Singapore tops expat league table while UK flounders

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The UK fell 13 places from its 2016 ranking to 35th for its overall appeal for expats

Singapore has been named as the overall best destination for expats for the third successive year, by the 10th annual HSBC Expat Explorer survey.

The survey takes into account economics, experience and family life. Norway and New Zealand took the second and third spots respectively for best destination overall, while New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland were named best respectively for experience, family life and confidence in the local economy and political stability.

The annual survey this year collated responses from 27,587 expats in 159 countries.

Hot on the heels of Switzerland in the economics league table were Norway and Germany in second and third spot, while second and third in the experience league table were Spain and Portugal, with Sweden and Singapore runners up on family life.

Unlike many of its European neighbours who scored in the top 10 and 20, the UK fell 13 places from its 2016 ranking to 35th for overall appeal and 25th, 34th and 38th for economics, experience and family life respectively. According to the report, the UK has been hit by a 20 percentage point drop in confidence in the economy and a 22 percentage point drop in the country’s political stability.

On a more positive note, 68% of respondents said the UK was good for career progression compared to a 54% global average. Meanwhile 56% said earning prospects were better in the UK compared to 50% globally.

The survey revealed that many find becoming an expat improves their life, with 41% reporting a more positive outlook and 44% becoming more physically active. Meanwhile income will typically increase by around 25%, with average earnings of those living abroad around $100,000 (£74,690).

Head of HSBC Expat, Dean Blackburn said he was constantly amazed by the diversity in the expat community. “From young entrepreneurs and career climbers to families looking for a fresh adventure, there is a destination out there to suit everyone,” he said.

“Singapore has been rated the number one destination by expats for the last three years, offering economic stability, a great quality of life and a safe environment for families. The rise of countries like Norway, Germany and the Netherlands up the table this year shows how quickly destinations can become expat hot spots."

He highlighted, however, that becoming an expat was not without its challenges. “Living across international borders can make securing their financial wellbeing harder. Whatever their priorities are, financial planning can help [expats] get there.”

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