The Worst Developed or Developing to Countries to try and Immigrate to

1. Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 2,406,713 immigrants – 19th out of 213 territories, in 2010 168th most developed country in the world, out of 187, in 2013 136th least corrupt country in the world, out of 175, in 2013 Sure, you’re saying “I thought this list was going to be of places people want to move to! Nobody wants to move there!” But Cote d’Ivoire is the 19th most popular country to immigrate to. I know I’m surprised. In 2013 it was the ranked the 20th least (168th most) developed country in the world – though in it its defense this was up from 18th in 2011, when it was in the midst of a now-resolved civil war, so that’s something. It’s somehow considered less corrupt than Ukraine, so there’s that. It’s actually the biggest economy in the region, dominated by coffee production. That must be why so many people move there. The vast majority of immigrants have come from Burkina Faso, which you’ll see up top on the list of worst places to live in the world. This migration thing is all relative. Cote d’Ivoire might appear horrible to us, but to some people it must look pretty good – See more at:

2. Ukraine

  • 5,257,527 immigrants – 11th out of 213 territories in 2010
  • 78th most developed country in the world, out of 187, in 2013
  • 144th least corrupt country in the world, out of 175, in 2013

Ah, the home of the Chernobyl disaster. Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe (worse than Belarus!), and is barely out of the top 25 in the world. It’s tied for the 3rd least developed in Europe, as well; only Bosnia – which at least as a devastating civil war as an excuse – and neighbouring Moldova are less developed. Approximately 40% of Ukraine’s economy – which has finally semi-recovered from multiple financial crises – is estimated to be in the black market, so it’s unlikely you’ll get a legitimate job. Ukraine is so corrupt, it’s as ranked as corrupt as Nigeria, the home of internet scams! It’s no surprise that most immigrants to Russia are from Ukraine. It’s more surprising that so many immigrants from Ukraine are from Russia, and we must assume it’s either the weather or ethnic ties that draw so many, making Ukraine the 11th most popular immigration destination in the world.

– See more at:

3. Saudi Arabia Though Saudi Arabia is tied with Bulgaria for status as the 57th most developed country in the world, and though it’s relatively incorrupt, it’s still a religious dictatorship, with extremely strict laws, especially for women. One of the richest countries in the world, with a growing economy – expanding beyond just oil – and with a need for more labour, Saudi Arabia is a natural draw for immigrants. But the Royal Family imposes Sharia law on the country, and politics has changed little from tribal practices – there are no federal elections but men can “petition” the King through local councils. Women are not even allowed to drive, though they were recently promised the right to vote in local elections sometime in the future.

I guess if you’re a single male, and you want to make some money while not having any fun – remember, no drinking! – then this might be the place for you. But for everyone else, it’s hard to see the appeal.

– See more at:

4.India  Despite its exploding population, India remains one of the most popular immigration destinations in the world, likely because it sucks to live in Bangladesh – the country with far and away the greatest population density of any country over 100,000 square kilometres in size. India’s other neighbours, such as Pakistan, Burma – I mean Myanmar…I mean Burma – are not much fun either. So I guess it makese sense that over 5,000,000 people have made India their new home, but it’s still kind of nuts. India is the second most populous country in the world, behind China, and rapidly gaining ground.  It has nearly 4 times the population of the 3rd most populous country, the United States. India is crowded – not as crowded as Bangladesh, but it is the densest country over 5,000,000 square kilometres in size – and it is notoriously dirty. – See more at:

5. Russia Russia is, for some reason, the second most popular country to immigrate to. It is ranked as the 55th best country to live in the word, but if the Sochi experience is telling us anything, either that means that the rest of the world is pretty terrible, or The Human Development Index has something wrong with its standards. Much of Russia contains some of the coldest inhabited parts of the world, including both “North Poles of Cold” (-67.8C!!!).

And when it’s not too cold, it’s too hot! In the summer of 2010, some major Russian cities, such as Volgograd and Rostov, experienced highs in the low 40Cs. And Moscow wasn’t far behind, hitting 39C one day. Why would you want to move here?

Add to it the legendary corruption: Russia was ranked the 2nd most corrupt country in Europe, among the most corrupt countries in Asia, and one of the 50 most corrupt countries in the world. We are getting a full dose of this notorious Russia stereotype through the Sochi Games – over $50 billion dollars spent and there aren’t even hotel lobbies. It can only be out of sheer desperation that people immigrate to Russia; other parts of the world must be worse. And that’s born out by the numbers: two of the top most traveled migration routes in the world are between Russia and Ukraine and Russia and Kazakhstan – both countries are considered more corrupt than Russia, and both are also considered less developed, Ukraine in particular. (Though why anyone would choose Russia over Kazakhstan is beyond me.)

– See more at:

  • 335,022 immigrants – 82nd out of 213 territories in 2010
  • 44th most developed country in the world, out of 187, in 2013
  • 49th least corrupt country in the world, out of 175, in 2013

6. Not a lot of people are trying to immigrate to Latvia, so maybe you are wondering why it’s on this list. Well, aside from the (bad) weather, there’s likely another reason why nobody wants to go to Latvia: Latvia doesn’t want you! Out of 34 countries ranked by the Migration Policy Index – which focuses on developed coutnries’ immigration policies, mostly in Europe – Latvia ranks dead last. Latvia makes virtually no effort to handle the 330,000 people that have come:

  • Until 2009 there was unequal access to education for anyone not born in Latvia;
  • There are few regulations to prevent discrimination based on status – hiring is often based on Latvian birth and not on merit;
  • Until October 2013, Latvia’s nationality laws imposed all sorts of strict requirements on immigrants – including attending Latvian school for a fixed period – that made the naturalization process time-consuming and unrealistic for most newcomers;
  • Status could be lost by something as simple going on vacation outside of Latvia;
  • Nobody is really sure what status they have – temporary or permanent – as interpretation of immigration laws varies from official to official;
  • Immigrants are not guaranteed the right to vote once they get citizenship.

– See more at:

7. Japan 2,176,219 immigrants – 22nd out of 213 territories in 2010 10th most developed country, out of 187, in 2013 18th least corrupt country, out of 175, in 2013 Japan is sort of notorious for being unfriendly to immigrants – the country has a long history of obsessing over “racial purity”. So it might be a surprise to know that Japan actually sits at 22nd on the list of largest immigrant populations in the world. But many of these people are actually ethnic Japanese descendants of emigrants who left Japan in previous decades. Many of them returned to Japan in the early 1990s, when Japan desperately needed labour. They came from all over the world: not just China and South Korea but Brazil and Peru. And in 2009, Japan decided to kick them out. Of course, Japan didn’t kick them out, but the government offered to pay some of these ethnically Japanese immigrants to leave, forever. The South American immigrants were offered $3000 per migrant worker and and $2000 per dependent to leave, and to pledge to never come back. Japan is so xenophobic they don’t even want their own people! – See more at:


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