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Asia offers the best overall quality of life for expatriate workers, according to HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey, which looks at the views of 7,000 expats in almost 100 countries. Many people prefer working in emerging economies, with Thailand top of the rankings and China, Singapore, India and Taiwan in the top ten.

The survey suggests that Asian countries score highly for social life, cost of everyday living, and the ease of making friends and setting up home. Those working in emerging markets are generally better paid than at home, have greater job satisfaction and fewer worries about job security. The average salary of those surveyed was USD64,000 and one in four earned more than USD100,000.

Some of the highest-paid expatriates are in Asia, where average pay is USD74,000, while in Europe it is USD53,000.

Those working in emerging markets are generally better paid than at home, have greater job satisfaction and fewer worries about job security

For those focused on money issues – household income, take-home pay, and the economic outlook where they work – the top destinations are Switzerland, China and Qatar. But when living costs are taken into consideration, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, India and Vietnam are the most “cost effective”.

Brazil is the most romantic destination and where people are most likely to find their life partner, while Russia and Italy also rated as romantic locations. Four in ten expats say that they have met their life partner since moving.

Germany is the most popular destination for the quality of schools, childcare and health, with France and Spain also ranked highly for childcare. But 42 per cent of expats in Europe are concerned about job security and the economy in their host country.

Many expats are making an effort to integrate into their host country. In China, 86 per cent say they are trying to speak the language and 66 per cent say it is easy to make friends. In addition, 74 per cent say their children are safer than at home and 56 per cent say the quality of education available to their children is better. Children living in Asia are also more likely to learn a new language, even those regarded as difficult such as Chinese and Thai.

Dean Blackburn, Head of HSBC Expat, said: “Yet again the results show Asia to be the leading destination for expat quality of life, with the region also emerging as an expat social hotspot.”

The Expat Explorer survey, now in its sixth year, is commissioned by HSBC Expat and conducted by independent research company YouGov, who questioned 7,004 expats through an online survey. The survey ran from 29 April to 11 June 2013, with expats from nearly 100 countries taking part.

A sample size of 30 or more respondents from each country was required for inclusion in each league table, to be considered indicative of the views of the country’s expat population, with many countries far exceeding the minimum sample size. The league tables are based on a series of sub criteria to ensure a fair assessment of how individual countries rate across a range of factors. Each criterion is weighted to arrive at a score which determines the country ranking.

The full set of sub criteria measured for each of the individual league tables is available on the Expat Explorer Interactive tool:

Download the HSBC Expat Explorer 2013 infographic

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