Italy rated one of the hardest countries for foreigners to settle in

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Italy rated one of the hardest countries for foreigners to settle in
Foreign residents find Italy a difficult place to settle in to. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

Italy ranked in the bottom five out of 52 countries for ease of settling in in a recent survey of newly-arrived foreign nationals, with its bureaucracy singled out for particular criticism.


The Expat Essentials Index, compiled by the information and networking site InterNations, was based on the opinions of 12,000 foreigners who were asked to rate different aspects of their experience getting started in a new country.

The index focused on four key elements of daily life - housing, language, digital life, and admin topics - and aggregated the results to determine the easiest and most challenging global destinations for foreign residents.

In the newly-released 2022 index, Italy came 48th out of 52 countries, with only Kuwait, China, Japan and Germany ranked lower.


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Bahrain, UAE, Singapore, Estonia, Oman, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kenya and Canada made the top ten.

Image: Internations

Italy received its lowest mark in the 'Admin Topics' category, where it came 49th out of 52.

Over two thirds of foreign residents surveyed (68 percent) said they found local bureaucracy difficult to deal with: 29 percentage points above the global average.

Italy also ranked in the bottom ten for ease of opening a bank account and ease of obtaining a visa, coming 44th in both areas.

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“The bureaucracy here is extremely burdensome to the point of ridiculous, in almost all aspects of life from getting a visa to getting a driver’s license and beyond,” said one American resident.

Italy performed almost as poorly in the 'Digital Life' category, which deals with the "availability of administritive services online" and "ease of paying without cash", among other things.

Image: Internations

In this category, the country ranked 45th out of the 52 surveyed.

Over a third (38 percent) of people who responded said they were unhappy with the availability of administrative services online, as opposed to 21 percent globally.

16 percent reported having difficulty getting access to high speed internet in their home, versus 11 percent internationally, and 11 percent were unhappy with the lack of cashless payment options, versus 8 percent globally.

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More than half of Italy-based respondents (55 percent) said they thought it was difficult to live in the country without speaking the language - though 53 percent described it as easy to learn, compared to a global average of 38 percent.


While Italy overall received a middling ranking in the 'Housing' category, coming in 32nd place overall, foreigners rated it a particularly difficult place to find accommodation in the first place, ranking it 42nd for ease of finding housing.


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