Why the world’s expats just dumped Australia out of their top 10 global destinations

Bondi Beach. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Australia has quietly dropped out of the world’s top 10 places to be an expatriate.

The way of life, the sun and the beaches ares still attractive but Australia just isn’t seen as THE spot to go to improve career prospects.

Singapore is top of the heap for living the expat live. It’s so good that the country is draining away Australians to work there.

HSBC’s latest annual global Expat Explorer report shows 57% of expats originally chose to move to Australia for a better quality of life.

And when they taste that life, nearly two-thirds of expats in Australia confirm the quality of life is better than in their home country.

However, Australia has dropped out of the top 10 list of countries for expats, as this table shows:

Source: HSBC

Australia now ranks 11th behind Singapore — the expat haven — and even New Zealand and the Czech Republic are preferred.

Singapore is significantly ahead of Australia in career, finance and family opportunities.

A total of 62% of expats in Singapore say living in the country improved their career progression compared with just 46% of expats in Australia.

Earning prospects and employee benefits are also significantly more attractive in Singapore, with 63% getting paid more than in their home countries compared to 48% in Australia.

The employee benefits packages are highly rated (72%) in Singapore compared to 25% of expats in Australia.

Other research indicates expatriates find they have a better work-life balance in Australia compared to their home countries

However, the HSBC study shows Australians are among those moving to Singapore, with more than 20,000 now calling it home, compared to just over 2,000 in 2001.

This number could rise further, with recent enhancements to the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement making it easier for Australian lawyers, accountants, tech developers and engineers to build their careers.

People flows between Singapore and Australia aren’t all one-sided. Separate research from HSBC shows Australia is the most desirable country for Singaporean parents to send their children to study.

“The fact that 66% of Singaporean parents want to send their children here to study is a great opportunity for Australia to strengthen its relationship with Singapore and boost our education exports within the region,” says Graham Heunis, HSBC’s Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management.

There are lessons Australia can learn from Singapore, according to Heunis.

“Singapore regularly ranks as one the best places in the world to do business,” he says.

“It has had a clear strategy to support businesses to grow with government grants and investments, and very low corporate and income tax rates.

“This strategy is why they have been able to go from paddy fields to a world-leading economy in under 50 years and still continue to attract the very best talent in the world.”

HSBC’s global Expat Explorer report surveyed nearly 27,000 expats in 190 countries.