Deciding on a move abroad can be a daunting prospect, and one of the most difficult parts of this can be deciding whereabouts in the world you want to call home.
This can be a tricky process, where you have to balance a range of positives and negatives to find a location that is right for you, your family, your career and your personal life. To try and help we’ve looked at five of the cities we believe are best for expats, and highlighted the potential positives and negatives of a move to them.
Auckland - New Zealand - Population: 1.37m
- Auckland regularly ranks at the top of quality of life indexes and, this year, came just behind Vienna and Zurich as the third best place to call home in a 450 location strong report.
- There is little culture shock for Westerners making the move, with the people, climate and way of life very similar to that of Western Europe.
- Working conditions are excellent, with a real focus placed on employees health and wellbeing. If you feel undervalued in your current role then Auckland could be ideal.
- New Zealand is a remote country, and travelling anywhere else takes time. Flights to the UK can take more than 23 hours, whilst Dubai is in excess of 17 hours away and even the USA can take more than 12 hours to reach.
- If finances are your main reason for making a move then New Zealand isn’t ideal either. Salaries are commonly on a par with those in the UK, whilst an income tax system is also in place.
Beijing - China - Population: 21.5m
- If you’re looking to enhance your CV then Beijing is perfect. Working in China can not only help you develop new skills, it will also be looked upon extremely favourably by potential employers in the future.
- Little competition for jobs. China is still very much in the early stages of attracting expat medics, and so competition for jobs isn’t as fierce as it is in the Middle East, or even locations like Singapore.
- China’s ever growing young medical workforce make it perfect for experienced physicians looking to help teach medics of the future.
- The facilities on offer in China’s private sector are amongst the most modern and advanced in the world, especially in the major locations of Beijing and Shanghai.
- Pollution is a major issue in China, especially in the major cities. If you have any respiratory conditions, or simply enjoy fresh, country air then Beijing isn’t for you
- The language barrier can be especially difficult in China, with their unique alphabet making getting about troublesome. Most people in Beijing will speak English, however picking up some Mandarin can be extremely helpful before making the move.
- Culture Shock is likely to be a major issue, in a city that is totally unlike anything in the Western world.
Dubai - United Arab Emirates - Population: 2.78m
- Wages are high and tax-free, potentially making a move very financially rewarding
- The facilities are amongst the best in the world, with many of the private hospitals and clinics having only been built in the last decade.
- Investment in healthcare remains high, despite the oil price drop, as the Emirate aims to build a strong post-oil economy.
- There is plenty to see and do in Dubai, from the world’s tallest building to some of the planet’s greatest shopping malls.
- Dubai is an Emirate built on immigration, and with plenty of Western influences and a large expat population, culture shock should be minimal.
- The Emirate is so modern that it can feel superficial to those seeking a more authentic Arabian experience.
- Many people move because of the weather, and then end up hiding from it. Temperatures can be in excess of 45°C in the summer forcing people indoors.
- Despite the high salaries, the cost of living in Dubai is on a par with London. The introduction of VAT early next year only looks set to increase this too, making a move slightly less rewarding than it might initially look
Perth - Western Australia - Population: 2.02m
- The legendary Australian lifestyle is what attracts many to the country’s shores each year.
- If it’s sun that you’re looking for then Australia (and Perth) has it in abundance. There are an average of 144 sunny days each year, with a further 121 considered partly sunny. Temperatures aren’t as difficult to deal with as they are in the Gulf either.
- Australian employers place a strong focus on achieving a healthy work/life balance.
- Little bureaucracy. If you’re fed up with the paperwork in the NHS, then a move to Australia could be ideal. The healthcare system is well run, and has a more common sense approach than is found in the NHS.
- Like New Zealand, Australia can feel remote and far away from anywhere else, making it less than ideal for those who hate long distance flights.
- Australia is also a vast country, similar in size to the whole of Europe making exploring it difficult by anything other than air.
- Many medics may have to work in more rural areas when they first arrive in the country, again leading to potentially lengthy commutes into the major cities.
Jubail City - Saudi Arabia - Population: 224,000
- Some of the highest, tax-free salaries available anywhere in the world.
- Jubail’s relatively liberal attitude can make it a gentle introduction to life in Saudi Arabia.
- The city’s location makes it ideal for weekend trips to the far more liberal island of Bahrain.
- Recent investment has seen new hospitals built, and the city’s infrastructure greatly improved.
- Despite being Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, culture shock will still be a big issue. Life in Saudi remains governed by Islam, and so doing your research before making the move is crucial.
- The heat can be oppressive, even if it is slightly lessened by being near the Gulf itself.
- The lifestyle in Saudi Arabia can take a lot of adaption for Westerners, and it’s far from suitable for everyone.