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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Türkiye Places Last for Working Abroad

Expats in Türkiye are dissatisfied with the country’s political stability and state of the economy, which have knock on effects on their careers and finances.

Thinking of moving abroad? Türkiye might not be your top pick. Out of 53 countries in our Expat Insider 2024 survey, Türkiye ranks 52nd. Three of the five indices we use to map out life abroad can also be found in the bottom 10: Working Abroad (53rd), Expat Essentials (51st), and Personal Finances (45th). And in terms of expats’ overall happiness with their life abroad, Türkiye is in 49th place — 27% of respondents are unhappy (vs. 15% globally).

How Expats Rate Life in Türkiye

Limited Career Opportunities

If you’re considering Türkiye for your professional career, you may be disappointed as the country ranks last in the Working Abroad Index (53rd). About a third of respondents (34%) don’t believe that moving to Türkiye improved their career prospects, and even higher shares negatively rate their personal career opportunities (40%) and the local job market (45%) — compared to global averages of 25% and 31%, respectively. These ratings solidly place the Career Prospects Subcategory (49th) and its underlying factors in the bottom 10. 

Things don’t look much better for the Work Culture & Satisfaction (52nd), Work & Leisure (53rd), and Salary & Job Security (53rd) Subcategories. Expats aren't satisfied with their job security (51st), their work–life balance (51st), or their working hours (53rd). And they’re overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the state of the economy: 64% of expats rate this factor negatively, 45 percentage points higher than the global average of 19%!

“I worry about the future impact of the economy on many of the citizens here.” – US American expat

Overall, 31% of respondents are unhappy with their jobs (vs. 19% globally), ranking their job satisfaction in Türkiye 52nd.

You’ll Have to Learn More than Merhaba

Türkiye remains in the bottom 10 for the Expat Essentials Index (51st). Expats find the Language Subcategory (47th) to be the toughest hurdle: more than half say it’s difficult to learn the language (53%) or to get by without speaking Turkish (57%), compared to global averages of 40% and 33%, respectively.

“I don’t like the inflation and the language barrier. Even when living in a big city, it’s not easy to find English speakers for better communication.” – Egyptian expat

Digital Life (45th) and Admin Topics (42nd) are other challenging aspects for expats. A lower share than the global average (65% vs. 78%) find it easy to get high-speed internet access at home. And once connected, they have to contend with some restrictions on their access to online services, such as social media (19% negative ratings vs. 6% globally). It’s not easy to deal with the local bureaucracy, either (55% negative ratings vs. 42% globally), but at least there’s decent availability of administrative and government services online (25th).

The Housing Subcategory (39th) may be the “best” performing subcategory in the index, but more expats than the global average negatively rate the affordability (51% vs. 47% globally) and availability (42% vs. 34%) of accommodation.

The Good & the Bad

Türkiye crawls out of the bottom 10 with the Quality of Life Index (42nd). But the Safety & Security Subcategory doesn’t inspire much confidence in 52nd place. More than a third (37%) of expats feel like they can’t openly express themselves or their opinions (vs. 17% globally). A similar share (39%) negatively rate the political stability (vs. 16% globally).

Better performing aspects include the Environment & Climate (36th) and Healthcare (34th) Subcategories. The majority of expats appreciate the Mediterranean country’s climate & weather (75% vs. 58% globally) and natural environment (76% vs. 82%), but approval of the air quality (52% vs. 64% globally) and urban environment (46% vs. 66%) falters. The availability (29th) and quality (28th) of medical care are at least average — if expensive: 51% of respondents rate affordability of healthcare favorably (vs. 58% globally).   

“I love the food, nature, the history, and being so central that it’s easy to explore other countries around me.” – Australian expat

Indeed, the Travel & Transit Subcategory (27th) is the best performing across all indices surveyed. The affordability (24th) and availability (18th) of public transportation is promising, with more than seven in ten expats (77%) positively rating the opportunity to travel (vs. 83% globally).

A Cooling Welcome

When it comes to the Ease of Settling In Index, Türkiye ranks 40th. Although this is the best-performing index, it has dropped 13 places from the 27th spot in 2023. All of its underlying subcategories slipped in the ranking, with Culture & Welcome (42nd) and Local Friendliness (38th) seeing a respective 13- and 12-point difference in rank from 2023.

About a third of expats (32%) are unhappy with their social life (vs. 29% globally), and a similar share (30%) say locals are generally not friendly towards foreign residents (vs. 20% globally). Nevertheless, making local friends (29th) doesn’t appear too burdensome, and only 23% of respondents describe their friend group as mostly expats (vs. 37% globally). In fact, Finding Friends (32nd) is the best-performing subcategory in this index.   

Struggling with Finances

Good finances can make the above challenges easier to weather. However, Türkiye ranks 45th for the Personal Finance Index. Expats are unsatisfied with their financial situation (47th) and the general cost of living (43rd). More than a third (35%) say their disposable household income isn't enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 30% globally).

The Typical Expat in Türkiye

Further Reading