Thailand Top for Expats Without Kids
Posted on May 31, 2012
It is no surprise that Singapore and Hong Kong are top destinations for expatriates – but young professionals without kids in tow looking to relocate may want to try Thailand instead.
According to the 2011 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, Thailand ranks as the top destination in the world for expats if raising children does not factor into the equation – beating out other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia (seventh) and Singapore (third) and other popular expatriate locations like Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Thailand excelled in particular when it came to the expatriate “experience,” ranked first out of 31 countries popular with foreign residents. According to the survey – which polled almost 3,400 expats from more than 100 countries on their experiences living and working overseas – it is easiest to find accommodation and to organize health care in the country, which also offers one of the best working environments in the world, a healthy work-life balance, and bigger, more attractive homes.
The Philippines, too, ranks highly as a destination for expats without children, and unsurprisingly is the easiest place in the world to hire a domestic helper. Many expatriates in the Philippines also own more than one property, according to those polled, often with a swimming pool. The country takes the prize for being the most friendly toward expatriates, and making them feel most welcome at work.
Singapore, however, remains top in Asia for something else – expat salary packages and finances. Expatriates living and working in Singapore earn the most in the region and the second-highest in the world, with more than half of those surveyed by HSBC earning more than US$200,000.
The city-state’s reputation as a haven with relatively low taxes has also served it well in terms of desirability for expatriates, with 84% of those polled saying they spend less on taxes since relocating from their countries of origin. Singapore’s light tax burden on wealthy expatriates in particular – with no capital gains tax, and low income-tax rates – have in part been credited for the slew of high-net worth individuals flocking to its shores, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
The city-state also provides many expatriates with better career opportunities, with 65% of those survey respondents saying it offers better job prospects than their home countries. More than half of those polled said they believe Singapore’s economy has improved in the past year.
Hong Kong holds similar promise, with 73% of people surveyed saying it offers better career and income prospects than their home countries, and crucially higher salaries.
Saudi Arabia emerged as the county where expatriates are the richest and have the highest level of disposable income. Those polled cited the country’s strong economy – which they believe will stay resilient despite troubles in Europe – as one of its biggest draws.
The study found overall that expatriate wealth is focused eastward, as countries like Switzerland and the United Kingdom lose their luster for career-minded professionals looking to relocate in search of better prospects and a higher quality of life. Only 39% of expatriates in the U.K., for example, said they believe the country to be strong, with just 7% saying the main benefit of their relocation was increased financial wealth.
30 May 2012