Whether you want to enjoy a relaxing retirement in Costa Rica, plan a hit and run in Hong Kong, or hang out with other anime addicts in Japan, the reasons for moving to a foreign country are countless and usually attractively awesome.
In fact, it’s estimated that up to 6 million Americans are currently living the experience of an expat lifestyle and the majority of them perhaps wouldn’t have it any other way.
However, moving abroad isn’t all joys and rainbows. Many of the most popular expat countries in the world have a dark lurking side. It’s enough to have one bad experience in one of these destinations so that your dream life abroad could become a nightmare.
that you need to stay away from:
1. Japan: The Justice System is Established
on False Confessions
Japan is one of the safest countries on the planet, with an intentional homicide rate about 0.3 for every 100,000 people and it barely has any terrorism at all!
There are various complicated reasons to why this country is such a nonviolent society. One is that its police force is literally terrifying. So if you’re ever going to break the law, pray it wouldn’t be in Japan.
Japanese police have the right to hold you without charge for 23 days, torturing you for most of the time. Suspects endure unbearable tortures both physically and psychologically, and choosing to keep silent is considered as an admission of being actually guilty.
The only way you can put an end to this nightmare is to sign a confession, and good luck canceling it later. Japanese courts believe that confessing is to clearly admit that you’re guilty and you’ll be sentenced accordingly. People frequently go down for crimes they never committed.
It’s estimated that one-tenth of all Japanese prisoners are jailed because of false confessions and the government is simply not interested in reviewing their cases.
2. Thailand: You Will Go to Jail for Insulting the King’s Dog
Thailand is often regarded as a heavenly country where the living cost is low and the weather is amazing. This is actually true. However, it’s also true that you can be thrown in jail for so many years for insulting the king’s pooch.
Thais love their king beyond belief. Strict laws hand down penalties to anybody who insults or criticizes the royal family. After the 2014 coup, these laws have even extended to cover the king’s pets. In reality, a sarcastic post on the internet has resulted in many years in prison for the ‘criminal’ in 2015.
The bad news is that these laws also apply to foreigners. In 2007, a Swiss expat in 2007 was thrown in jail for 10 years due to spray-painting over a picture of the king. What may surprise you even more, is that the current US ambassador is being investigated for criticizing the existence of these Thai laws.
3. Vietnam: Drug Laws are Horribly Cruel
In comparison to many of its neighboring countries, where drug possession leads to death, Vietnam has a quite nice drug policy. Users here are sent to rehabilitation centers rather than jails, where they treat their drug addiction through work. Sounds quite advanced, right? Probably just in theory. In reality, these centers are actual camps for cruelly forced labor.
People who’ve been there have reported physical abuse and being forced to work for way too many hours, making items for unknown companies. They were beaten when missing a work quota, making a complaint, or just showing their faces, and there’s absolutely nothing they could do about it.
The centers may even be worse than jail, where prisoners at least have a release date. Some individuals in this Vietnamese rehabilitation program have been kept there for years without end.
4. Italy: Taxes are Shockingly High
Italy may look like the perfect destination, with its eternal sun, fancy culture, and easy-going lifestyle. However, it frequently ranks among the worst countries for expats, mostly due to financial reasons. Anyone who wants to move to Italy can get ready to deal with brutal taxes.
Tax rates excessively high in this country. If you’re earning a high wage in Italy you can expect to come back home with just a little bit more than 50% of your salary. And this isn’t even the worst part, as filing tax returns in Italy is carried out with lurking fees seemingly created to catch expats out.
Furthermore, foreigners have to declare every single financial source, including the few dollars floating around in your old American bank account. And in case you forget to announce it, you can end up with a significant fine.
Same things with foreign earnings, such as selling a pair of shoes on eBay, the Italian government will certainly take a piece of your cake and they’ll carry out legal action against you if you forget to tell them about it.
5. India: A Horrible Rate of Traffic Accidents
India is the top destination in the entire world for fatal traffic accidents. According to the World Health Organization’s reports, more deaths are occurring on Indian roads than anywhere else on the globe.
The country witnessed nearly 200,000 deadly traffic accidents in just 2009, while the US had the 3rd highest number with 42,642 deaths. In one year, terrible driving kills more people in India than some deadly diseases do in the entire world.
Moreover, the government only made it worse with its recent decision to loosen road safety laws. Since 2015, the maximum penalty of running over or killing a kid is $780 and one year in jail. Sadly, there are multiple reports of rich teens hitting and killing homeless individuals and simply run away with it without even having their licenses suspended.
6. Nicaragua: Endemic Corruption Sufferings
Nicaragua is one of best retirement destinations in the world due to the plenty of opportunities that the government is offering expats to move there. Moreover, it’s charming and very affordable, with a warm and nice climate all year round.
However, there is deep and horrible corruption. As reported by Transparency International, this destination is one of the most corrupt countries in the US. Even though this corruption rarely reaches expats, it still shows up its ugly face every once in a while.
Almost every resident has a certain story to tell about the police demanding a bribe, and using the power of money to get things done is a common reality. Still, Nicaragua is regarded by many people as an alluring place that’s totally worth visiting.
7. Singapore: Absurdly Strict Laws
The small Singapore is one of the safest, cleanest, and wealthiest countries in the world and also a popular destination for expats who want to make a killing and come back home extremely rich. However, all the wealth and shine definitely comes at a price. Singapore is actually governed by laws that both weird and strict.
Keeping the city clean is a law that must be respected. Spitting, littering, and tossing chewing gum, all carry unbelievable fines. Anyone caught doing such things is forced to pay a whopping $1,000, and anyone caught urinating in an elevator would be arrested.
These laws may be tough, but littering and spitting are quite disgusting. Moreover, there are also laws about flushing public toilets. Failing to flush after use can lead to a $150 fine.
8. Britain: Effectively Unaffordable
Britain can be a great destination, assuming that you can afford to live there, and chances are that you can’t. The UK, nowadays, is in the middle of a huge housing crisis, thanks to rich Saudis, Russians, and Chinese, throwing all of their wealth into the property in London, making it largely unaffordable for many people to buy a house nearly everywhere in the country.
Although an expat can be earning above the UK average wage, the problem remains, since someone with an annual income of $68,300 would still find more than half of the country beyond their means.
The country only becomes affordable when you start earning a yearly $91,800, which makes you among the top 10% UK earners, yet, almost 30% of the country would still be out of reach, including most of the region around London, exactly where a foreigner’s job is most likely to be.
9. Dubai: Drug Laws are Basically Insane
Dubai’s drug laws are horribly unique because you can still get in trouble without breaking the law. Throughout the UAE, authorities commonly check foreigners’ bloodstreams before they enter their country. So, having even tiny amounts of drugs in your blood is considered as possession, which carries a mandatory four-year prison sentence.
The only solution would be to completely avoid drugs, but still, the list of stuff that counts for ‘drugs’ in this country is pretty long and ridiculously complicated. Simple herbal spices and several types of painkillers can put you in jail.
It’s really easy to get yourself some jail time in UAE. In 2005, a British woman was held for weeks after they found some painkillers during a random screening. It also happened that she’d taken some prescribed codeine before traveling. Sadly, she contracted dysentery while being held in prison. And there are even worse and dumber stories.
10. China: Air is Trying to Kill You
As an emerging powerful country, China is a popular destination for both Europeans and Americans. But before you start making history and loads of money, you should know that air in China can kill you.
In fact, only some people realize just how bad things truly are. In 2015, air pollution in the country’s northeastern reached 50 times above safe level that it was seen as a kind of apocalypse. China’s news agency (which rarely criticizes anything) actually called it doomsday! Authorities issued a red alert, schools and offices were closed, and millions of individuals were warned not to step outside at all costs.
According to a study published in the scientific journal Plos One, pollution causes 1.6 million yearly deaths in China. And those who are lucky to stay alive find themselves suffering from long-term health issues, even after they’ve moved away. If you still want to move to China, at least get yourself a gas mask.