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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Struggling with Finances & Healthcare in Ireland

Expats enjoy their working life, but healthcare, housing, and their personal finances are major issues.

Ireland ranks third worldwide in the Working Abroad Index, with only Denmark (1st) and Australia (2nd) performing better in this regard. It even places first for job security: close to three in four expats (74%) are happy with this factor, compared to 59% globally.

In the Career Prospects Subcategory (2nd), Ireland shows another strong performance, only beaten by the United States (1st). Over two in three expats (68%) are happy with the job market, 21 percentage points more than the global average (47%). “The job opportunities are many, thanks to a dynamic economy,” notes a French expat. In addition, about three in four expats (74%) report that moving to Ireland has improved their career prospects (vs. 60% globally), and 72% are happy with their personal career opportunities (vs. 58% globally).

Coming in ninth place in the Work Culture & Satisfaction Subcategory, Ireland offers a business culture that encourages creativity (65% vs. 51% globally) and supports flexibility (79% vs. 60% globally), according to the respondents. Overall, 70% of expats are satisfied with their job (vs. 64% globally).

A Welcoming Culture

In the Ease of Settling In Index (18th), Ireland ranks best in the Local Friendliness Subcategory (12th). More than four in five expats (82%) describe the local residents as generally friendly (vs. 66% globally), and 76% consider them friendly towards foreign residents in particular (vs. 65% globally). "The people are friendly and welcoming. It is a safe place to live, learn, and work. It has become my first home, and I would like to continue living here,” shares an expat from Botswana. In fact, 47% of expats find it easy to make local friends (vs. 42% globally), and 73% feel welcome in Ireland (vs. 66% globally).

A Lack of Healthcare

Ireland lands in a low 46th place in the Quality of Life Index and even ranks last worldwide in the Health & Well-Being Subcategory (52nd). Close to half the expats find healthcare unaffordable (45%), compared to just 21% globally. Only expats in the United States (52nd) are less satisfied with this factor. What is more, they are unhappy with the availability of healthcare in Ireland (38% vs. 13% globally), as well as the quality of medical care (38% vs. 14% globally), and 44% find it difficult to access all the kinds of healthcare services that they need (vs. 17% globally). “The scarcity of beds in public hospitals is appalling, in addition to the poor quality of health services and the long waiting list for both public and private hospitals,” an Italian expat explains.

Unsatisfying Transportation & Leisure Options

While the climate and weather (46th) is an ongoing reason for expats’ unhappiness in Ireland, they also rate the country poorly in the Leisure Options Subcategory (44th). One in five (20%) is unhappy with the culinary variety and dining options (vs. 12% globally), and 19% rate the opportunities for recreational sports negatively (vs. 11% globally). Additionally, expats are quite unhappy with the affordability of public transportation (52nd), ranking the country last worldwide. Close to three in ten expats (29%) find it expensive, about double the global average (15%). Beyond that, they are unhappy with the availability of public transportation (36% vs. 17% globally) and the infrastructure for cars (29% vs. 13% globally), placing Ireland 43rd in the Travel & Transit Subcategory.

High Living Costs

Ireland is also among the bottom 10 countries in the Personal Finance Index (49th). The general cost of living (49th) is a major issue, as nearly three in five expats (59%) are unhappy with this factor, compared to 35% globally. What is more, 38% feel that their disposable household income is not enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 28% globally).

Aside from the general cost of living, housing is another major problem for expats in Ireland — the country ranks last worldwide in the Housing Subcategory (52nd). Over three in five expats (61%) report that it is difficult for expats to find housing (vs. 27% globally), and 73% say that housing in Ireland is unaffordable, compared to only 43% globally. An Italian expat explains that “the cost of living is outrageous. It is impossible to find decent accommodation at affordable prices.”

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