Can’t get a good job in your own country? Looking for somewhere a little more fun?
Whatever your reasons, great opportunities exist for expatriates around the world.
HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer survey ranks the best places to go based on on experience, economics, and raising children abroad, with subcategories for each group. We’ve picked out the top 15 places overall. (But you can also personalise the rankings based on what factors matter to you.)
South Africa has world-class hotels and tourist facilities, which might be why the country ranked so high in quality of accommodation. South Africa also ranked high for cost of childcare.
It has a lot of downsides too, however, including a low economic score and prevalent poverty and violent crime. The U.S. government warns that Americans visiting and residing in South Africa might be targeted for muggings and other crimes.
New Zealand has a relatively low crime rate, according to the U.S. State Department, and it ranks first on HSBC's report for better quality of life for children, named as the best place for bringing up confident and well-rounded kids.
New Zealand's government seems eager to recruit expats, with a snazzy website for people thinking about moving to New Zealand.
It's not all good, though, as New Zealand ranked low for expat disposable income, bringing its ranking down in the economics section.
Qatar ranked high for economics but scored low in some quality of life subcategories such as quality of accommodation, entertainment, local shops and markets, and making local friends.
While Qatar is the world's richest country per capita, is is a country in transition. Many residents enjoy amenities like housemaids and five-star airlines, but infrastructure is lacking and there's a big gap between the rich and poor.
Qatar also ranked low in HSBC's report for raising children abroad. Indeed, The Telegraph points out that many expats educate their children at home.
Here's a good option for our international readers.
The United States is still the land of opportunity for many foreigners, according to HSBC. It ranks first for local work culture, high for raising children, and high for quality of life. A high number of expats are able to buy a nicer car than they would at home and to own a home.
Expats in the U.S. give low scores, however, for satisfaction with the local economy.
'Don't move to an expat ghetto -- get involved with the local community and, if you have children, reach out beyond the community at your international school,' one expat tells HSBC.
Turkey is in the top tier for economic satisfaction, with tons of new jobs in banking, online startups, and other sectors. Expats enjoy a good quality of life too.
The downsides of Turkey include low scores for education and healthcare access as well as work environment. U.S. expats in particular should note that there have been violent attacks taking place throughout Turkey, and U.S. citizens are sometimes targeted for terrorism, according to the State Department.
'Do your research and pay a few visits to get to know the country before you move,' an expat tells HSBC.
The UAE continues to have lots of high-paying jobs for expats, who are typically young. The wealthy country provides good working environments and options for raising children. And then there are the world-famous hotels and shopping malls.
Still, the culture is vastly different from the West. Islamic traditions and ideals that make the country very conservative with strict rules of public conduct. Expats have trouble making local friends and integrating into the community -- though apparently things are getting better.
Belgium ranked highly in raising children abroad, scoring first place in subcategories for health and wellbeing and learning new language.
The country was about average for overall experience and economics categories but ranked low for sports and healthy diet -- unsurprising when you consider the beer, chocolate, and waffles.
Belgium is also relatively free of violent crime, though muggings and pick-pocketing are common in the country's larger cities.
Russia seems like a fun place to live, with high scores for entertainment, social life, fitting in, making friends, and more. It ranks next to last for healthy diet, however, perhaps due to the popularity of doughy foods and meats high in cholesterol.
The quality of childcare is decent but expensive.
In terms of economics, expats report relatively low income but high disposable income.
Canada beats its southern neighbour in expat economics and experiences. A 'staggering' 90% of expats report having a strong connection with the country compared to a worldwide average of 66%.
While expats feel slightly sour about their work environment, work-life balances, and social lives, they know their kids are doing well, with access to education and healthcare and quality of both high.
'Canada is a culturally diverse country. Be open, accepting, and tolerant of others but retain your individuality,' one expat tells HSBC.
'Australia offers expats such a great quality of life that they don't want to leave,' observes HSBC.
The big country down under scores high in assimilation, making local friends, weather, and other experiential aspects. These more than make up for the only decent economic scores and a few other downsides, like bad public transportation.
'Career-driven expats reap the employment benefits in Singapore, while parents say that the high quality of education and childcare justifies the costs,' observes HSBC.
Singapore ranked second for raising children abroad, with great childcare and education -- even if it is expensive. Notably, British education minister Michael Gove has suggested Britain adopt a similar system to Singapore's.
But to make it in Singapore you really do have to be career-driven, with the country scoring low for work-life balance and 53% of expats saying they worry about job security.
Germany is the best place in the world for expats to raise kids. The country also benefits from a stronger economy than most of Europe, with 87% of expats expressing satisfaction with the local economy compared to a 53% average in Europe.
Expats in Germany struggle, however, to deal with the high cost of living.
Surprised? While there certainly are downsides to living in this communist country -- such as mediocre scores for raising kids -- the positive factors are overwhelming.
China's booming economy ranks second in the world for expat economics. As one expat notes, there are 'good employment opportunities with less competition.
Expat quality of life ranks third, with a friendly local culture, good and healthy food, and the highest proportion anywhere of sports participation. There are tons of great places to explore in the country, not to mention the easily accessible Asian Pacific region. Expats have time to have fun too, with a fairly high score for work-life balance, and an 49% of expats say this aspect is getting better.
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