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Want to move abroad? Here’s a list of expat-friendly countries

Posted on February 11, 2012
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If you are looking for a change, and have been considering to move oversees, this HSBC survey can help you find the best foreign country to live and work in.

HSBC Bank’s Expat Navigator surveyed 3,385 expats from 31 countries and they use the results to rank each country by a variety of different criteria – economy, experience and raising children.

Here’s a list of the top 10 countries:


Thailand has a very diverse expat community, which includes retirees, executive managers, students, teachers and business owners.

The cost of living in Thailand is cheaper than many other countries across the world. Naturally, people are attracted to the lifestyle here, which is relaxed and haasle-free.


egypt sphinxEgypt makes for a different kind of expat destination; as it is usually curiosity or love that draws expats to stay rather than financial promise or luxury living.

However, the nation does have its business incentives, but it isn’t an internationally recognised industrial centre. Entrepreneurs can find new emerging markets and opportunities as the country is actively promoting itself on a global front.

Saudi Arabia

Expats in Saudi Arabia enjoy attractive salary packages and substantially high disposable income. This is mainly because the salaries here are non-taxabale.

Most expats live in Jeddah and Riyadh both of which have the full range of western amenities, from Starbucks to Toys “R” Us, a wide range of accommodation, and the majority of Saudi Arabia’s employers.

Working and living in Saudi Arabia is best treated as an adventure and new life experience.


Singapore is a high-paying, high-earning location, where expats also benefit from lower levels of taxation. However, one setback about Singapore is that the cost of living is quite high.

Having said that, Singapore offers a unique living experience and it is the most cosmopolitan countries, amid a fascinating mix of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western cultures.

Singapore is also an excellent place for expatriates with children, as it is safe and child-friendly, boasts of highly reputable international schools.


Salaries in Switzerland are among the highest in the world, and the quality of living is on par. In fact, a study by Credit Suisse even designated Zurich as the city affording workers the highest wages across the globe – with Geneva a close second.

Furthermore, everything is efficient, the infrastructure is designed for the general welfare of the people, and public spaces are incredibly beautiful and well-maintained.


Living in Mexico has long been popular with those who live north of the border. The country boasts beautiful beaches, fascinating attractions, friendly locals, an all year round good climate, low cost of living and overall a good quality of life.

Mexico boasts one of the strongest economies in Latin America and also has a very strong trade agreement with the US.


The Philippines is an English-speaking country in Asia where foreigners and expats are admired and respected.

The people of the Philippines adore expats. Most expats feel that they have become addicted to the smile, laughter, and sunshine from Filipinos making living in the Philippines a wonderful experience.


blankExpats moving to Japan with an open mind will find themselves immersed in the wonderful idiosyncrasies of Japanese culture, and empowered by the opportunity for adventure.

Also, working in Japan can be quite lucrative for expats; and many will find that despite the nation’s reputation as one of the most expensive countries in the world, competitive markets have made for good deals and negotiable costs of living as of late.

Expats moving to Japan will be relieved to learn that it is an extremely safe country with very little crime, making for a unique sense of peace of mind for expats living here.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong of course is one of the words most important financial centers and many expats living there are involved in the financial industry, drawing salaries commensurate with the cost of living.

Food here is great and plentiful, and perhaps one of the more affordable pleasures to be had.

As for entertainment, this is definitely an alpha city, offering the best of Eastern and Western culture.

Lastly, if you are transferred to HK or are already there, this is Hong Kong’s time in the lime light. Enjoy while it lasts.


Malaysia is one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to live in Southeast Asia. There is a steady flow of expats moving to Malaysia, a South East Asian state with a long history of colonisation and immigration.

With one of the best-performing and most stable economies in Asia, the country has done really well. Moving to Malaysia, you will find an open, newly industrialised market economy.


blankThough India’s per capita income is estimated to grow above Rs 60,000 per annum or over Rs 5,000 per month, it is ranked at 135 when compared to other nations.

Per capita income is the earnings of each person if the national income is evenly divided among the country’s population.

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