5 Safest Countries in the World for Expats in 2022

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Expat Life

5 Safest Countries in the World for Expats in 2022

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Expat Life

Thinking of moving to another country? Or perhaps you’re wondering where your current home ranks in the list of safe destinations? It’s great to be on the brink of a new adventure, but safety and security are important too when you’re thinking about moving abroad as an expat. Safety has taken on special meaning in the age of COVID-19. And digital security is now an even higher priority as work and commerce move online.  

In this post, you’ll find the safest countries in the world for expats in 2022.. We’ve ranked countries by metrics such personal, health, infrastructure and environmental safety, as well as digital security. From low-crime to thriving business cultures, these are the safest countries in the world today!

What are the safest countries in the world for expats?

What is the safest country depends on who you ask. And how safe you feel in a particular country can also depend on who you are. Some destinations are much safer for men than for women, for example. And there are few, if any, protections for the LGBTQ community rights in some countries. European countries come top of most safety leagues, and within that group, the Nordic countries tend to fare best.

Sometimes levels of safety can vary within a country. For example, Sydney is the fourth safest city in the world according to The Economist’s Safe Cities Index 2021. But Australia as a whole doesn’t feature very high in other safety rankings.

We’ve taken a look at several studies and league tables, and the countries below are the most common entries.

    1. Austria: 95% of expats feel safe in Austria.
    2. Canada with its relatively low level of crime.
    3. Denmark has a low crime rate and there’s almost no risk of natural disaster.
    4. Iceland has a very low level of crime, and high levels of equality.
    5. Finland: 99% of expats feel safe there—that compares with 84% globally.
    6. Japan: crimes targeting foreigners are uncommon, according to security organisation OSAC.
    7. New Zealand currently has extremely strict rules on entry due to COVID-19.
    8. Portugal ranks highly for safety–and expats are exceptionally content there.
    9. Singapore: crime is clamped down on hard here, and firearms are strictly controlled.
    10. Switzerland boasts a low crime rate, a law-abiding population and high levels of equality.
    11. Taiwan: crime against foreigners is rare here.
    12. UAE: expats rate this country high for safety.

    In the rest of this post, we take a closer look at five countries that both a) feature regularly in lists of the safest countries and b) are highly popular with our members. We hope we inspire you to fulfil your expat dreams in 2022!

    What are the safest countries in the world for expats?

    What makes these countries safest?

    Our list covers the safest destinations for expats to move to in 2022. We’ve based our ranking on factors including earning potential, quality of life, education, healthcare and more. This list doesn’t take COVID-19 restrictions into account, so bear in mind you’ll need to do your own research about local restrictions if you do decide to move!

    Safety is-or should be-a key concern for expats. But how exactly can you judge whether a country is safe and secure? It’s not just about crime rates; factors contributing to safety and security, or the lack of it, include:

    • levels of civil unrest
    • political stability
    • personal safety
    • public health
    • safety of transport
    • digital security

    There’s also the natural environment to consider; is a country prone to natural disasters, for example? And can its infrastructure cope if they do occur?

    Sadly, according to 2021’s Global Peace Index, the world is a less safe place than it was in 2020. The aftermath of Covid-19, and a rise in tensions between powerful countries have resulted in civil unrest, with more forecast to come. And of course, the pandemic has made destinations with high infection levels feel very unsafe. But despite this, there are still many good reasons to become an expat in 2022 and many fantastic places to move to.

    safest-countries-in-the-world-for-expats-william-russell-denmark-1-1024x528

    Copenhagen, Denmark at Nyhavn Canal / GETTY IMAGES

    1/ Denmark

    This Scandinavian country is generally considered one of the safest countries in the world. It has a low crime rate and there’s almost no risk of natural disaster. Copenhagen, the Danish capital, is number 1 in the Economist’s Safe Cities Index for 2021.

    Public health

    According to the OECD, people enjoy good access to high-quality healthcare in Denmark, with the country spending over the EU average on healthcare – 10.1% of GDP.

    Infrastructure

    Denmark has a highly advanced infrastructure, and claims to offer the most reliable electricity in Europe. Copenhagen’s airport ranks at number 3 in the European Consumer Airport Index. Public transport is of a very high standard.

    Personal safety

    Crime levels in Denmark are low, driving standards are high, making it one of the safest countries in the world.

    Digital security

    Broadband is available almost everywhere in the country. The government is currently strengthening digital security with its Cyber and Information Security Strategy.

    Environmental security

    Denmark aims to recycle 70% of all its waste by 2024. It has invested in greener public transport, and Copenhagen has its own climate adaptation plan.

    William-Russell-blog-Best-Countries-to-Raise-a-Family-Top-Tips-from-Expats-Relocating-with-Kids-Iceland-1024x559

    Family walking in the area of beautiful waterfall in Skaftafell national park in Iceland / GETTY IMAGES

    2/ Iceland

    Iceland tops the Global Peace Index, which ranks countries according to safety and security, ongoing conflict and militarisation.

    Public health

    Taxes fund Iceland’s universal healthcare system. The country has no private hospitals, although doctors can see patients privately.

    Infrastructure

    With a sophisticated telecoms network and good airport connections, Iceland ranks top for basic infrastructure in the IMD World Competitiveness Report. Some of Iceland’s rural roads have poor surfaces and driving can be tricky, especially when the weather is bad. Most people have cars and public transport is quite basic.

    Personal safety

    Iceland has a very low level of crime, especially violent crime, making it one of the safest countries in the world.

    Digital security

    Iceland has a good track record of dealing with cyber security issues, setting up a government task force back in 2013 to lay a foundation for strong, reliable systems.

    Environmental security

    Air pollution in Iceland is much lower than the OECD average and nearly all homes have energy from renewable sources. The country ranks at the top for environmental quality, according to the OECD’s Better Life Index.

    Canada_GettyImages-680900749-1024x684

    Moraine Lake in the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park, Canada / GETTY IMAGES

    3/ Canada

    With its relatively low level of crime, Canada is one of only two non-European countries to appear in the Global Peace Index’s top 10. In The Economist’s Safe Cities Index, Toronto is named as the world’s second-safest city.

    Public health

    Life expectancy for Canadians is above the OECD. Average. All residents of the country have access to publicly funded healthcare without having to pay out-of-pocket.

    Infrastructure

    Canada has an extensive network of roads and railways, as well as 10 international airports. The country has invested over $71 billion in improving its infrastructure, including public transport and green infrastructure

    Personal safety

    Crime has been declining in Canada for several years, confirming its status as one of the safest countries in the world. The country has very strict gun laws.

    Digital security

    Like most countries, Canada is battling with cyber security threats. However, digital security in Toronto is still rated as high in the Safe Cities Index.

    Environmental security

    Canada is well-known for its outdoor lifestyle and green spaces. It ranks above average for environmental quality in the OECD’s Better Life Index, and Toronto came second for environmental security in the Safe Cities Index.

    safest-countries-in-the-world-for-expats-cheryl-obal-japan-1024x515

    Mountain Fuji in Japan in cherry blossom season during sunset / GETTY IMAGES

    4/ Japan

    Ranked the second-safest country in Asia in the Global Peace Index, and with Tokyo ranked 5th safest city in the Economist index, Japan has a reputation for being a secure country to live in and visit.

    Public health

    Japan has the longest life expectancy in the OECD as well as low rates of obesity and below-average alcohol consumption and smoking. The country has a universal healthcare system, where patients pay 30% of the cost of medical care, and the government 70%.

    Infrastructure

    As well as its sophisticated road and airport network, Japan is well known for its cutting-edge, high-speed trains, including the Shinkansen (bullet train) network.

    Personal safety

    The crime rate in Japan is low, and crimes targeting foreigners are uncommon, according to security organisation OSAC, making it one of the safest countries in the world.

    Digital security

    Cyber security in Japan was strengthened in the run up to the Tokyo Olympics, but cyber-crime is still an issue.

    Environmental security

    Japan is taking steps towards becoming carbon neutral in 2050. These include investing in next-generation solar panels, hydrogen fuel and electric vehicles.

    safest-countries-in-the-world-for-expats-cheryl-obal-singapore-1-e1633536456465-1024x498

    Old-meets-new glory in the Garden City, Singapore / GETTY IMAGES

    5/ Singapore

    Crime is clamped down on hard in Singapore, and firearms are strictly controlled. The city state comes third in the Safe Cities Index.

    Public health

    Healthcare in Singapore consistently ranks among the best in the world. It offers a universal system, as well as private healthcare. Life expectancy in Singapore is among the longest in the world.

    Infrastructure

    Singapore Changi, one of the busiest airports in south-east Asia, is also rated as one of the world’s best. Singapore also has a world-leading port and telecommunications.

    Personal safety

    Its very low crime rate is one of Singapore’s attractions. In fact, it’s one of the safest cities in the world. Violent crime, in particular, is rare and guns are strictly controlled.

    Digital security

    Singapore comes second in the Safest Cities digital security ranking, but scams are far from unknown. This country is also famous for hosting a vast amount of digital nomads.

    Environmental security

    Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 sets out its agenda on sustainable development. Among its targets are to plant 1 million new trees and reduce waste sent to landfill by 30% in 2030.

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      1. Get a good understanding of your destination before you go. What are the risks? And how can you avoid or minimise them?
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      3. Keep your home secure, including making sure all windows and doors are locked when you go out.
      4. Make sure you have all the vaccinations you need for your destination, including your COVID-19 vaccination.

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