If you want to get the best out of a move abroad in 2018, these are some of the nations you might want to consider…
Starting off on the UK’s doorstep, there are quite a few countries in Europe that can be considered excellent emigration destinations for those with itchy feet.
First up is The Netherlands. As well as being a highly developed nation with top-class universities and a penchant for cycling, with much of the nation speaking fluent English, there isn’t much of a language barrier to navigate.
Whilst Dutch is the national tongue in the Netherlands, it’s estimated that 90% or more of the population speak English as a second language, which can greatly aid integration for UK expats.
On average, living in the Netherlands is more expensive than living in the UK, although when comparing London and Amsterdam the latter capital is far more affordable.
Heading south and east to another top emigration destination, Germany is a nation that has much to offer.
While the English-speaking contingent isn’t as large as in the Netherlands, Germany still ranks 9th in the English Proficiency Index (EPI).
Data from Numbeo shows that living in Germany is more affordable than in the UK on all counts, whether it’s buying groceries, renting accomodation or eating out.
Those moving to Germany shouldn’t have much to complain about with the weather either, as ‘conventional’ weather patterns (cold winters and warm summers) are the norm there.
Moving further southeast will get you to Austria, another top emigration destination in 2018.
Language-wise, Austria is just one spot behind Germany, coming in at 10th place on the English Proficiency Index.
Western Austria is dominated by the Alps – but in the east the landscape becomes less extreme with forests covering the hills.
The prominence of high elevations means that while the summer sun can be warm, winters in Austria are colder and snowier than in the UK.
Affordability in Austria is a mixed bag – groceries and consumer prices are higher than in the UK, but going out to restaurants and renting property is comparatively cheaper.
Staying in Europe but heading north, the penultimate European entry that you might consider moving to is Norway.
A brief hop across the North Sea from the UK, Norway has a lot to offer families, with a top-notch education system that is low on stress and high on attainment.
International students can save on costs with free university tuition in Norway, while for the most part public school education is also free.
While the assumption is that the Norwegian climate is frosty all year round, it can be quite temperate in coastal regions.
This is down to the warm Gulf Stream current, which prevents most of Norway’s vital seaports from becoming icebound.
That said, average temperatures in Norway are noticeably lower than in the UK – the usual for summer is 16°C, but in winter temperatures can plummet as low as -30°C.
Norway also comes in at an impressive 4th place on the EPI index.
The benefits of high levels of public spending and enviable educational systems come at a price, however, as the cost of living in Norway is substantially higher than in the UK.
Rounding off the European leg of the best countries to move to in 2018 is Norway’s neighbour to the east, Sweden.
Sweden is right behind the Netherlands on the EPI index in second place, with a very high ranking for English-speaking proficiency.
With about half the country being made up of coastline, Sweden gets a surprising amount of warmth from the Gulf Stream which makes the climate milder than might be expected.
This mildness is relative, however, as Sweden can still see lows of -22°C in February, which is usually the coldest month of the year.
As with neighbouring Norway, Sweden has a superb education system, which can make the country a significant draw for families looking to emigrate.
Comparing prices, Sweden generally is mixed in comparison to the UK, with renting and restaurant prices being lower, and grocery and consumer goods prices higher.
Canada is widely considered a haven for expats from across the world, with some estimates suggesting that without emigrants the national population would start declining.
Liberal attitudes and a supportive healthcare system are just some of the draws for potential expats to Canada, along with a lively jobs market.
There is no real language barrier for English speakers across most of Canada, with the exception of the eastern region of Québec where French is the official language.
This doesn’t mean that English isn’t spoken in this region, but those looking for easy integration into Canada might want to bear this in mind.
Being such a large nation, Canada can have a dramatically different climates depending on location – generally speaking, the northern fringes can be frozen year-round, while on the southern border the usual ‘four seasons’ apply.
With the exception of grocery prices, moving to Canada will largely benefit the wallets of prospective expats as prices are at least 7% lower than in the UK for renting, eating out and more.
Two nations in the Near and Far East have made the top list of countries to emigrate to in 2018; respectively the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore.
Given that the southern half of the UAE borders the Arabian Desert, most activities in the UAE are confined to the northern coastline.
Population is particularly concentrated in the northeast, with metropolises like Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah separating the sands and the sea.
Despite perceptions, the UAE is tolerant of emigrants due to its desire to attract investment and spending from across the world.
Costs in the UAE compared to the UK are varied – the average grocery shop and restaurant meal are at least 10% lower than in the UK, but at the same time rental prices are estimated at 69% higher.
The UAE is a nation obsessed with international business, and much like in Singapore, English-speaking expats shouldn’t have much trouble settling in.
Whilst English is a recognised national language in the UAE, in Singapore it has the higher status of being an official language.
Singapore’s other attractions for expats include an efficient public transportation network, relatively low levels of crime and a tropical climate.
As with some of the other top emigration destinations in 2018, Singapore is also renowned for its quality of education as well as its enviable healthcare system.
Now for the bad news – with the exception of restaurant prices (around 19% lower), Singapore is generally more expensive to live in than the UK.
Some of the most eye-watering prices include 41% higher costs for groceries, and rental costs that are around 108% higher than the UK.
The higher property and accommodation prices are partly down to Singapore’s location – as an island nation there is only a finite amount of space that can be used for development.
The upside is that for permanent Singapore residents, tax rates are considerably lower than in the UK.
Rounding off the list with another double bill are Australia and New Zealand.
Both countries present no issues for English speakers, although as with Singapore prices are unfortunately stacked on the high side.
In Australia, rental prices are around 20% higher than the UK, while groceries can cost 25% more. New Zealand has smaller gaps in affordability – average rental costs can be 1% higher than the UK, while a typical grocery shop is almost 23% higher.
Restaurant prices in both countries are more affordable, with the costs of eating out estimated to be at least 5% lower than the UK.
Expats looking for blazing sunshine should be aware that not all of Australia is as hot as might be expected, however – coastal winds keep cities on the periphery at a manageable temperature, while there are even snow-capped mountains in the southeast.
New Zealand’s weather is more moderate all round, with its many hours of sunshine not always bringing sweltering temperatures.
In the extreme north of the islands the climate is subtropical, while in the far south it gets cooler and decidedly wetter.
There are, of course, many other nations you might want to consider emigrating to, but we hope this overview has sparked your imagination!
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