survey

Singapore is top country for expats for third year in a row

by Ray Clancy on September 27, 2017

Singapore has again been rated as the best country in the world to live and work by expats with Norway in second place, New Zealand third and Germany in fourth place.

The latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey, now in its tenth year, ranks each country using a score that summarises expat view on economics, experience and family life.

(Dietrich Herlan/Bigstock.com)

The 27,500 expat votes gave fifth place to the Netherlands, the country’s first time in the top 10, followed by Canada, then Australia, Sweden, Austria and the United Arab Emirates.

As well as unveiling the best places in the world to live as an expat, the survey also found that life abroad typically increases expats’ income by 25% with the average expat earning just under US$100,000 a year.

Far from compromising their wellbeing, expats seem to find the right balance. Some 41% of expats adopt a more positive outlook on life after moving abroad with 44% becoming more physically active.

Singapore came out top by balancing all aspects of expat life and has now topped the table for three years in a row. Some 83% of expats said they felt the country is politically stable and 73% had confidence in the local economy while 64% said their quality of life was better than in their home country.

Some 73% said Singapore offers better earning prospects than their home country and 65% enjoy more disposable income. Expats moving to Singapore report an average 42% increase in their annual income compared to home, to almost US$118,000.

Not only is Singapore a land of economic opportunity, it is also a top destination to raise a family with 82% saying they feel safer there than at home and 72% expat parents rate the quality of education and the health and well-being of their children better than in their home country. This compares with 49%, 44% and 50% globally.

But expat life in Singapore can come at a price. Expats are less likely to see an improvement in their work/life balance than those in other destinations at 47% compared to 53% globally. Some 84% of expats find that the cost of raising children in Singapore is more expensive than at home.

Norway, meanwhile, is up four places in the league table and narrowly misses out on the top spot. The majority, some 90% of expats in Norway say that their work/life balance has improved and 78% that the job security is better than at home compared with 53% and 41% globally.

Furthermore, 82% of expat parents say that their children’s overall quality of life is better than at home, compared with 59% globally. These much appreciated upsides are typical of the Nordic model characterised by a flexible and yet secure employment market as well as free education and universal healthcare.

‘Singapore has been rated the number one destination by expats for the last three years, offering economic stability, a great quality of life and a safe environment for families. The rise of countries like Norway, Germany and the Netherlands up the table this year shows how quickly destinations can become expat hot spots,’ said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.

‘However, becoming an expat is not without its challenges. Living across international borders can make securing their financial wellbeing harder. Whatever their priorities are, financial planning can help them get there,’ he added.

 

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