Over half of expats have repatriated at least once, a new survey shows

by Ray Clancy on October 3, 2017

Over half, some 52%, of expats around the world have been through a repatriation process at some point, with 19% repatriating more than once.

However, 48% have never repatriated and Singapore is the country with the highest proportion of expats that have never moved back home with 65% who have not been through a repatriation process.


The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey also shows that the channel island of Jersey has the second highest proportion of expats that have never moved back home at 58%, followed by Malaysia at 56%.

But it can be hard to severe ties with home and 32% of expats own a property in the country where they were born. Of these some 55% own it because they plan to return home and live in it at some point.

And the most cited reason for expats repatriating is family or personal reasons, accounting for 32% or repatriations.

When it comes to the impact moving abroad has on expats wealth Switzerland is best, followed by Norway and Germany while the Netherlands came top for family, followed by Sweden and Singapore. For quality of life New Zealand was best, followed by Spain and Portugal.

The research found that the strong Swiss economy and stable political environment are appreciated by expats and the vast majority, 89%, feel confident about the economy while 78% say their earning prospects are better than at home.

Switzerland is not the only economics hot spot, however. Germany performs well for career development, with 62% of expats in the country saying it is a good place to progress their career, compared with 54% globally.

Some 58% of expats said they moved to New Zealand to improve their quality of life and 72% believe they are integrating well with the local people and culture. Spain and Portugal are lauded by expats for their healthy lifestyles with 58% in Spain and 57% in Portugal saying that their physical health is better as a result of the move compared to a global average of 36%.

The Netherlands has overtaken Sweden as the best place to raise a family, rising nine places in one year and 76% of expat parents in the Netherlands say the health and wellbeing of their children is better than it was at home. Expat parents also praise the quality of education and childcare with 72% and 65% respectively saying it is better than at home.

Last year’s winner, Sweden, ranks as the second best country to raise a family and 72% of expat parents rate the quality of childcare as better than at home and 71% said the process of arranging a school for their children was straightforward.

Brexit and a coalition Government have had an impact on the expat view of the UK which fell 13 places to 35 this year due to a 20% drop in confidence in the economy and a 22% fall in confidence in political stability.

However, expats still believe the UK offers a positive experience with 68% saying it is a good place for expats who want to progress their career compared with a global average of 54%, and 56% saying that earning prospects are better than at home compared with 50% globally.

A renowned destination for expats, the United Arab Emirates moved back into the top 10 this year and 56 % of expats say they moved there to improve their earnings, compared with 22% of expats globally. The benefits of life in the UAE are not just reserved to expat finances with 55% saying their work/life balance is better than at home and for 62% their overall quality of life improved. The same goes for families, with 66% of expat parents saying their children’s quality of life is better since the move.

India has recorded it best ever standing with strong ratings across a range of economic, quality of life and family measures helping it to move up 12 places. Some 63% say India is a good place to progress their career, 64% are able to save more, 43% a better quality of life and 67% found it easy to integrate.

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