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What do expats look for when moving abroad?

Qatar is the eighth best country for expats to live in.

Experts have outlined four main factors that contribute to a country’s ranking as the best to move to—digital life, housing, admin topics, and language.

InterNations, the largest global expat network, points first and foremost to the ease in which expats can obtain a visa as well as the arduous task of dealing with government paperwork—both of which are crucial steps in beginning a new life abroad.

It also highlighted other admin elements, like how easy it is to open a local bank account, which is often seen as an aspect that many new expats struggle with. This is especially important for expats who have moved to another country to send back money to their families in their home country.

Then comes the house hunt, an exhausting process for all, especially when in an unfamiliar territory.

Under the housing factor InterNations says the affordability of accommodation and the ease of finding a place to live make a country stand out for expats.

Digital Life

As for digital life, it refers to the availability of administrative services online that enables expats to experience a smoother move from one country to another. This also includes the ease of obtaining internet in addition to unrestricted access to different websites and platforms.

With digital payments becoming more common in light of constantly advancing technology, the availability of cashless payment is also of high importance, per InterNations.


While learning about new cultures and meeting people from around the world is often an interesting experience, language barriers can ruin the fun.

According to InterNations, the ability of living in another country without speaking its native language, as well as the ease of learning it, make expats more likely to consider the move.

For instance, InterNations ranked Germany 2022 as one of the “hardest place to get started as an expat” when it comes to language, where 46% of respondents said it was difficult to live in Berlin without speaking German.

Where does Qatar stand?

Qatar ranked the eighth best country for expats in the 2022 InterNations ranking, ticking off all four factors listed by the network.

The countries that topped the list were Bahrain, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Oman, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

What made Qatar stand out is its “stress-free administration”, where 50% of expats cited the ease in dealing with local authorities.

It also secured its spot among the top 10 in terms of the language category, with 79% of respondents saying it is easy to live in the country without speaking Arabic.

According to InterNations, 16% of expats in Qatar do not speak Arabic and most speak in English instead.

In terms of housing, 64% of respondents said it was easy for them to find accommodation in the Gulf state.

However, there were different opinions in terms of the digital life category.

A total of 91% of respondents said it was easy to pay without cash as 81% expressed their satisfaction with the availability of e-government services.

One downside reported by expats surveyed is the unrestricted access to online services such as social media.

“I am bothered by the lack of ability to search for things locally online,” an expat from Canada told InterNations.

In 2021, Qatar ranked first in the Middle East and sixth worldwide in a list identifying the best countries to live and work in for expatriates by the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2020.

No other Arab state made the top ten list, though Abu Dhabi (14) ranked the closest to Doha, followed by Bahrain (15) and Saudi Arabia (19).