Singapore loses top spot to Switzerland as best place for expats – but remains most attractive to people with families

Singapore may have been edged out by Switzerland but the city state remains the best destination for expats relocating with their families.
The Straits Times

After a four-year reign, Singapore has been dethroned by Switzerland as the best place in the world for expats to live and work in, but the island nation continues to shine as the most ideal for those moving in with families, a survey has shown.

For the first time, Switzerland claimed the top spot in the 12th edition of HSBC’s Expat’s Annual League Table of Best Places to Live and Work 2019, after rising through the ranks by seven places. The ranking released on Thursday (July 4) saw Singapore drop to the second position.

New Zealand, which had consistently trailed behind Singapore as the first runner-up, slid to fifth place this year after being overtaken by Canada and Spain.

HSBC Bank (Singapore)

HSBC said Switzerland’s quality of life, highly competitive salaries and “stunning” surroundings were the factors that propelled the country to the top.

Nonetheless, Singapore continues to be the best destination for expats relocating with children, thanks to the nation’s reputable education system, job stability and opportunities, as well as quality of life offered.

Singapore also remains the only Asian city state ranked among the top three and is ahead of key international markets such as Australia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

HSBC Singapore’s head of wealth and international, Ian Yim, said: “In 2018, we pointed out that other countries have started to up their game in their pursuit to attract the highest calibre of international talent, and Switzerland’s rapid ascent is a clear example of this.”

“Nevertheless, our study shows that Singapore remains an attractive destination for expats especially if they are looking to build a long-term career while raising a family,” Yim added.

Safe environment and quality education system

What makes Singapore so appealing to expats, according to the survey, is its safety and clean environment.

85 per cent of expats said they “feel safer and more secure” in Singapore and appreciate its “very clean and safe public spaces”. HSBC noted that Singapore’s score for these factors were “significantly higher” than the global average of 48 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.

Singapore also performed better than the global average when it came to the education system, with expats describing it as “excellent” (47 per cent vs. 26 per cent global average). The country was also said to be “a good place to raise children” (54 per cent vs. 28 per cent global average).

More than three in five expats (62 per cent) also agreed that the quality of education their children receive in Singapore is better than that of their home country. This score is nearly double the global average of 36 per cent.

Singapore’s “excellent” education system is one of the biggest draws to expats looking to relocate with their children.
The Straits Times

Furthermore, expats in Singapore said there were many benefits to raising children here, including fluency in more than one language (69 per cent vs. 68 per cent global average), better quality of education (50 per cent vs. 32 per cent global average) and openness to new experiences and cultures (74 per cent vs. 72 per cent global average).

Yim said the bank’s research has shown that internationally mobile people search for places that best fit their priorities, goals and objectives, adding that Singapore tops the “Little Expat league table” which examines expats’ attitudes and opinions about family life in their adopted city.

“[The] Singapore government’s ongoing focus on getting its fundamentals right in staying ahead and intensifying competition globally will ensure it remains an attractive destination for expats in the years to come,” he said.

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