Want to Live Abroad? The Best Countries for Expats
If the thought of moving abroad has ever crossed your mind, you are not alone: More than 6.3 million Americans live overseas, and according to a 2011 survey, a shocking 40% of young people said they were thinking about relocation. The Great American Diaspora is real. Whether you want to learn a new language, you’re looking to land a great job, or you just want to spread your wings, moving abroad is a challenging and rewarding experience from which you can only grow.
So where should you move? For some of you, the answer may be as simple as where your company’s satellite office is located, where your family lives, or where you speak the native tongue, but for many, the answer is one big fill-in-the-blank. There are a number of important points to consider, including quality of life, job opportunities, salary, the chance to travel, healthcare, childcare, and education. HSBC has ranked dozens of these criteria in its annual Expat Explorer survey, arriving at a definitive list of the best countries for expats to live and work abroad. Read on to find out which countries are leading the charge—and find out what makes them so appealing.
Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland has a strong economy and excellent standards of living. It's also home to breathtaking landscapes, from the regal Alps to the quiet countryside. Sporty expats are drawn there for its healthy lifestyle and endless opportunity for activity, from ice skating to skiing to sailing. It also ranks high for household income, general satisfaction, commuting, and quality of life for children. For all of these reasons and more, it ranks number one as an expat destination and has a highly developed expat community.
If you’re worried about “roughing it” while you’re abroad, think again—and think of Singapore. Considered one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world, this little city-state south of Malaysia offers a high quality of life and profitable business opportunities (especially in tech). Second overall, it ranks high in household income, personal disposable income, satisfaction with the economy, commuting, sports, and more.
With the world’s fastest-growing economy, China is a leading power with an increasing demand for skilled professionals. There are many lucrative positions to be had in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing, but the rural lifestyle also has its appeal. Overall, the nation ranks number three as an expat destination and wins for household income and personal disposable income. It also ranks high in expat satisfaction, social life, and opportunities for sport.
With financial brawn that’s fuelling the European economy, stunning landscapes, and a thriving culture, Germany is a great place to boost your career, as well as raise a family or just explore. It ranks high in expat satisfaction, personal disposable income, and commuting. English is also widely understood and spoken there, especially in business.
Work-life balance reigns supreme in the two-island nation of New Zealand, which is beloved by expats for its outdoorsy lifestyle and stunning natural beauty. As a hub of commerce and culture, Auckland, the country’s largest and most populous region, is a favourite of expats in particular. The country wins at quality of life for children, and ranks high in opportunities for sport and satisfaction with the economy.
Spectacular doesn’t begin to describe the raw beauty of this Southeast Asian kingdom. With picture-perfect islands, meandering beaches, and lots of sunshine (and rain too), Thailand is easy on the eyes and the lifestyle. Capital city of Bangkok offers lots of excitement, too. The country ranks high in personal disposable income and social life.
With shiny coastlines, a bustling capital city (Taipei), a thriving culture, and many business opportunities, the island republic of Taiwan, with a population of more than 23 million, ranks high in household income, social life, personal disposable income, and commuting. Learning Mandarin is essential, though.
An exotic contrast to life in the United States, India is full of sensory experiences. Brimming with more than 1.2 billion people, with a low cost of living, it’s challenging, dynamic, and eye-opening, all at once. It ranks high in household income, social life, and opportunities for sport—especially cricket!
An autonomous territory on the southern coast of China, Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997, is teeming with expats. Excellent schools, great healthcare, many travel opportunities, and a thriving economy are some of its biggest draws. It ranks high in social life, household income, and commuting.