Quality of life at a cost: What expats think about living in Switzerland in 2022

Quality of life at a cost: What expats think about living in Switzerland in 2022

A new survey by InterNations has revealed the best and worst destinations for expats in 2022. In their analysis, the company said that while Swiss cities offer their residents an excellent quality of life, it does come at a significant economic and social cost.

Expat Insider survey by InterNations 2022

Drawing from its 4 million members, InterNations asked expats to rate living and working abroad in 52 different countries around the world. The survey is designed to inform would-be expats about the pros and cons of living in each location.

From 12.000 respondents, the Expat Insider survey ranked each country using 56 different categories including Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad and Personal Finance. For the first time, the survey also included expats’ views on what they called the Essentials Index - covering topics like housing, internet access, language requirements and administrative issues.

Switzerland praised for quality of life by expats

This year, Switzerland was ranked 19th out of 52 different nations. The alpine nation was rated the sixth-best for quality of life, with quality of driving, public transport, environmental conditions, leisure activities and safety being the particular highlights for local expats.

According to the report, Switzerland is the most politically stable country they reviewed, with one respondent noting it “offers a high standard of living. It is very safe and orderly.” 93 percent of respondents said they were happy with the natural environment, especially air quality and the number of "green products" available at Swiss supermarkets.

High salaries countered by high costs for expats in Switzerland

After a good start, Switzerland’s high scores began to fade when talking about careers. Despite positive reviews of Swiss salaries, more than one in five expat workers said they were unhappy with their working hours and one-third were dissatisfied with the lack of options for remote working.

High prices were also raised as an issue with living in Switzerland, with 41 percent of expats saying the cost of health insurance and other essential services is too high. While respondents praised the country for the quality of the services available, many found them to be unaffordable.

Expats feel detached from Swiss society, survey finds

According to the report, Switzerland’s worst score was in the Ease of Settling In category, with many expats complaining of a lack of integration into wider society. According to one respondent, “It can take years to get into Swiss social life. Most of my contacts were with other expats at first.”

Only 7 percent of expats in Switzerland said they were friends with local residents, 10 percentage points below the global average. This poor score - Switzerland was part of the bottom 10 in the Settling In category - is the main reason why the alpine nation didn't score higher.

Best and worst nations for expats revealed

In all, InterNations found that Mexico is the best destination for living and working abroad in 2022, followed by Indonesia and Taiwan. The top three nations were praised for how easy it is to settle in and their relatively low cost of living.

The worst nations for expats this year were found to be Kuwait, New Zealand and Hong Kong. All three were marked down for how hard it is to find work as an expat, security issues and the heavy impact the country has on personal finances.

According to InterNations, these are the 10 most highly rated countries for expats in 2022:

  1. Mexico
  2. Indonesia
  3. Taiwan
  4. Portugal
  5. Spain
  6. The United Arab Emirates
  7. Vietnam
  8. Thailand
  9. Australia
  10. Singapore

For more information about the ranking, check out the InterNations website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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