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Singapore is best destination in Asia for expatriates

It may be one of the most expensive cities in Asia, but that hasn't discouraged expatriates from loving and staying in Singapore, it appears.

According to HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey, Singapore ranked as the number one country expatriates wanted to live in Asia, and second in the world. The survey ranked Switzerland as the ultimate destination globally for expats.

Following Singapore, China was named in third place, followed by Germany and Bahrain.

This ranking is released at the same time a Lonely Planet report named Singapore as the top country to visit in 2015, putting a real global spotlight on the tiny island nation.

So, why is Singapore gaining so much attention? The HSBC survey highlighted the majority of expatriates moved to Singapore for better job prospects mostly (60%). Respondents were also satisfied with the state of the Singaporean economy (88%) and most stated they have greater levels of disposable income since moving to the country (64% compared with the global average of 53%).

Nearly six in ten expatriates in Singapore also associated the country with higher salaries and lower taxes (both 56%), while 78% of expats were also cited as being employed full-time (compared with the global average of 58%).

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“For expats looking for an improved quality of life and greater economic opportunities, Singapore is the place to go,” the report stated.

“Getting set up in Singapore is a relatively simple process for new expats. Just over two-thirds (67%) say it was easy to organise their finances when relocating and three-quarters say they had little difficulty in setting up their utilities (76% compared with a global average of 56%).”

Most also said they found it easy to fit in with Singaporean culture (71%), with 73% saying they found the weather easy to get used to and 88% saying they quickly got used to traveling around the local area.

However, higher incomes and better quality of life still doesn't do much to help the high cost of living and the expensive nature of living in the country.

More than three-quarters of expats paid more for their accommodation than they did at home (77%), significantly higher than the global average of 52%. Most stated they also spend more on going out (67%), groceries (63%), healthcare (58%) and utilities (53%) than before they moved to the country.

This is in line with another study which found only half of respondents set aside 10% or more towards long-term savings.

“This theme carries on when expats discuss raising children in Singapore, with 87% saying it is more expensive to do so than at home. Well over three-quarters of those paying for their children’s education find it more expensive than educating them at home (83%),” the report stated.

Image: Shutterstock

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