Are you tired of your current environment? Looking for a new job? There are many reasons you might consider leaving your home country in search of greener pastures elsewhere as an expat; but choosing where to go can be a tough decision.
There are several factors to consider, from job opportunities and quality of life to healthcare and personal safety. The annual Expat Explorer survey conducted by HSBC is a good place to start – based on the views of real expats it ranks some of the best places to live according to key criteria such as quality of life, economics and career progression, and raising children abroad. You can adjust the rankings based on the factors that matter the most to you and your family.
To help make the decision easier for you, we've picked the top ten best expat destinations from the list for 2019…
10 Most Popular Expat Destinations You Must Consider in 2019
There's no doubt that life in Switzerland is good. Amidst the scenic Alps, the world-renowned chocolate and the first class skiing, it ranks number one in the Expat Explorer survey.
It might also excite you to know that the average income for expats in Switzerland is a whopping USD 144,748. However these high salaries are essential due to the expensive cost of living, from accommodation to eating out.
Another key reason for Switzerland's high ranking is its overall quality of life, largely thanks to its stunning scenery and abundance of outdoor activities. According to an expat blogger "there’s a lot to do in Switzerland: lakes for summer sports and mountains for winter sports. Their healthcare is fantastic, as well as public transport."
Its central location also makes Switzerland a great spot for European travel, with Germany, Italy, and France only a short train ride away. Perhaps this could be your next expat destination?
Ranking in second place is Singapore, one of the easiest countries to move to as an expat. According to one expat living in Singapore, “you can reside in the Far East and enjoy it, while still enjoying a home in the West."
Singapore came top for raising children thanks to its impressive education and childcare system, and gained second place for economics.
However you need to be career-driven to succeed in Singapore, with the country ranking low for work-life balance and with almost half of expats stating that work stress is relatively higher than at home.
If you’re the kind of expat that desires to be integrated into a new culture, then Canada could be a great destination for you.
Canada has an ambition to attract one million expats to live and work in the country by 2020 and has a very welcoming spirit, with 70% of expats stating that it’s easy to integrate into the local community.
However it can take longer to get settled in than other expat destinations. 56% of expats felt at home in less than a year, slightly lower than the global figure of 62%. More than half (55%) also said that getting used to the harsh weather is a big part of feeling at home in Canada, compared with only 43% of expats living elsewhere.
Spain has spent most of the past decade struggling with the financial crisis, so it's unsurprising that it ranks poorly in the Expat Explorer Survey for economics. However if creating a fortune is not your primary goal, Spain can be a fantastic place to live as an expat.
The country ranked first in the world for quality of life, second for raising children and third for work life balance. Excellent tapas and weather clearly come with their benefits!
Interestingly about 75% of expats in Spain have stayed in the country for at least five years, and the majority of them confirm that they stay because of the quality of life.
5. New Zealand
New Zealand is the world's second safest country in the world according to the 2017 Global Peace Index, and it also ranks as the least corrupt country on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index.
It's therefore not surprising that it ranks well in the Expat Explorer Survey, ranking highly for political stability as well as physical and mental well-being. In fact 60% of expats who relocate to New Zealand say they do so with the aim of improving their overall quality of life.
The Government of New Zealand also seems eager to recruit expats, with an enticing website for people planning to move to the country.
Neighboring Australia also offers expats a great place to live, ranking in third place for quality of life and second for physical and mental well-being.
Expats in Australia have a good work life balance alongside relatively high salaries, and its major cities have world class health and education systems, making it easy for expats to feel at home.
Turkey has much to offer expats, ranking at number one for its culture and welcoming communities. Following significant investment it now matches most developed countries in terms of living standards and infrastructure, with its relatively cheap cost of living making it a popular expat retirement destination.
Retiring expats generally move for the sun, sea and sand, heading to the Mediterranean coast and Aegean region. However the northern coastline is also gradually enticing foreign property buyers, although expat communities there are less well established.
Ranking in at number eight overall, with particularly strong ratings for its economic stability, job security and wage growth, is Germany. High living standards and efficient transport networks also mean that Germany scores well in terms of quality of life.
However expats in Germany did raise concern about the high cost of buying property. Other respondents said that whilst people in Germany generally speak English, you need to learn the local language in order to be able to truly feel at home.
9. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to attract young expats with high-paying jobs, ranking in at number one for disposable income and sixth for career progression.
This wealthy country also offers good accommodation and pleasant working environments, alongside world-famous shopping malls and hotels. However the culture can be unfamiliar for Western expats, with some struggling to adapt to the more conservative cultural practices.
Unsurprisingly Vietnam ranks highly for disposable income in the Expat Explorer Survey, but you might be surprised that it also ranks in the top ten for work life balance and reaching career potential.
Most expats say they were able to feel at home quickly after relocating, drawn in by the incredible food and rich history of the country. However many struggle to learn the complex local language, while other expats working in Vietnam note the importance of learning local customs and the concept of 'saving face' in order to succeed in a business environment.
In summary there are many places to choose from and your top expat destination will depend on whether you're seeking a good work life balance, career opportunities or a great place to raise a family. Your priorities may change with time and you may decide to move on again.
We hope this post helps you to consider some of the most popular expat destinations for 2019... Where will life take you next?