The top 10 cities to live and work abroad this year

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Workers looking for an outstanding quality of life and low cost of living are flocking to Valencia, Spain, which has been ranked the No. 1 city for expats to live and work abroad in 2022. That’s according to a survey of more than 12,000 respondents from InterNations, an online expat community with more than 4.5 million global members.

Valencia earns the top spot for being “a safe place with an excellent climate, a vibrant nightlife and culture, a pleasant urban environment and great travel opportunities” while still being “fairly affordable,” says InterNations founder Malte Zeeck.

It’s pretty easy for remote workers from other European Union countries to move to Spain without applying for a visa or work permit, Zeeck adds. And it could become the next big hotspot among non-European remote workers, too: The Spanish parliament recently passed the so-called Startups Act, which includes creating a new type of visa for digital nomads expected to be available by January 2023.

Expats in second-place Dubai, meanwhile, enjoy a thriving social scene as well as good job prospects and a creative business culture. And newcomers to Mexico City rank it high as far as settling in and feeling at home, but low on environmental, climate and safety measures.

Here are the top 10 cities for expats living and working abroad, and how residents feel about their home away from home.

1. Valencia, Spain

Iglesia de los Santos Juanes and the Central Market of Valencia.

Abrill_ | Istock | Getty Images

  • 85% are happy with life in general
  • 83% are happy with the cost of living
  • 55% say making new friends is easy
  • 56% are happy with their job
  • 76% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 80% are happy with the quality of medical care

2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Laszlo Szirtesi | Getty Images News | Getty Images

  • 73% are happy with life in general
  • 38% are happy with the cost of living
  • 43% say making new friends is easy
  • 70% are happy with their job
  • 61% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 84% are happy with the quality of medical care

3. Mexico City, Mexico

  • 84% are happy with life in general
  • 67% are happy with the cost of living
  • 69% say making new friends is easy
  • 73% are happy with their job
  • 71% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 70% are happy with the quality of medical care

4. Lisbon, Portugal

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  • 86% are happy with life in general
  • 69% are happy with the cost of living
  • 49% say making new friends is easy
  • 71% are happy with their job
  • 72% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 68% are happy with the quality of medical care

5. Madrid, Spain

Office skyscrapers stand on the city skyline beyond rooftops in Madrid, on Monday, April 29, 2019.

Angel Navarrete | Bloomberg | Getty Images

  • 77% are happy with life in general
  • 69% are happy with the cost of living
  • 53% say making new friends is easy
  • 63% are happy with their job
  • 70% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 80% are happy with the quality of medical care

6. Bangkok, Thailand

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  • 79% are happy with life in general
  • 69% are happy with the cost of living
  • 54% say making new friends is easy
  • 66% are happy with their job
  • 68% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 82% are happy with the quality of medical care

7. Basel, Switzerland

Museimage | Moment | Getty Images

  • 82% are happy with life in general
  • 22% are happy with the cost of living
  • 18% say making new friends is easy
  • 86% are happy with their job
  • 67% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 85% are happy with the quality of medical care

8. Melbourne, Australia

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James O’Neil | The Image Bank | Getty Images

  • 69% are happy with life in general
  • 36% are happy with the cost of living
  • 46% say making new friends is easy
  • 77% are happy with their job
  • 72% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 78% are happy with the quality of medical care

9. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Mohammed Al Janabi | EyeEm | Getty Images

  • 68% are happy with life in general
  • 36% are happy with the cost of living
  • 41% say making new friends is easy
  • 64% are happy with their job
  • 51% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 88% are happy with the quality of medical care

10. Singapore

People picnic on the green roof of Marina Barrage in Singapore on Oct. 10, 2022.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

  • 73% are happy with life in general
  • 24% are happy with the cost of living
  • 48% say making new friends is easy
  • 77% are happy with their job
  • 58% are happy with their work-life balance
  • 84% are happy with the quality of medical care

Global expats on average

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