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The Best Places to Be an Expat

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The Best Places to Be an Expat

http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2014/10/22/the-best-country-to-be-an-expat/?mod=blog_flyover

BN-FD565_EXPATS_G_20141022152115.jpg The good life? Harold Cunningham

So, you want to live abroad … where will you go?

Obviously some places are better than others – most people want to live somewhere that offers a solid quality of life, good healthcare and schools, safety and security, excellent schools, fair work-life balance and prospects for high earnings.

But according to a survey of 9,000 expats from HSBC, one country rises above the pack on the combined measures of economics, overall experience and family life. That honor goes to Switzerland.

Expats in Switzerland boast high household income,plenty of extra cash and a strong host economy. (Bonus points for alpine cheeses, excellent chocolate and stunning landscapes.) Not so hot according to expat survey respondents are Switzerland’s social life and the ease with which outsiders make local friends, or any friends at all. (Take a closer look at Switzerland’s ranking here.)

Take “experience” and “raising children” out of the equation and the most financially satisfying country to be an expat is China. (It still ranked third overall.) Travel, culture, lifestyle and adapting can be frustrating in China, but economically it’s a no-brainer: 76% of expats in China say their disposable household income increased since they moved to that country, compared to a global average of 53%. Meanwhile, 85% of expats in China say they are satisfied with the local economy compared to a global average of 62%. (Take a closer look at China’s expat ranking here.)

Other countries popular with expats are Singapore, Bahrain, New Zealand and Thailand; with Oman, Qatar, Hong Kong and Germany especially strong on economic measures and New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Japan, Singapore, India and Belgium especially strong on family measures.

Egypt ranked low on almost every measure except for cost of childcare and education. And scraping in above Egypt was the United Kingdom. Expats reamed the nation for its poor work-life balance, accommodation, mediocre child care and high cost of living.

How welcoming is the U.S. to expats? Not much more than the U.K. according to this survey, although curiously respondents found it was easy to set up utilities. So, there’s that.

Here’s a look at how the countries fared overall across the three scales – economics, experience and raising children:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. China
  4. Germany
  5. Bahrain
  6. New Zealand
  7. Thailand
  8. Taiwan
  9. India
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Canada
  12. Australia
  13. Qatar
  14. Oman
  15. United Arab Emirates
  16. Vietnam
  17. Russia
  18. Japan
  19. Malaysia
  20. Belgium
  21. Mexico
  22. South Africa
  23. France
  24. Spain
  25. Ireland
  26. Turkey
  27. Netherlands
  28. Saudi Arabia
  29. Kuwait
  30. United States
  31. Italy
  32. Brazil
  33. United Kingdom
  34. Egypt

** The Expat Explorer survey polled 9,288 expats from over 100 countries through an online questionnaire. For a country to be included in the final tally, it needed at least 100 expat respondents of whom at least 30 were parents. Take a look at the full interactive HSBC Expat Explorer survey here


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horsey-change.jpg?w=336&h=265

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Saudi Arabia is ahead of the U.S.? They must not have polled many women.

I suspect one of the main reasons the U.S. ranks so low is because of the visa process. Unless you come here illegally, then the U.S. would probably be #1.


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Saudi Arabia is ahead of the U.S.? They must not have polled many women.

[\quote]

Expats can make big money in Saudi. Saudi men are a little work shy and Saudi woman aren't really allows to do anything outside their homes.

I suspect one of the main reasons the U.S. ranks so low is because of the visa process. Unless you come here illegally, then the U.S. would probably be #1.

Yeah, most of those countries make very difficult for businesses to employ illegal workers. In the US its practically encouraged.


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Saudi Arabia is ahead of the U.S.? They must not have polled many women.

I suspect one of the main reasons the U.S. ranks so low is because of the visa process. Unless you come here illegally, then the U.S. would probably be #1.

I got in-laws that work in Saudi. They making bank.

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I'm throwing the BS flag on this one. Philippines, Belize, and Brunei are mysteriously absent...

Maybe they didn't have 30 respondents that were parents. Maybe most people re-locating to those climates are sans rugrats.

I'm looking forward to expatriate in February. Any advice from experienced expats???

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Maybe they didn't have 30 respondents that were parents. Maybe most people re-locating to those climates are sans rugrats.

I'm looking forward to expatriate in February. Any advice from experienced expats???

I've heard China is good, minus the language barrier, but I suspect you have an in when it comes to that. :)

I'm looking at Philippines (Palawan, Cebu, Bohol or Boracay), Belize, Thailand. Wanting to stay in each country for 4-6 months, see where we like best.

Belize is VERY receptive to older, retired ExPats. Residency for the asking, tax breaks on buying land, English (official language) is spoken everywhere about as much Kriol.

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I've heard China is good, minus the language barrier, but I suspect you have an in when it comes to that. :)

I'm looking at Philippines (Palawan, Cebu, Bohol or Boracay), Belize, Thailand. Wanting to stay in each country for 4-6 months, see where we like best.

Belize is VERY receptive to older, retired ExPats. Residency for the asking, tax breaks on buying land, English (official language) is spoken everywhere about as much Kriol.

My plan is to go to school everyday for a month to help the language skills, my wife says I'm at a pre-K level (nasty woman). I have a friend who did it and within 6 months he was business proficient.

I understand that Thailand and Philippines are great places financially to retire. Seems they promote it. We hope to retire someday and thought a third country would be cool and we love Thailand so who knows. Belize might be cool also and its a shorter flight to the US.

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I understand that Thailand and Philippines are great places financially to retire.

Yeah as long as you don't commit "suicide" by leaping off a balcony.


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Yeah as long as you don't commit "suicide" by leaping off a balcony.

Always stay on the first or second floor, or better yet, buy a house! We're going to get a condo in Hua Hin when we make the push because staying in the wife's village would definitely make one go tropo!

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