HSBC survey reveals top destinations for expatriates

HSBC has released its latest Expat Explorer survey, which ranks more than 40 countries around the globe as expat destinations.

Singapore ranks number one for expat destinations
Singapore has been ranked the world's top destination for expatriates for the third successive year in HSBC's Expat Explorer survey.

Top ten countries geographically and culturally diverse

The survey, now in its 10th year, drew responses from more than 27,000 expats across the globe with Singapore retaining its top spot primarily because 83 per cent of respondents there expressed confidence in the state's political stability and 73 per cent in the local economy. Almost two-thirds were also happy with the quality of family life.Switzerland is in first place in the sub-division for economics while New Zealand is No 1 in the experience category and the Netherlands emerges on top when it comes to family life.On a broader front, the survey found that life abroad typically increased incomes by 25 per cent, with the average expat earning just under $100,000 a year.“Far from compromising their wellbeing, expats seem to find the right balance. Four in ten expats adopt a more positive outlook on life after moving abroad, with 44 per cent becoming more physically active,” said HSBC.“Singapore saw off competition from Norway, which rose four places to come second. Culturally very different yet both highly-regarded, Singapore and Norway offer expats a stable economic and political environment while giving them a fulfilling experience and an improved family life.”Switzerland, Norway and Germany occupy the first three places in the economics league table, with Switzerland's economy, earnings potential and stable political environment most valued among expats.New Zealand heads the experience league table, followed by Spain and Portugal. Almost three in five expats said they moved to New Zealand to improve their quality of life, compared to just a third of expats globally. More than 70 per cent of Kiwi expats reported integrating well with the local people and culture.Meanwhile, the Netherlands has climbed nine places in a year to overtake Sweden in the rankings of the best place to raise a family. More than three-quarters of expat parents in the Netherlands said the health and wellbeing of their children was better than it was at home, and similar numbers praised the quality of Dutch education and childcare.

Expat community remains diverse

Sweden occupies second place in this year's family rankings while Singapore comes in third.Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat, commented, “Each year that we conduct the Expat Explorer survey, I am amazed by the diversity of the expat community. From young entrepreneurs and career climbers to families looking for a fresh adventure, there is a destination out there to suit everyone.“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.“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.”
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In the overall table, the UAE climbed two places to return to the top 10 but one of the biggest risers was India, which rose12 places to occupy 14th place, its best ever ranking. “Driven by strong ratings across a range of economic, experience and family measures, India shines in this year's league table,” said HSBC.Expats rated India as an improved destination for career progress (up 12 points to 63 per cent), having the ability to save more (up 11 points to 64 per cent), having a better overall quality of life (up 12 points to 43 per cent) and integrating well with local people and culture (up 9 points to 67 per cent).Heading the other way in the rankings was the UK, which dropped 13 places to 35th mainly as a result of a 20 percentage point drop in confidence in the economy and a 22 per cent fall in confidence in the country's political stability, now down to 31 per cent of expat respondents.“However, expats still believe the UK offers a positive experience. Almost seven in ten say the UK is a good place for expats who want to progress their career compared with a global average of 54 per cent; and 56 per cent say that earning prospects are better than at home compared with 50 per cent globally,” said HSBC.Additionally, almost 70 per cent of expats said they had integrated well with the British people and enjoyed immersing themselves in the local culture. Top 10 (2016 ranking in brackets):
  1. Singapore (1)
  2. Norway (6)
  3. New Zealand (2)
  4. Germany (10)
  5. Netherlands (15)
  6. Canada (3)
  7. Australia (11)
  8. Sweden (8)
  9. Austria (7)
  10. United Arab Emirates (12)
Find a full report and country comparisons on the HSBC websiteFor related news and features, visit our International Assignments section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre

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