Switzerland top destination for expats, Singapore right behind: Poll

Switzerland is the world's favourite destination among expats, followed by Singapore, a poll on quality of life found.

LONDON - Switzerland is the world's favourite destination among expats, followed by Singapore and China, a poll on quality of life for bank HSBC found on Wednesday.

"Many Switzerland-based expats mentioned the better work-life balance, availability of outdoor activities and the family-centric culture as the reasons they enjoy the Swiss lifestyle," the British bank said.

The poll questioned 9,300 people working in various sectors and mostly aged between 35 and 54.

They were asked about their financial situation, such as salary, savings and the local economy, as well as their quality of life and family issues such as education opportunities for children.

Switzerland emerged the winner, with a trusted economy, good quality of life and comfortable salaries: a quarter of expats said they earned more than US$200,000 (S$254,000) a year.

Asia was a strong region for salaries, with an average annual expat wage of US$120,000, compared with a global average of US$92,000.

Singapore "performs solidly in all areas accounting for quality of life" while offering good economic opportunities, the survey said.

Meanwhile, China was a top country for high-earners, with one in four of respondents there earning more than US$300,000 a year, and having more disposable income to spend on their social lives.

Other top-ranked countries were Germany, seen as stable and safe, followed by Bahrain, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong.

The lowest-ranked of the 34 countries was Egypt, followed by the United Kingdom and Brazil.

While expats said that Britain was easy to integrate into, it scored badly as a place to raise children, for financial and economic issues and for quality of life.