An independent international survey has highlighted the virtues of Malaga as a city to live and work in, for foreign workers. A poll of users of the InterNations website, a digital community for expatriates with around four million members in 420 cities around the world, awarded Malaga the second-placed spot worldwide, only behind Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Both the company responsible for the study and the Malaga City Council, (through its Councillor for Tourism, Rosa Sánchez) have assured SUR that the survey is based solely on the responses of the participants (about 12,000 of them) and is not an advertising or sponsorship action paid for by any institution.
The survey, which was carried out at the beginning of the year, asked InterNations community members about their satisfaction with quality of life (which included a healthy environment and good digital infrastructure); ease of settling down (language barriers, reception from local residents); personal issues (such as access to healthcare) and the employment situation (job security, stable local economy etc).
In the specific case of Malaga, the study highlighted that it attracts professionals seeking "a higher quality of life." Its greatest strength, it added, was when it comes to arriving and settling into the city. Malaga ranks first in the friends and socialisation section of the survey with 69 per cent of expatriates saying that was easy for them to get a new social life (the average is 48 per cent) and 78 per cent said they were happy with their social life.
The capital of Costa del Sol also received high scores in the cost of living, finance and housing sections. Eighty-two per cent of the foreign workers considered that their income is sufficient or surplus to cover residential expenses.
Malaga was also above the average in terms of quality of life, while it was in first place in terms of weather and free time: some 80 per cent of respondents said they loved the city's climate and 86 per cent applauded the leisure offer.
"I love the weather, the nature is beautiful and there is a rich cultural life," commented one teleworker of Icelandic origin. Malaga was also characterised by being a safe city, by having a good medical and health system and affordable in terms of prices.
On the other hand, the city's greatest weakness was when it comes to employment. It was not considered a good option for expatriates who want to pursue a professional career: 28 per cent were not satisfied with their work and 55 per cent viewed job opportunities at the local level negatively. However, the survey highlighted that 33 per cent of respondents moved to Malaga in search of a better quality of life, and not to improve their work.
After Malaga, among the top ten in the world are Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates; Sydney (Australia); Singapore; Ho Chi Minh, in Vietnam; Prague (Czech Republic); Mexico City; Basel (Switzerland) and Madrid. At the opposite end of the scale, the cities worst valued by expatriates are: Rome, Milan, Istanbul, Moscow, Maastricht, Paris, Tokyo, Cairo, New York and Johannesburg.
The InterNations community has 4.2 million members in 420 cities around the world, and is the largest global community and source of information for people who live and work in countries other than their origin. The platform offers services to share experiences and socialise in an 'online' and face-to-face way, with some 6,000 monthly activities to help connect expatriates with each other.