Expats Best Places To Live Are Not Where You Think

Expats have voted for the countries where they enjoy the happiest lives – and the results show some emerging expat nations.

Singapore tops the NatWest Quality of Life Index for the first time, while China and Hong Kong grab places in the top five, pushing traditional favourites such as Australia and Canada further down the table.

The bank explained that an influx of British expats had increased by around a third for each country.

Another change detected in the survey was expats moving for life are declining in favour of professionals seeking work and tax-free salaries.

The reason why expats are moving overseas has undergone a dramatic shift, explained the report.

Lifers and professionals

The top 12 expat destinations where expats expressed they were happiest, better off financially and enjoying a better lifestyle are:

  • Singapore
  • United Arab Emirates
  • China
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • USA
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Spain

Although expats love living in Singapore, with more than 80% agreeing their health, wealth and lifestyle had all improved, only 9% intend to stay on once their contracts have ended.

Expats comprise almost 40% of the expat population in Singapore, drawn by attractive government tax and immigration policies to encourage them to move to the city state.

Changing expat lifestyle

Eight years ago lifers accounted for 67% of the expat community and professional temporary expats 11%.

In 2015, the level of lifers had fallen to 28%, while more temporary expats are moving overseas due to an increasing demand for professional skills in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific. They now number 54% of all expats.

Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking, said: “Career expats have plenty of professional financial benefits in Singapore as well as beautiful surroundings.

“While places like Australia and Canada are still attracting plenty of expats, other places are rated higher by those moving for work and money.”

The United Arab Emirates also ranks highly with expat professionals, drawn to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The balance is expected to shift even more with less people moving abroad for lifestyle reasons and international careers becoming more popular with the younger generation.