opportunities across all indicators and indices:

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Luxembourg.

However, some rankings may vary due to the use of different criteria and indicators in the studies. Hence, an independent analysis is what it takes to pick your ideal country for relocation, business ventures, employment opportunities, or retirement. Obviously, the best course of action is to seek support from experts. With the resources, experience, and capabilities they have, top industry specialists will perform such analyses on the fly. They also offer comprehensive services across all relevant domains.

Top cities for job seekers in 2023 and 2024

The Expat Insider survey by InterNations has revealed the most comfortable cities for work, based on the input from over 12,000 respondents in 2023.

Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Amsterdam (Netherlands) has taken the top spot, offering excellent prospects for career advancement and a vibrant job market. Most respondents consider the Dutch capital to be the best place for career growth. The economy is thriving, with many expats working remotely, particularly in information technology, finance, advertising, marketing, and communications.

While Amsterdam ranks second only to Zurich and Luxembourg in terms of salary and wages, the city retains its top position in cultural development.

Ras Al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates)

Ras Al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates)

The northern emirate of the UAE made its debut in the top cities for relocation and work, securing the 2nd place. Here’s where Ras Al Khaimah excelled:

  • Career prospects: ranked 3rd.
  • Work culture and job satisfaction: 4th place. 
  • Local business culture: considered the best by 73% of all respondents.
  • Freelance opportunities: highlighted by 71% of respondents.

What is more, 81% of those surveyed noted significant advancements in their career after moving to Ras Al Khaimah, with 50% of expats citing employment as the primary reason and goal for immigrating to the UAE.

Copenhagen (Denmark)

Copenhagen (Denmark)

In the Working Abroad Index for 2023, the capital of Denmark came third, with 85% of respondents satisfied with their workplace. Almost all respondents (91%) consider local economic indicators to be positive, and only 24% expressed dissatisfaction with their career advancement. However, the overall dissatisfaction with career opportunities across all countries stands at 22%.

The other cities among the top 10 best places for expats include Stockholm, Luxembourg, Tallinn, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Zurich.

Top cities to live in the world

top cities to live in the world

The top three cities in the quality of life ranking for expats are all to be found in Spain. Each city has its own strengths:

  • Valencia: Known for its excellent healthcare system.
  • Malaga: Praised for amazing weather and climate.
  • Madrid: Famous for rich recreational options.

The other cities that are top-ranked as far as quality of life is concerned are Zurich, Alicante, Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, Vienna, Dubai, and Lisbon. 

In their turn, Dublin, Rome, and Nairobi are ranked the lowest.

The best and worst cities for expats

top cities in the world

According to the research conducted in 2023 and 2024, these are the most comfortable cities to live in as an expat:

  1. Malaga (Spain)
  2. Bangkok (Thailand)
  3. Alicante (Spain)
  4. Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  5. Mexico City (Mexico)
  6. Valencia (Spain)
  7. Budapest (Hungary)
  8. Ras Al Khaimah (UAE)
  9. Prague (Czech Republic)
  10. Madrid (Spain).

Malaga (Spain) is the best city to live in, according to the research. It has a friendly local community and great healthcare services combined with high living standards.

Alicante is the second most popular city for expats in Spain. It boasts a rich culture and a smooth adaptation process, even though the city offers fewer job opportunities than other places.

The third top-ranking Spanish city is Valencia, known for its high-quality healthcare system and excellent living standards.

More great cities for relocation

  • Mexico City (Mexico) is a friendly and hospitable destination. 
  • Madrid is a large and lively city where you can live, work, and relax comfortably all in one. As of late 2021, it boasted many benefits just like Valencia, the top-rated city, alongside its strong business and professional network.
  • Bangkok (Thailand) is famous for its multiple tourist attractions, e.g., Phuket Island, and the affordable Thai Elite Visa. Expats believe it also has great conditions for permanent residency, so they eagerly settle down, work, and enjoy life in the country.
  • Ras Al Khaimah is an emirate that is currently growing in popularity along with Dubai, the leading city for comfort and migration. Ras Al Khaimah is a great choice for both relocation and offshore company registration.

Spain dominates the ranking of the best cities in the world, with its ample opportunities for employment, property acquisition, residency, and permanent residency.

The world’s best cities for beauty, size, and climate

  • Some of the largest European cities that are great for both living or visiting include Istanbul, London, Madrid, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Vienna. FYI: Tokyo is the greatest city in the world, with 800 to 1000 people per square kilometer and growing.
  • Many people visit the world’s most beautiful cities as tourists, but some also choose to live there permanently. In 2024, some of the most gorgeous cities are Paris, Venice, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Kyoto, Cape Town, Istanbul, and Sydney.
  • If you are looking for extreme heat, please pay attention to El Paso (USA), which is known to be the hottest city in the world. It is in the desert and 3800 feet above sea level. The other extremely hot places with temperatures over 45°C include San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico (58.5°C); Ahvaz, Iran (54°C); Port Augusta, Australia (48.9°C); Las Vegas, USA (48°C); and Karachi, Pakistan (47.8°C).

Before choosing a city or country for business or relocation, we recommend you check the economy, living standards, and laws of the place where you want to live or work. Please be aware that every country comes with its pros and cons and some of them are highly subjective. 

Discover the best countries for permanent residency and citizenship by investment.

Top countries to live in 2024: an independent review

Below, you will find the list of the best countries for moving abroad. It is based on the choices and preferences of Offshore Pro customers and different company rankings. The latter look at things like jobs, healthcare, living standards, safety, and more.

Cost of living comparison: the world’s most affordable countries

We used the official website of Numbeo to rank the countries by cost of living and do more research on this topic. The index itself covers prices for consumer goods, transport, and utilities yet it leaves out rents and housing purchase prices.

Asia:

  • Some of the countries with the highest indices are Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea, UAE, Cyprus, Macau, Yemen, Qatar, and Bahrain. 
  • In their turn, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Uzbekistan, and Indonesia have the lowest indices.

Europe:

  • The priciest countries in Europe boasting high costs of living as of 2024 include Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Jersey, Guernsey, Austria, Ireland, France, and Finland. 
  • Conversely, the most affordable countries in Europe in terms of cost of living, based on the 2024 research findings, are Ukraine, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

America:

  • Here are the jurisdictions where you’ll find the highest living costs on the continent: Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the US Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Barbados, the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Costa Rica.
  • The lowest indices in terms of cost of living are to be found in Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Honduras, and Guatemala.

According to Numbeo, the cheapest countries to live in compared to New York (which has an index of 100%) are not always the best ones to move to or work in for different reasons.

Safest country in the world according to Numbeo’s Safety Index

These countries offer a secure environment for you to reside or run a business in 2024:

  1. Andorra: 87.1.
  2. United Arab Emirates: 84.4.
  3. Qatar: 84.
  4. Taiwan: 83.3.
  5. Oman: 81.
  6. Isle of Man: 79.5.
  7. Hong Kong (China): 78.2.
  8. Armenia: 77.6.
  9. Japan: 77.4.
  10. Singapore: 76.5.

Countries that may be considered dangerous include Venezuela, Afghanistan, and Haiti.

Quality of life ranking 2024: the best countries to live in

Numbeo has also ranked the best countries to live in by their living standards. Here are the top ten jurisdictions:

  • Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Iceland that share the top three spots with nearly identical indicators.
  • Denmark secures the fourth position, boasting the highest healthcare index (78) and purchasing power (104.1).
  • Finland claims the fifth position, surpassing Sweden and Norway, known for their safety and affordable property prices.
  • The Sultanate of Oman ranks sixth (above the USA, Canada, and Australia) due to its affordable property prices and high purchasing power. This jurisdiction primarily relies on oil sales for income and shares export revenues with its population. 
  • Switzerland holds the seventh position, offering foreigners and locals access to top-notch healthcare, education, and financial services in the country’s leading banks. Moreover, it boasts relatively low crime rates, stunning landscapes, and a favorable tax planning environment.
  • Norway takes the eighth spot, with a stable economy and efficient education and healthcare systems. The country boasts an average life expectancy of 83 years and has consistently ranked among the happiest nations for several years in a row
  • Austria secures the ninth place, due to its strong economy and low crime rates.
  • Among the best countries to live in, Estonia is a surprise entry. The jurisdiction lands in the tenth position, noted for its safety and healthcare indicators (76.2).

However, the choice of the best country in the world to live and work in is highly subjective as it depends on your specific goals and objectives. Whether it’s leisure, permanent residency, temporary residency, relocation for business purposes, tax benefits, or a comfortable climate and financial security, you will still be able to pick the best option using recommendations from Offshore Pro top experts.

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You are welcome to look at what we offer in each category and pick your country either independently or with our help.

Expat living 2023: the world’s top countries ranked

What cities are good for work, short stays with residency permits, or long stays with citizenship prospects? Check out the country rating by InterNations that ranks the most popular relocation jurisdictions worldwide.

Living standardsLeisure and entertainment HealthcareSafety
1SpainSpainTaiwanLuxembourg
2TaiwanMexicoSouth KoreaSwitzerland
3FranceHong KongQatarFinland
4UAEColumbiaSpainDenmark
5AustriaBrazilLuxembourgNetherlands
6SingaporeUAEFranceNorway
7PortugalThailandJapanPortugal
8SwitzerlandPortugalAustriaTaiwan
9LuxembourgUSAThailandUAE
10DenmarkCzechiaUAEEstonia

It is no secret that all of us have different tastes and preferences. Hence, our priorities in terms of the top countries to live in also vary. The selection issue is always a trade-off, yet assisted by Offshore Pro experts you are sure to make the right choice. If you like, you can do your own research first. Yet, to make things easier, you are welcome to contact us for advice before moving to any country or city.

Where to safely relocate in no time: recommended cities and countries

The ideal cities for relocation may not always be the most comfortable places to reside. It largely depends on your immigration objectives and whether the relocation is driven by commercial interests (e.g., business immigration), spiritual pursuits, climatic preferences, or your search for a secure financial and legal environment. If you consider these factors, you’ll be able to pinpoint a country that feels better suited, more comfortable, safer, and closer to your needs.

For years, Offshore Pro Group has helped expats to find the best cities in the world for business, living, permanent or long-term residence, studying, and banking. We offer services that fit your needs, legal requirements, and financial standards to a tee!

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