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Switzerland named 'world’s best destination for expats’

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Switzerland named 'world’s best destination for expats’
Photo: Zurich Tourism

Switzerland has been named the best place to live and work overseas in the latest HSBC Expat Explorer report. But there is a catch (or two).


The Alpine country offers “the complete expat package” with improved quality of life alongside excellent salaries and “swift career progression”, according to the report which ranks 33 countries globally and is based on interviews with just over 18,000 people in 163 locations.

Spain was ranked fourth in the overall rankings, for very different reasons. Germany was ranked eighth while France was 17th.

A total of 82 percent of survey respondents based in Switzerland said their life had improved since moving to the country while 67 percent of people said they felt safer in Switzerland than in their home country.

Read also: The REAL reasons why Switzerland is the best country in the world

There were also very high levels of satisfaction with the country’s political and economic stability.


Top for incomes

The HSBC Expat Explorer breaks down its findings into three different categories: ‘living’, ‘aspiring’ (which refers to finances and career prospects) and ‘little expats’ – or family life and education.

Switzerland ranks relatively highly in all three categories, coming seventh overall for living and fourth for children and family life.

But it is in the realm of incomes that the country excels. Expats, or immigrants as many foreigners prefer to be called, earn an average $111,587 in Switzerland, against a global average of $75,966, according to HSBC.

Read also: Revealed - How much foreign workers in Switzerland earn

That sees Switzerland score top for salaries, while it comes second for disposable incomes behind the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

However, Switzerland does less well on metrics such as career progression (15th place) and work–life balance, where it comes 16th.

The table below shows the overall ranking.

The Swiss paradox

The relatively low score for work-life balance among foreign employees in Switzerland highlights a paradox about the country’s ratings in the HSBC survey.

While Switzerland rates high for incomes and quality of life (second), it does not score well for “reaching potential” in one’s job (16th) or the lifestyle metric of “fulfilment”.

And, as in previous years, Switzerland continues to rate poorly in factors related to social life.

For “ease of settling in”, Switzerland comes a lowly 24th and Swiss society is also marked very low in terms of ‘cultural, open and welcoming communities’ where it finished 28th.

Singapore knocked off its perch

By taking the top spot in the latest HSBC ranking, Switzerland stripped serial top-place getter Singapore of its crown. Singapore moved down to second, Canada was third, Spain fourth and New Zealand fifth.

Read also: Three Swiss cities named Europe's priciest for foreign workers


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