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The best 5 countries to live and work in

Photo: Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash
Photo: Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash

Switzerland is the best country for those seeking a life abroad in 2019, research shows.

An survey of over 18,059 expatriates by HSBC Expat has revealed the top five countries for expatriates to live and work in this year, and after four consecutive years at the top, Singapore has been overtaken by the Swiss state.


Why? Four in five (82%) of those who moved to Switzerland said they have seen a huge improvement in their quality of life, with seven in 10 claiming the surroundings are cleaner and more pleasant than in their home country.

What’s more, average salaries for those who have relocated to Switzerland are $111,587 – far higher than the global figure of $75,966.

And in a year where almost half of those who have relocated for work say they are concerned about their country’s economy and half being uncertain about the local political climate, many find comfort in Switzerland’s independence.

The vast majority – an overwhelming 86% – of people who have moved there said they are happy with its political stability, while almost as many – 80% – are happy with its economic stability.

READ MORE: 5 affordable places to retire abroad


But Singapore – still the the second-best destination for expats – comes in top for families.

Three in five (62%) people who moved to Singapore with children said its schooling system is much better than in their home country.

And almost seven in 10 (69%) lauded their children’s ability to learn new language, thanks to the country’s bilingual education system, which sees all children taught in English while their mother tongues are taught separately.


Canada is the second most-welcoming country in the world to foreign visitors, behind just Turkey, HSBC found.

It is no surprise then, that 80% of respondents in Canada say the quality of life is better there than it was at home, compared with the global average of 65%. This welcoming atmosphere inspires a long-term approach.

READ MORE: Life after Brexit – what could happen if you work overseas


Up 10 places this year, visitors said Spain’s relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle provides the best quality of life in the world.

Few move to Spain with career progression in mind, but 67% saw an improvement to their work-life balance after moving there.

With a great lifestyle and plenty of time to enjoy it, Spain came out as the best country in the world for improving mental well-being.

New Zealand

A popular destination when it comes to new experiences away from work, 57% of people said they moved to New Zealand to improve their quality of life, while three in five stayed even longer than intended because of this improvement.

In fact, those who move to New Zealand are the most likely to stay in their new country for over 20 years, HSBC found.

READ MORE: Here are the five cheapest countries for retirees and how to financially prepare for the move

Top 10

Looking to the top 10, Australia, Turkey, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam also made the list.

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