expat network

Singapore The Best Place For Expats

Singapore is ranked the best place for expats for the second year in a row, in a new survey.
Expats in Singapore enjoy some of the world’s best financial rewards and career opportunities, while benefiting from an excellent quality of life and a safe, family-friendly environment, found HSBC’s Expat Explorer country league table.

More than three in five expats in Singapore say it is a good place to progress their career, with the same proportion seeing their earnings rise after moving to the country (compared with 43% and 42% respectively of expats globally). The average annual income for expats in Singapore is US$139,000 (compared with US$97,000 across the world), while nearly a quarter earn more than US$200,000 (more than twice the global expat average of 11%).

Overall, two-thirds of expats agree that Singapore offers a better quality of life than their home country (compared to 52% of expats globally), while three-quarters say the quality of education in Singapore is better than at home, the highest proportion in the world (global average 43%).

The survey also found that nearly a quarter of expats aged 18-34 moved abroad to find more purpose in their career. This compares to 14% of those aged 34-54 and only 7% of those aged 55 and over. Millennials are also the most likely to embrace expat life in search of a new challenge: more than two in five say this, compared with 38% of those aged 34-54 and only 30% of those aged 55 and over. Millennials are finding the purpose they seek, with almost half reporting that they are more fulfilled at work than they were in their home country.

Far from slowing progress towards their longer term financial goals, expats find many are fast tracked by life abroad. Around two-in-five expats say that moving abroad has accelerated their progress towards saving for retirement or towards buying a property, compared to around one in five whose move abroad has slowed their progress towards these financial goals. Almost a third of expats say living abroad has helped them to save towards their children’s education more quickly, compared to only 15% who say it has slowed them down.



Switzerland shines for the second year in a row, offering unrivalled financial wellbeing and a strong economy for expats. Nearly nine-in-ten expats living there in Switzerland feel confident about the political stability of the country and four-in-five feel confident about its economy.

Three-quarters of expats say the earning prospects are better in Switzerland than they are back in their home country, with an average annual income of US$188,000. Nearly three-quarters of expats in Switzerland are able to save more of their income there, while 73% now have more disposable income. This compares to global expat averages of 53% and 56% respectively.



New Zealand leads the way for an unrivalled expat experience. The vast majority of expats there praise the country’s environment (air pollution, water quality) as better than in their home country, and nearly three-quarters say their quality of life has improved, which compares to 52% of expats globally. Nearly three-quarters of expats are integrating well with the local people and culture, and the majority agree that New Zealand welcomes people regardless of faith, races, gender and sexual orientation better than their home country.



Sweden offers an excellent environment for expat families. Nearly three-quarters of expat parents in Sweden rate their children’s quality of life as better than back home. Nearly half say the quality of education in Sweden is better and 72% say it is less expensive. A similar proportion believe the quality of childcare available in Sweden is better than it is at home.