18 Countries Expats Regret Moving To

Moving to a different country to work sounds like a dream, especially if your destination is somewhere warm and tropical. However, this isn’t always the case. Many expats face issues with crime, cultural differences, and even the locals. Here are 18 countries expats regret moving to.


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The immigration process can keep expats from moving to Canada. For example, Business Day writes, “While Canada is renowned for its beautiful scenery and high quality of life, some expatriates find the immigration process challenging and the cost of living higher than expected.” The country also has incredibly cold winters.

United Kingdom

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The damp and cold weather that comes with living in the U.K. can seriously affect a person’s mood and overall health. The country also has high living expenses and difficulty accessing healthcare. Many expats also feel they don’t have a great work-life balance, especially in management roles.


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Brazil has high crime rates, especially in urban areas. The safety concerns associated with the country greatly outweigh its colorful energy. Expats can also face difficulties adapting to local environments, especially if they feel the need to be constantly aware of crime.


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There are many difficulties faced by expats when moving to France, with one of the main ones being banking. For example, Expat Exchange writes, “Expat banking in France is a complicated matter. It is affected by the laws and regulations of… France, as well as the policies of individual financial institutions, among other factors.”


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Language barriers in China can leave expats feeling isolated. The country is also known for putting large amounts of pressure on its workers, which causes a lack of work-life balance. Cultural differences can also make it very difficult for a person to fit into China.


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Japan is known for its work-life balance issues. They also have different cultural practices that aren’t commonly seen in Western countries, such as smoking in restaurants and squatting toilets. Both of these aspects are part of Japan’s everyday life and can be a put-off for expats. The unique culture can make it difficult for an expat to adapt.

United States

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PSS, a shipping company in the U.K., writes that “the current strength of the dollar can be a disadvantage when you are transferring your money to the U.S.” Crime and racism in the U.S. are also at very high levels due to gangs and issues with gun control. Crime is higher in some areas than others, but in some big cities, it can be unsafe.


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There are many concerns about crime and cleanliness in certain areas of Mexico. Theft and pickpocketing are prominent crimes in the country, especially in towns on the border. Even though the country does have an affordable cost of living, safety concerns can take away the excitement of living there.


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U.S. expats can feel unwelcome and isolated when they move to Belarus. There are many cultural differences that a person can experience when moving to this country, along with a general sense of disapproval from Belarusian natives. Expats can expect challenges when it comes to integrating into society.


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Expats who live in Vietnam can face issues with fraud, crime, and hygiene. For example, ATQ News writes, “Concerns about unhygienic food preparation and a lack of safety standards add a layer of discomfort to the otherwise attractive destination.” As things such as food hygiene and safety standards are everyday parts of life, it can make living in Vietnam uncomfortable.


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While Spain may seem alluring due to its great weather and beaches, many expats have still encountered difficulties with moving to the country. For example, there have been challenges with bureaucracy and taxation. Expats have also struggled to adapt to the Spanish lifestyle, which involves siestas in the afternoon and late dining times.


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Italy can be a difficult country to move to thanks to its bureaucratic hurdles and slow administrative processes. The country also has high taxes, and the cost of living can be significantly higher in major cities. Expats may also struggle to find employment that doesn’t involve teaching English.


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Moving to India can be an intense cultural experience, and it can be a lot for a person to go through to adjust to India’s environment. There are many pollution and sanitation concerns, especially in urban areas. Not only are there tough cultural adaptations to make, but bureaucratic paperwork can also take a long time.


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The political unease between Russia and the U.S. has made it incredibly difficult for expats to live there. This is supported by the Wall Street Journal, which writes that the U.S. has urged its nationals to leave Russia but is unsure about how many actually remain. There are also language barriers and cultural differences that make it difficult for a person to live in Russia.

South Africa

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South Africa has major safety and security concerns in its larger cities. The country also faces economic instability and has many unemployment challenges. While it’s known for being a beautiful country with incredible wildlife and a rich history, sometimes expats have felt it’s not been worth it.


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Egypt faces political instability and many security concerns, which has caused people to regret moving there. The country has faced challenges in accessing quality healthcare, and this can be a major turnoff for expats. It can also be hard for non-natives to adapt to cultural differences and conservative societal norms.


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One of the main issues expats face when living in Indonesia is poor sanitation. For example, Expat Arrivals advises all expats to drink bottled water and exercise caution when it comes to street food, no matter how tempting it looks. Expats would also have to adjust to a predominantly Muslim culture and face environmental concerns such as natural disasters.


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WaytoStay writes, “Thailand has some downsides, including high humidity, potential dangers, and foreign prices.” Moving to Thailand can see an expat faced with visa regulations and immigration policies. There are also many cultural differences and language barriers. Also, as it’s a very tourist-heavy country, this can take some of the authenticity away.

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