Germany ranked as ‘worst country in world’ for essential expat needs

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Germany ranked as ‘worst country in world’ for essential expat needs
Tourists at the Brandenburg Gate in June 2022. Photo. dpa | Fabian Sommer

Internationals who move to Germany are happy in the workplace but have delivered a crushing verdict on how hard it is to find a home and settle into the society around them, a new survey shows.


In the latest annual survey conducted by InterNations on expat attitudes in 52 countries around the globe, internationals living in Germany made a swathe of complaints about the difficulty of adapting to their new lives.

In the category of "expat essentials", which includes bureaucracy, digitization and housing, Germany came rock bottom.


Some 56 percent of respondents complained about how hard it is to find a place to live, which is a figure over double the global average.

Close to half also said they had a hard time living in Germany without language skills, while 55 percent said that German was a difficult language to learn compared to an average 38 percent for other languages in the survey.

Germany also fared poorly on issues such as cashless payments and access to high-speed internet.

People in the survey also vented about dealing with German bureaucracy, with 52 percent saying they didn’t like dealing with local authorities compared to 39 percent globally. 

“I really hate German bureaucracy,” one respondent who hails from the UK said. “Especially the fact that nothing is digitized! It takes forever to get in touch with any of the local authorities to discuss residence permits and the like.”

Some 12,000 people across 52 countries were asked for their opinions on life abroad for the ninth such survey by InterNations.

Mexico ended up topping the rankings, with participants gushing about the ease of settling in and the great purchasing power they have.

Overall, Germany ranked 42nd among the 52 countries that were reviewed.

Hard to settle in

Another area in which expats in Germany seem to be anything but satisfied is the category of ease of settling in, where the country ranked 48th out of 52.

One in four respondents said that Germans were unwelcoming to foreigners, while roughly a third said they found it hard to adapt to the local culture.

On the other hand, people said that they feel very safe on German streets, with one US citizen commenting that “there is little to no violence.”

Respondents also commended Germany on its focus on environmentalism, with 78 percent saying that “green” goods and services are readily available.

READ ALSO: The pros and cons of living in Germany

Generally, respondents express a high level of satisfaction with Germany’s travel infrastructure, with nine in ten saying that it was easy to get around by bike or on foot.

Great salaries and job security

Where Germany really shone, however, was in the workplace.

The country came second only to Ireland in the category of job security, with 73 percent saying that this was a positive aspect of living in Germany.

Nine out of ten said they saw the German economy as strong, while a majority said they thought the local job market was good.


“The work-life balance is great, and so is the respect given to employees,” one Polish respondent said. 

At the same time, some complained about a lack of opportunity to express themselves creatively in the workplace, with one in three saying their bosses do not encourage them to think outside the box. 

READ ALSO: Is Frankfurt a good place for foreigners to live?


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gaurab.hyd 2022/07/21 19:30
Yes, some Germans (more than one would expect) are very unwelcoming to foreigners. In my experience, these tend to be males above a certain age (read: older males). In particular if the foreigner is not white-skinned, their behavior betrays what are clearly racist perceptions. As a senior leader in a multinational corporation, I have all too often seen eyebrows rise and behaviors abruptly change when these people realize what I do for a living; clearly contrary to their presumptions based on appearances.

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