Singapore is the best overall place to live and work overseas, according to HSBC’s 2015 Expat Explorer survey. The report, which was conducted by YouGov and canvassed the opinions of nearly 22,000 expatriates globally, found that over two thirds of expats surveyed in Singapore said their quality of life had improved since moving there.

Expats in Singapore on average earn USD159,000, putting them well above the global average of USD104,000. Those taking part in this year’s survey said they were able to save more in the city-state than they did at home. Singapore also ranked highly as a place to bring up a family, with 65 per cent of expats saying they thought their child’s health and wellbeing had improved since moving.

Top countries for expatriates

  1. Singapore
  2. New Zealand
  3. Sweden
  4. Bahrain
  5. Germany
  6. Canada
  7. Australia
  8. Taiwan
  9. UAE
  10. Switzerland

The findings of the 2015 Expat Explorer Balancing life abroad report offer an insight into what motivates people to live abroad and the kind of experience expats have. Moving to improve job prospects is only the third biggest reason to relocate behind having a new challenge and improving quality of life.

Dean Blackburn, Head of HSBC Expat, said: “Regardless of where they choose to move, expats are seeking a balanced experience in their new home. This report shows that, rather than aiming purely for higher wages or instant career success, many expats move to improve their quality of life, seek a personal challenge or learn new skills.”

The report also found that the benefits on offer to those relocating to the Middle East were among the best. Expats living in Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were far more likely to be offered health care, airfare and accommodation allowances as part of their relocation package than in other countries.

Sweden topped the Expat Explorer poll as the best place to live as a family, with expat parents praising the affordability of schooling and the overall quality of life in the country. New Zealand, meanwhile, offered the most satisfying experience living overseas: nearly 80 per cent of expats said they had a better quality of life there.

The best place to achieve career and financial success was Switzerland, with more than three quarters of expats saying they felt confident about the Swiss economy. London, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, meanwhile, were rated as the best cities in which to start a business.


Expat Explorer is an independent consumer research study into the views of expatriates around the world. Commissioned by HSBC, it provides authoritative insights into expats’ attitudes, behaviour and opinions on the financial and social aspects of the countries they live in.

The findings are based on a global survey completed by 21,950 expats from 198 countries and territories. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March, April and May 2015. Global figures are the average of all countries and territories surveyed, unless otherwise stated. Figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number. All monetary values are expressed in US dollars.

An expat is defined as an adult over the age of 18 years old who is currently living away from their country of origin or home country.

The league tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents, including at least 30 expat parents, is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

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