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Attitudes to foreigners 'hurt Swiss reputation'

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Attitudes to foreigners 'hurt Swiss reputation'
Graphic from report for "best and worst places for expats". Image: InterNations.
22:05 CEST+02:00
Switzerland's quality of life is rated the highest in the world, according to a new global survey of expats, but the Alpine country ranks behind Ecuador, Luxembourg and Mexico in overall appeal as a place to live for expatriates.

The survey by InterNations, an online network,  found that expats surveyed in Switzerland gave the country top marks for travel, transport, health, safety and personal wellbeing.

More than three out of four (76 percent) of respondents said they regarded Swiss transport infrastructure as excellent, two and half times the global average of 31 percent.

And Switzerland also scored high for being peaceful (83 percent), compared to a worldwide average of 40 percent.

But the country’s reputation was dragged down by the “attitudes and friendliness of the locals toward foreign residents”, InterNations said in its Expat Insider 2014 report.

“Only about one in three participants (31 percent) is happy with the Swiss’ friendliness towards foreigners,” the report said, noting that this is noticeably less than the global average of one in two.

The survey found that almost six out of 10 expats in Switzerland have difficulty making friends.

And 63 percent regard the country’s cost of living negatively.

By contrast, most expats surveyed in Ecuador said they were pleased with their financial situation, while it ranked highest for ease of making friends and personal happiness.

Overall, the report found that more than nine out of ten expats said they were satisfied with their life in Ecuador.

Luxembourg ranked second overall in appeal for expats, in part because of the ease of finding work there, while third-ranked Mexico scored well because of its high ranking for “ease of settling in”.

The survey of expats showed respondents viewed Greece, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as the worst places for expats to live.

The results are based on a survey in June of 13,851 expats of 165 nationalities living in 169 countries.

Expats were asked about such issues as quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life and personal life, in addition to the question, "how satisfied are you with life abroad in general?".

For more details about the report, click here.

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