Expats finally deem Australia the most ‘desirable’ country

Expats love Australia, a new study confirms.

Expats love Australia, a new study confirms. Photo: Getty

Australia has been ranked the best destination in the world for expats, a new report has found.

For years, Australia has been steadily rising through the ranks of countries expats most want to go to, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Ten years ago, BCG launched the Decoding Global Talent series of works to understand and see where people were wanting to relocate and work.

In 2014, the US topped the list of desirable countries among expats and was followed by the UK, Canada, Germany and Switzerland.

But much has changed in the past 10 years, as the report acknowledges.

“We never imagined how powerfully and rapidly various global forces – the pandemic, remote work, geopolitics, GenAI, and more – would disrupt work,” it said.

“Nevertheless, the turmoil of the past decade has had little impact on the enduring appeal of talent mobility.”

In 2024, the US sits behind Australia on the list, Canada is in third place, followed by the UK and Germany.

The most desirable countries

Australia is desirable among people all over the world, not just from a specific region.

“Australia became more attractive to respondents from Asian countries, and it rose in popularity among respondents from North America, Africa, and several European countries, including the UK and Ireland,” the report said.

“Amid an economic boom as the world emerged from the worst stages of the pandemic, Australia has been attractive to talent from abroad, offering job opportunities, visas and great quality of life.”

The US and Canada round out the top three countries due to them both being English-speaking countries that are also “global melting pots”, that attract economic opportunities.

Top 10 most desirable countries among expats for 2024

  1. Australia
  2. US
  3. Canada
  4. UK
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Switzerland
  8. Singapore
  9. France
  10. Spain.

What makes Australia so desirable?

pictured is a graph showing the top ten countries among expats over the years.

Australia has slowly moved up the list over the past 10 years.

To determine how expats settle on a destination to move to for work, BCG looked at extrinsic factors, the characteristics of countries, and intrinsic factors, considerations related to the individual.

“We found that one consistent, primary consideration supersedes individual country brands: The quality of job opportunities,” BCG said of extrinsic factors.

“Nevertheless, a few countries benefited from another prominent consideration: Quality of life.”

For intrinsic factors, most individuals said speaking the primary language of a destination country means a lot to them, especially those from English-speaking nations.

“Personal recommendations from acquaintances who have experience with the destination country make a difference, too, as does having a diaspora of the same nationality in the target destination,” BCG said.

Australia shines in a few areas.

pictured is a graph on expats extrinsic factors

Australia fared well in terms of extrinsic factors.

For extrinsic factors, quality of job opportunities, quality of life, and income, tax and cost of living – as well as for safety, stability and security.

Australia falls behind in health care, innovation and digitisation, but still scored higher than the general score.

For intrinsic factors, of the respondents who listed a specific reason for choosing Australia, the fact that English is the national language was the No.1 reason.

The second consideration was that Australia had been recommended to them.

Additionally, Australia was ranked No.1 by those who are “highly educated” and “less educated”, “white colour” and young people.

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