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It’s a perennial argument; what is the best country in the world for expats?
Over the years there have been a number of surveys published and methodologies published.
However none have quite the scope and gravitas of the Expat Explorer survey from HSBC which includes detailed responses from over 20,000 expats living around the world.
This year’s edition of the survey includes more respondents – and therefore more accurate data – than ever before. Furthermore it paints a fascinating and unbiased view of the expat world.
As mentioned elsewhere on the Expatriate Healthcare blog, Switzerland – this year’s number ten – shocked journalists and expats around the world after falling from last year’s top spot.
Sweden, perhaps not as well-known as an expat destination when compared to areas such as Australia or the UAE, puts on an impressive show at position number three, just beaten by New Zealand at number two.
However it is this year’s winner which is so notable; as of 2015 Singapore is considered the top destination in the world for expats.
For one, Singapore is considered one of the cleanest and safest places in the world. This makes it not just a pleasure to visit alone; it also helps to make Singapore quite a family-friendly destination.
Further underlining Singapore’s appeal to expat families are the high quality of child care and education on offer, even if these are generally deemed by expats to be exorbitantly expensive. It is for this reason that Singapore ranked #3 in the “Family” category.
Then there’s the people. Expats responding to this year’s survey wax lyrical about how easy it is to integrate into the local community and to make friends. There are also activities aplenty for visitors of all ages and a very active social scene.
Combine these factors with a rapidly-growing economy (leading to generous salaries) and one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world and it starts to become clear why so many expats in Singapore are impressed. This is all rounded off by a pleasant (if humid) climate and political stability.
So what are the downsides of Singapore, according to the survey results?
For one thing, purchasing or owning a car can be expensive, and parking can be a nightmare at the best of times. Surprising then that this reality didn’t negatively impact Singapore’s overall ranking.
The reason is simple enough; Singapore boasts an impressive public transport network which is clean, reliable and reasonably-priced. For this reason Singaporeans and expats alike rarely have problems getting about on public transport, which largely makes car ownership unnecessary.
Indeed if there is a chink in Singapore’s armour it is simply that the work:life balance here doesn’t always live up to expectations. Expats in Singapore may be well compensated for their efforts, but they’re expected to work long hours in exchange. For obvious reasons this can sometimes impact free time, limiting family days out or simply time to decompress.
All in all, though, this seems to be a small price to pay for living in one of the most vibrant and welcoming expat destinations in the world.
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