It’s official: these are the best places to live and work abroad

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Kayleigh Dray
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Fancy starting a new career overseas? These are the best countries to do it in…

If you’ve dreamed about spreading your wings and flying overseas to start a new career, then you’re not alone: indeed, as a no-deal Brexit draws ever closer, more people than ever have been googling how (and where) to get a job abroad.

But, if you’re planning to give in to your wanderlust and travel the world, than you may want to think carefully about your destination.

From taxes, to wages, to work-life balance, there’s plenty to take into account when making your decision.

And now HSBC have made things a little easier with a brand-new report, which has unveiled the best places in the world to live if you’re a foreigner.

They asked people to judge their new homeland based on how quickly they’d been able to settle in and integrate with the locals, how the move had benefited their finances, and how much it had improved their family’s lives.

The winner was, overwhelmingly, Singapore.

According to the report, Singapore packs everything a budding expat could want into one of the world’s smallest territories, ranking 3rd for economics, 5th for families and 6th for experience. Indeed, almost two-thirds of people living abroad in Singapore told HSBC that their overall quality of life had improved after moving there, with many seeing their earnings increase by 29% – and saving more as a result.

With a five and a half day working week common practice, just under a third of those polled (29%) say their work life balance is worse than it was at home.

Nevertheless, Singapore’s work-hard play-hard culture has its new inhabitants singing its praises, as they throw themselves into the social scene. Almost all (95%) of those asked in Singapore consider locals to be part of their social circle and 69 per cent settle in less than a year. The Lion City inspires more than just friendship, too. Whether it’s the awe-inspiring vertical gardens or seafront theatre, just under half (45%) find lasting love in the city.

New Zealand, Canada, and Germany also made it into the top five, with many praising the countries for their friendly and welcoming locals; they were said to be some of the best and easiest countries to make yourselves at home in – not to mention some of the best for good work-life balance.

The survey also favoured Bahrain, with many insisting it is an economic powerhouse. Just under half (45%) of those surveyed moved there to improve their earnings and they aren’t disappointed, with 48% reporting their income is at least 50% higher than it is in the UK.

John Goddard, Head of HSBC Expat, tells “There are many reasons to move overseas, such as career progression, a better life for your family or just to embark on a new adventure. One thing is clear, those who do take the leap enjoy a world of different experiences, gaining new skills and learning about themselves along the way.

“Attracting the most vibrant international talent around is vital for any modern economy and Singapore is leading the charge again this year. Combining outstanding financial benefits, a bustling culture and top-class education system, Singapore is reaping the rewards of being the world’s most sought-after expat experience.

“Making that first step abroad requires courage but the rewards are well worth it. If you are thinking of taking the plunge into a new life, there is a lot to consider, whether it’s your visa, bank account or where you are going to live. Planning is key so that you can focus on what really matters - meeting new people, discovering a new country and finding a new perspective.”

The best places to live and work abroad

  1. Singapore (best overall)
  2. New Zealand (the answer to better health and wellbeing)
  3. Germany (offers time out to prevent burn out)
  4. Canada (best chance to become a local)
  5. Bahrain (the economic challenger)

Image: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.