The best places for expats to live are dependent on many different factors: general quality of life, ease of settling in, personal finance, family life and of course the experience of working abroad.
Leading the 2014 HSBC Expat Explorer survey were Switzerland, Singapore, China, Germany, New Zealand and Thailand. Expats living in those countries at the time particularly found that open-mindedness and the willingness to choose a country with a significantly different culture to their own only boosted their experience. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience of new cultural traditions and were fully accepted into local communities, as well as just the expat community. All of these countries are vibrant places of world-class education with the opportunity to explore stunning natural landscapes.
Far Eastern countries such as China, Singapore and Thailand in particular have burgeoning economies with low costs of living. Expat jobs are often very well paid and plentiful leading to an extremely comfortable way of life.
Countries such as Switzerland or New Zealand, while cost of living might be higher, are supported by low crime rates, high quality healthcare and education. The stunning scenery that can be found in both countries also add to the draw; from the dramatic mountains to crystal clear waters, there’s something for everyone in both countries despite being half way around the world from each other.
As with any list of the best places, however, there are countries that sit firmly at the bottom: Greece, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. With the economic crisis that still firmly grips Greece, it’s no surprise that it’s last choice for most expats. Personal finance is a struggle as is finding employment in the first place. Saudi Arabia ranks poorly mainly on quality of life, and this is particularly true for female expats who face very different social status to their male counterparts. The culture is often a struggle for the majority of people to adjust to, although there are expats who thrive. For similar reasons Kuwait finds itself last in overall ranking: expats there find it very difficult to settle in with less than 10% feeling completely at home and able to integrate with the local community.
For expats, the middle east can be a tough area to relocate to, although there are still opportunities for enjoyment. It would appear, however, the best opportunities for total enjoyment and quality of life are found in the Far East. Business opportunities and economies are booming while cost of living is low, leading to a very comfortable and vibrant lifestyle.