Best Countries for Immigrants

Updated on January 8, 2024
At a Glance: Moving to a new country is a significant decision. Consider job opportunities, quality of life, and immigrant support services. Top countries for immigrants include Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. Plan carefully, research immigration laws, learn the local language, and save funds. Adapt to the new culture, seek support services, and practice self-care. Collect important documents and be prepared for challenges. Overall, choose the best country based on individual circumstances and priorities.

Deciding to immigrate to a new country is a major life decision that requires careful consideration of many factors. The optimal destination will depend on your personal circumstances and priorities in terms of job opportunities, quality of life, immigrant support services, and more. To help guide your decision-making process, we have compiled a list of 10 of the overall best countries for immigrants along with a comparison table highlighting some of the key statistics related to immigrant life.

Table of Contents

Best Countries for Immigrants to Move to

Deciding to immigrate to a new country is a significant and life-changing decision. It requires careful consideration of various factors such as job opportunities, quality of life, immigrant support services, and more. The best country for immigrants will ultimately depend on individual circumstances and priorities. Below, we have compiled information about 10 countries that offer favorable conditions for immigrants. Each of these countries presents unique opportunities and challenges, and it’s essential for immigrants to thoroughly research and plan their relocation to ensure a successful transition and a prosperous future in their new home.

1. Singapore

Quality of Living Score: 92.5

Immigrant Population: 46$
Median Income: $98,262
Cost of Living: Very High
Unemployment: 2.1%

With its soaring skyscrapers, superb infrastructure and transport systems, tropical climate and array of amenities, the exceptionally clean and safe island city-state of Singapore is regarded as a leading relocation choice for expats seeking abundant job opportunities abroad with high wages despite the steep costs.

Opportunities

Singapore serves as an Asian hub of international business with major openings across finance, technology and advanced manufacturing for foreign professionals with in-demand skillsets. Multinational firms offer lucrative salaries and benefit packages. English widely spoken.

Cost of Living

Singapore has an astoundingly high cost of living across all categories from exceptionally expensive real estate purchases and steep rental rates to dining, entertainment, owning an automobile and more. Imported items also add to elevated costs for residents. However, incomes and wages are also vastly higher than other Asian nations on average.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • High average salaries
  • Sophisticated, modern infrastructure
  • Strategic hub for business
  • Tropical weather

Cons:

  • High living expenses
  • Competitive work culture
  • Crowded living conditions
  • Restrictive societal norms

2. New Zealand

Quality of Living Score: 91.7

Immigrant Population: 28.3%
Median Income: $42,943
Cost of Living: High
Unemployment: 3.3%

With stunning natural scenery, laidback cities like Auckland and Wellington, superb quality of life and abundant jobs, New Zealand is regarded as a top destination for immigrants seeking to relocate abroad for better economic opportunities, wages and work-life balance.

Opportunities

New Zealand has high demand for skilled professionals across healthcare, engineering, tech, trades, academics, tourism and hospitality sectors. Multinational companies and startups offer a broad range of openings to skilled foreign workers.

Cost of Living

New Zealand has high overall costs, especially for housing in Auckland and Wellington. However, wages are also quite high on average which offsets expenses for residents. Healthcare, dining out and entertainment are also costly compared to other nations.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Laidback lifestyle
  • Stunning natural landscapes
  • Abundant jobs, low unemployment
  • Friendly people

Cons:

  • Low population density
  • Isolated location
  • Can be costly housing in Auckland

3. Switzerland

Quality of Living Score: 87.1

Immigrant Population: 29.5%
Median Income: $70,151
Cost of Living: High
Unemployment: 2.2%

With magnificent alpine scenery, world-class cities like Geneva and Zurich, soaring wages and a stellar quality of life, Switzerland is regarded as a highly appealing destination for expats looking to relocate abroad, despite the steep prices. There is high demand across business, banking and tech industries for skilled foreign professionals.

Opportunities

Highly skilled foreign professionals, particularly in fields like technology, business, finance, academics and sciences are in demand with many high-paying job opportunities across Switzerland. Multinational companies and banks offer most openings for expat workers.

Cost of Living

Switzerland has an exorbitantly high cost of living across all categories, especially housing in Zurich and Geneva. While wages are very high on average, the prices for real estate, dining, entertainment, groceries and other expenses are generally unaffordable for expats without lucrative salaries.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Extremely high wages
  • Low unemployment
  • Spectacular natural landscapes
  • Highly developed cities

Cons:

  • Astronomical cost of living
  • Very high taxes
  • Strict immigration laws
  • Isolated location makes travel difficult

4. Spain

Quality of Living Score: 86.6

Immigrant Population: 12.9%
Median Income: $29,661
Cost of Living: Moderate
Unemployment: 12.6%

With its warm climate, laidback lifestyle, historic cities like Barcelona, excellent cuisine and reasonable cost of living, Spain is regarded as a desirable relocation destination for expats looking for better work-life balance and career opportunities abroad.

Opportunities

While Spain’s economy has suffered from high unemployment at times, Madrid and Barcelona offer growing opportunities for skilled foreign professionals in fields like tech, business, hospitality/tourism, engineering and more as wages for in-demand roles rise.

Cost of Living

Compared to most other Western European nations, Spain has a relatively affordable cost of living, especially for dining, entertainment, healthcare and housing outside of Barcelona and Madrid. Wages vary considerably across industries and regions though.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Vibrant lifestyle and culture
  • Temperate climate
  • Historic and artistic cities
  • Affordable cost of living

Cons:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Lower average wages
  • Bureaucracy and red tape
  • Language barriers

5. Sweden

Quality of Living Score: 84.7

Immigrant Population: 19.4%
Median Income: $52,544
Cost of Living: High
Unemployment: 7.5%

With its high wages, abundant jobs, outstanding work-life balance and excellent public services, Sweden attracts many immigrants looking to relocate for enhanced economic opportunities and quality of life. Major hubs like Stockholm provide fantastic opportunities for skilled foreign workers.

Opportunities

Sweden has strong labor demand for professionals in fields like tech, engineering, academics sciences, law, finance and more. Multinational corporations offer abundant high-paying jobs in major cities for foreigners with needed skills. Most Swedes speak excellent English.

Cost of Living

From housing and dining to entertainment, Sweden has very high costs of living, especially in Stockholm. However, high wages help offset the expenses for most residents. Public transport, healthcare and education costs are generally affordable for residents.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Excellent work-life balance
  • Generous paid leave time
  • Superb public infrastructure and services
  • Gender equality

Cons:

  • High taxes
  • Severe winters
  • High cost of living
  • Housing shortage in cities

6. Japan

Quality of Living Score: 84

Immigrant Population: 1.8%
Median Income: $43, 783
Cost of Living: Very High
Unemployment: 2.7%

While Japan can still present major obstacles for foreign immigrants looking to relocate there, it offers technologically advanced, safe and clean cities like Tokyo and Osaka with an abundance of jobs and good transportation infrastructure, though the living costs are exceptionally high.

Opportunities

Highly skilled foreign professionals are increasingly finding opportunities in fields like tech, engineering, academics and finance in major Japanese firms and universities located primarily across Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya metro areas. Multilingual ability is essential.

Cost of Living

Japan has an extremely high overall cost of living, especially in large cities like Tokyo and Osaka where housing is astronomically expensive – commonly small apartments with around $1000+ monthly rents or more. Dining, entertainment, groceries and transit costs are also very high.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Highly advanced infrastructure/technology
  • Low crime rates
  • Efficient public transportation

Cons:

  • Extremely high living costs
  • Language and cultural barriers
  • Tight immigration policies
  • Challenging work culture

7. Germany

Quality of Living Score: 83.5

Immigrant Population: 15.8%
Median Income: $51,726
Cost of Living: Moderate
Unemployment: 3.2%

With a robust economy, abundant employment opportunities, high wages and excellent infrastructure, Germany is regarded as perhaps the best country in Europe for immigrants looking for work abroad. There is high demand for foreign workers to fill labor gaps in sectors like healthcare, engineering, technology and more.

Opportunities

Germany has widespread labor shortages for skilled workers and professionals in fields like information technology, engineering, academics, healthcare and trades. Large multinational companies provide most opportunities. English is widely spoken in major hubs like Berlin and Frankfurt.

Cost of Living

Compared to other Western European nations, Germany has a relatively moderate cost of living, especially for larger housing spaces. Rental prices vary considerably by city. Groceries, dining and entertainment are all affordably priced as wages are high on average.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Strong economy with abundant jobs
  • High wages and high standard of living
  • High-quality infrastructure and public services
  • Generous vacation time

Cons:

  • High taxes and social security contributions
  • Bureaucracy and red tape
  • Language barrier in some jobs
  • Lack of large international airport hubs

8. Canada

Quality of Living Score: 82.2

Immigrant Population: 21.3%
Median Income: $49,251
Cost of Living: High
Unemployment: 5.5%

Canada is one of the best countries for immigrants looking for job opportunities, high quality of life, diversity and economic stability. It has a booming economy with abundant jobs in fields like IT, healthcare and construction. Major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are very multicultural and welcoming to immigrants.

Opportunities

Canada has a strong job market with abundant opportunities for skilled immigrants in fields like technology, healthcare, finance and engineering. Major cities have thriving economies and labor shortages that foreign workers can fill.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Canada is generally high, especially in large cities like Toronto and Vancouver which have very expensive housing markets. However, wages are also quite high on average compared to other countries. Healthcare and education costs are manageable.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • High quality of life
  • Strong economy and job market
  • Multicultural, immigrant-friendly society
  • Good work-life balance

Cons:

  • High taxes
  • Harsh winters in much of the country
  • Can be difficult to afford housing in big cities

9. Australia

Quality of Living Score: 80.3

Immigrant Population: 29.8%
Median Income: $53,349
Cost of living: High
Unemployment: 5.2%

With abundant jobs, high wages and excellent quality of life in cities like Sydney and Melbourne, Australia is a superb destination for working immigrants looking to relocate abroad. It has a vibrant, multicultural society that warmly welcomes newcomers from diverse backgrounds.

Opportunities

Australia has consistent labor shortages in fields like healthcare, engineering, tech and hospitality that immigrants can readily fill. Major hubs like Sydney and Melbourne offer a broad range of professional opportunities for foreign job seekers and entrepreneurs.

Cost of Living

Australia has a very high overall cost of living, especially in cities like Sydney and Melbourne which have expensive housing. Other costs like dining out, entertainment, gas and groceries are also quite high. Wages are higher than average though to help offset overall expenses.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Laidback, outdoor lifestyle
  • Multicultural society
  • High wages
  • High-quality healthcare

Cons:

  • Very high cost of living
  • Competitive job market in some fields
  • Large, sparsely populated areas away from big cities

10. United States

Quality of Living Score: 75.6

Immigrant Population: 14.4%
Median Income: $65,712
Cost of Living: Moderate-High
Unemployment: 3.5%

Despite its current political issues and societal challenges, the United States continues to offer abundant employment opportunities with generally high wages and access to quality education. Opulent cities like New York and San Francisco attract immigrants with well-paying jobs despite steep housing prices as cheaper areas can offset costs.

Opportunities

Highly skilled foreign professionals can readily secure work visas for abundant openings across healthcare, tech, engineering, business, academia and more. Highest paying jobs with strongest labour demand are in major metro areas like New York City, San Francisco and Seattle where multinational companies and top universities convene, though the cost of living is extremely high.

Cost of Living

There is considerable variation in living expenses across the United States based on state, region and city which immigrant workers can leverage to offset wages. Overall, lodging, food, transportation and goods remain less costly on average than other developed nations around the world with access to higher average incomes. Healthcare expenses are very high though without employee coverage.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Abundant job opportunities
  • High average wages
  • Top universities and research firms
  • Can find affordable regions

Cons:

  • Complex healthcare system
  • Minimal public transportation
  • Poor work-life balance on average
  • Rising cost in major cities

Best Countries for Immigrants Comparison

CountryImmigrant PopulationAverage IncomeUnemployment Rate
Canada21.9%$49,5345.2%
Australia30%$44,6434.2%
Germany14.8%$46,0743.1%
Sweden19.1%$43,7156.9%
Switzerland29.4%$63,5504.5%
New Zealand23.1%$41,9454.5%
Spain13.8%$36,50014.1%
Japan1.8%$38,9862.8%
Singapore46%$64,5812.9%
United States14.4%$65,7123.7%

Tips for Immigrants Moving to a New Country

Moving to a new country can be incredibly exciting but also challenging. Getting prepared and understanding what steps to take can set you up for a smoother transition and greater chance of success in your new home. Follow these tips across key areas like documentation, financial readiness, cultural adaptation, language skills, and employment.

Research Immigration Laws & Requirements

Hiring an immigration lawyer can be very useful to ensure proper paperwork and legal status for visas, permits, or citizenship.

Learn the Local Language

Learn at least basic phrases and vocabulary for the local language if you don’t already speak it fluently. This will make daily life much easier.

Research Cost of Living & Job Opportunities

Pick locations with affordable living costs and abundant jobs in your field. Identify neighborhoods with established immigrant communities.

Save up Funds

Try to save up to support yourself for at least a few months until you can secure employment.

Maintain an Open Mindset

Be willing to adjust to differences you encounter in culture, social rules, work norms, cuisine or values without comparing everything to your home country.

Manage Expectations

Understand you may need to take unconventional jobs at first while improving language abilities or re-certifying credentials.

Utilize Immigrant Support Services

Connect with local organizations that provide things like language classes, employment boards, legal help, or orientation training.

Practice Self-Care

Maintain personal wellness to handle the stress and loneliness that can come with adapting to an unfamiliar place. Community connections help, but self-care is essential too.

Collect Documents

Get documents like transcripts, employment records, medical history files, bank statements etc. before departing your home country. These are hugely useful later.

Final Thoughts

Deciding to immigrate to a new country is a significant and life-changing decision. It requires careful consideration of various factors such as job opportunities, quality of life, immigrant support services, and more. The best country for immigrants will ultimately depend on individual circumstances and priorities. This list highlights 10 countries that offer favorable conditions for immigrants, including Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. Each of these countries presents unique opportunities and challenges, and it’s essential for immigrants to thoroughly research and plan their relocation to ensure a successful transition and a prosperous future in their new home.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Based on the quality of life scores listed, the countries with the highest ratings are Switzerland (87.1), New Zealand (91.7), and Singapore (92.5). These countries score very highly for factors like infrastructure, access to services, safety, and livability.

The United States and Canada have abundant job opportunities in high-demand fields like technology, healthcare, and engineering. Germany and Singapore also have labor shortages that immigrants can readily fill in areas like IT, manufacturing, finance, and skilled trades.

Spain and the United States can have much lower living costs for immigrants compared to other nations, depending on the specific area lived in. In Spain costs for dining, entertainment, and real estate are relatively low outside of main cities. Cost of living in the US varies significantly by state and city.

Switzerland ($70,151 avg income), Singapore ($98,262 avg income), and the United States ($65,712 avg income) have the highest earning potential. However, Switzerland and Singapore have exceptionally high tax rates and costs of living that offset the higher wages.

Japan and Spain have the most cultural adjustments required for assimilation as an immigrant. The Japanese language is exceptionally difficult to gain proficiency in and work culture poses challenges. Spain has high unemployment, and bureaucracy and red tape.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.