KL ranked 8th best destination for expats to work and live in

Kuala Lumpur is ranked the 8th best destination for expatriates to live and work in, according to a new study. - RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

Kuala Lumpur is ranked the 8th best destination for expatriates to live and work in, according to a new study. Expatriates (or expats) in the capital thinks it’s easy to settle down here on a reasonable budget.

The Expat City Ranking 2020 survey – conducted by InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with around four million members – polled over 15,000 respondents across 66 cities around the world.

This year marks the fourth consecutive year KL made it to the top 10 of the list.

The capital city fares well in the Finance & Housing Index, with seven in 10 expats in KL (70%) saying that housing is affordable (41% globally). Over four in five (84%) also say it is easy to find a home (55% globally).

More than three in four survey respondents are happy with their financial situation (76% vs 61% globally) and the local cost of living (77% vs 46% globally) in KL.

“It is easy and affordable to live here, ” said a Swedish expat who calls KL home.

The survey also noted that KL performs well in the Getting Settled Index, coming in at 7th place.

“This can be largely attributed to the ease of living in the city without speaking the local language and the ease of making new friends, ” said InterNations.

More than nine in 10 expats (91%) say it is easy to live in KL without speaking the local language, which is 37% above the global average (54%).

The city ranks 8th in the Friends & Socialising subcategory, with 72% of expats being happy with their social life (59% globally) and 60% finding it easy to make new friends (47% globally).

When it comes to safety and political stability, KL fares poorly among the expat community.

Only 68% of expats rated their personal safety positively (82% globally). Additionally, fewer than three in eight survey respondents (36%) are satisfied with the political stability in Malaysia (61% globally).

It is worth noting that the data was collected in March 2020, just before Covid-19 became a global pandemic.

Earlier this year, The Star reported on expats living in Malaysia who were stranded abroad during the movement control order.

During this period, those on temporary work visas, student visas, employment passes and long-term social visit passes are allowed to leave Malaysia. However, they will not be allowed to return during the MCO.

Many expats complained that their children who were studying abroad or family members seeking healthcare overseas were “locked out” of their own homes in Malaysia.

The Expat City Ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider study. For a city to be featured, a sample size of at least 50 survey participants per city was required.

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expat , expatriate , survey , Malaysia , Kuala Lumpur


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