Lonely Planet Writer

Looking to make a big move? A new survey reveals the best destinations for expats

A new survey questioned nearly 27,000 people living abroad in 190 countries and territories to reveal the best countries in the world for people to move to.

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Singapore with its beautiful Marina Bay has been named one of the best destinations for expats. Image by seng chye teo/Getty Images

The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey is carried out every year and examines the expat realities of economics, family and experience. It then combines the replies to form a league table of the best destinations for expats. Singapore claimed the top spot on the table for the second year in a row while Norway and Austria were both new additions to the league this year.

1 – Singapore

2 – New Zealand

3 – Canada

4 – Czech Republic

5 – Switzerland

6 – Norway

7 – Austria

8 – Sweden

9 – Bahrain

10 – Germany

However, the survey also broke down the countries in terms of different priorities. With a combination of generous childcare benefits and high-quality early years education, Sweden was the top choice for expats with families, with 69% saying their children’s health and wellbeing are better since the move.

People dancing around Midsummer pole in Sweden. The country was named one of the best destinations for expats with children.
People dancing around Midsummer pole in Sweden. The country was named one of the best destinations for expats with children.

For those wanting to make a move to further their career, the survey advises them to look to New York or London, where the majority of respondents find their work more fulfilling than in their home country. If you want to make money for that retirement nest egg, Dubai, Hong Kong and Zurich came out top for high-earners. In fact, a whopping 44% of Zurich respondents earn a gross annual salary of at least US$200,000, compared to 11% globally. If you’re looking for a real taste of the local life, consider Paris, where 88% of expats are learning and using the local language or Sydney, where 77% of people believe they’re integrating well with the locals and their culture.

Paris comes out top for learning the language.
Paris comes out top for learning the language. Image by ©Hung Chung Chih/Shutterstock

With the range of opportunities on offer from cities around the globe, it’s no surprise that most people are reporting a positive experience. As well as a myriad of economic, cultural and educational benefits, 52% of expats globally say their quality of life has improved since moving.

The survey concludes that there’s a perfect city for every expat, no matter what you’re looking for. You can explore the full league table and report here.