Expats feel settled more quickly in Bahrain than any other country in the world

by Ray Clancy on March 7, 2016

Bahrain, Mexico and Malaysia are the top three countries around the world where new expats who move to work feel at home the quickest.

In Bahrain some 47% of expats said that they felt at home instantly or in less than six months followed by 43% in Malaysia and 42% in Mexico.

The data from the HSBC expat explorer survey also shows that 66% feel at home in less than a year in Bahrain, 63% in India and 61% in Malaysia.


Expats settle in quickly in other countries such as Taiwan, Oman, Russia, Spain, Indonesia and Vietnam, making up the top 10 countries from the HSBC data.

The survey confirms that expats experience different milestones on their path to feeling like locals. Some 51% said that making friends or developing their social life played the greatest part in making a strong connection with their new country while 38% said it was starting to understand the local culture and etiquette.

In Bahrain, 51% said making friends was an important milestone on the way to feeling at home, while 37% said it was knowing their family were enjoying life in their new country. In Mexico, 44% of expats said it was successfully using the local language.

Older expats find it easier to settle in. Some 35% of those over 55 years old said their host country felt like home within their first six months, which compares to 33% of 18 to 34 year olds and only 29% of 35 to 54 year olds.

The latest data has been released as HSBC’s 2016 Expat Explorer survey opens to respondents. Almost 22,000 expats took part in the 2015 Expat Explorer survey, ranking Singapore the top country for expats overall, and this year HSBC is looking for even more expats to share their experiences of living abroad.

The survey is open to all expats from now until 17 April and anyone living or working abroad aged 18 and over can take part. The findings of the 2016 survey will be released in the autumn.

“Painting a picture of expat life across a broad range of criteria, the annual Expat Explorer survey is an insightful and comprehensive resource for all current and prospective expats. Not only can expats find out how the country they live in performs compared to other destinations, but they can also share the real life experiences of their peers,” said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.

“The survey findings help those who plan to move or already live abroad, and help us to better understand our expat customers and the unique challenges they face. We would like to hear from even greater numbers of expats this year; their input is critical to further support and inspire the global community of those who have made the choice of a life abroad,” he added.

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