The huge problem for expats in London and Dublin

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
The Tower Bridge in London. Photo: Getty

London and Dublin are ranked as some of the worst cities to live and work in the world as an expat.

That’s according to InterNations, the world’s largest expat networking group with 3.5 million members from 420 cities, which released its Expat City Ranking 2019 report.

InterNations defines an expat as an employee sent abroad on a corporate assignment or classed as a new international hire. This will also mean that the experiences of that certain demographic could significantly differ from a local — especially being away on corporate assignment can entail bonuses, such as relocation stipends for example.

The report surveyed more than 20,000 expats, representing 178 nationalities and living in 187 countries or territories, on various aspects of expat life. It asked expats to rate more than 25 different aspects of urban life abroad on a scale of one to seven. Those ratings were then bundled into 13 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up four topical indices: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, and Finance & Housing. It then got an overall rating.

At least 50 respondents had to participate for cities to be part of the ranking — 82 cities made the final ranking.

READ MORE: The best and worst cities to live and work as an expat in 2020

While expats rated London and Dublin highly for career opportunities and progression, they both scored badly when it came to anything monetary related.

The report found that London came very close to the 10 worst expat cities, ranking 70th. The UK capital scored poorly across a number of indicators, such as performing the weakest in the Local Cost of Living Index (74th) and more than five in seven survey participants find the local costs too high (vs 38% globally). Expats also have trouble finding affordable accommodation (78% negative responses vs 44% globally) and are dissatisfied with their financial situation (34% vs 26% globally).

Similarly, Dublin ranked 72nd due to coming last in the world for finance and housing (82nd). Expats are especially dissatisfied with the affordability of housing (88% negative responses vs. 44% globally) and have trouble finding a place to live in (86% find it difficult vs. 32% globally).

Just like London, 30% of expats in Dublin are unhappy with their financial situation (vs 26% globally). Almost three-quarters of the survey participants (73%) rate the local cost of living negatively (vs 38% globally). A Brazilian expat said, “the cost of living is a turnoff, finding an apartment is a nightmare.”