Singapore rated best for expats for third year

Singapore continues to dominate as the most popular destinations for expatriates. Mumbai ranked in the top spot for expat earnings each year, reaching more than double of the average.

Singapore view from the water
For the third year running, Singapore has emerged as the world’s most popular destination for expatriates in HSBC’s annual survey.

Education and transport put Singapore at the top

In a survey based on responses from more than 27,000 expats in 159 nations, Singapore just pipped Norway to the top spot, mainly because of its cleanliness, safety and public transport system. More than a quarter of foreigners living in the city-state were also impressed with the local education facilities.The HSBC Expat Explorer survey to find which nations were rated overall the best – and in which New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands rounded off the top five – was based on 27 questions in three categories: economics, experience and family life.

What attracts expats to move?

Ranking more than 50 cities around the world, respondents rated Berlin top for culture, ahead of Buenos Aires in second place; Stockholm as the most welcoming in terms of diversity, just ahead of Lisbon; and Sydney the best for a healthy lifestyle, with Vancouver in second place.“There is a stereotype that expats move purely for their careers and for greater financial opportunities, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact it’s the thirst for a new challenge, whether getting to grips with a new culture or living a healthier lifestyle that attracts expats abroad,” said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.“The world’s cities are filled with life-changing opportunities. Our survey reveals that expats are integrating with locals, learning the language and exchanging cultures, skills and ideas, making the most of the city they live in and becoming part of their new society.”But if money is the main attraction for some, then Mumbai appears to be the place to head for with average expat earnings running at $217,165 a year, more than double the global expat average of $99,903.
“Mumbai has the highest percentage of expats sent by their employer. These expats often benefit from relocation packages, which goes some way in explaining the higher salaries expats enjoy in the city,” said Mr Blackburn, who also cited high employment and experience levels among expats in India as well as the number of engineers relocating to Mumbai.When it came to expats’ career opportunities, the survey rated San Francisco as top, just ahead of London, while Zurich appeared to be the city where expats were most likely to see an increase in disposable income.
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UK and US lead job opportunities

The survey found that cities in the UK and the US led the rest of the world in job opportunities, with New York, Dublin and Birmingham, England, rounding off the top five.“With a booming economy and leading position in the tech world, San Francisco - home to Silicon Valley - has the second highest proportion of expats working in the technology sector, behind Dublin,” said HSBC. “The majority (57 per cent) of expats in San Francisco rate it as having fantastic job opportunities – well above the global average of 25 per cent – making it the top-scoring city in the survey.”Describing London as “a city famous for being a magnet for international talent”, the survey found 49 per cent of respondents rated the UK capital as excellent for job opportunities, despite a high cost of living.“The average expat salary ($107,863) in London is all the more impressive given that the city has the second highest proportion of millennial expats (18 to 35 year olds) in our survey. However, London salaries are not enough to help many expats get on the property ladder, with just 24 per cent of expats in London owning property in the UK, compared to global average of 37 per cent.”Top 10 country rankings:
1. Singapore
2. Norway
3. New Zealand
4. Germany
5. Netherlands
6. Canada
7. Australia
8. Sweden
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