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The cities East Asian expatriates love to relocate to: Singapore, Brisbane, Sydney

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Singapore has featured at the top of ECA International’s liveability rankings for East Asian expatriates every year since 2005, and this year is no different. What is vastly different however, is that Hong Kong has tumbled 52 places and is now the 93rd most liveable location for expats relocating from East Asia.

These were the key findings of the latest Location Ratings survey, which also found that major Asian capitals such as Seoul and Taipei have since overtaken Hong Kong as a result.

Talking about Singapore’s consistent #1 position, Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International, said: “Singapore boasts an excellent infrastructure and amenities across the board, maintains a low crime rate and has a large expatriate community as well.

“These aspects attribute to Singapore’s prime spot in the rankings, and the country will most likely continue to hold the top position in the considerable future.”

Top 20 most liveable locations for East Asian expatriates
(please note that the rankings are not numbered 1-20 as there are several spots taken up by multiple cities):

1. Singapore, Singapore
2. Brisbane, Australia
3. Sydney, Australia | Nagoya, Japan | Osaka, Japan | Tokyo, Japan
7. Adelaide, Australia | Wellington, New Zealand
9. Copenhagen, Denmark | Yokohama, Japan
11. Utrecht, Netherlands
12. Canberra, Australia | Eindhoven, Netherlands | Auckland, New Zealand | Bern, Switzerland
16. Perth, Australia | Amsterdam, Netherlands | The Hague, Netherlands | Stavanger, Norway | Geneva, Switzerland

As evident from the above, Copenhagen is a preferred location for East Asian expats who want to move outside of the APAC region. Quane explains: “Copenhagen, in particular, is once again the top European destination for East Asian expatriates. Excellent transport links, coupled with a high standard of healthcare and political stability, mean that overseas workers can adapt to these locations with ease.”

ECA’s Location Ratings system evaluates cities on the basis of factors such as climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; natural phenomena; isolation; and more.

Quane talked about such factors impacting Hong Kong’s position in the ranking: “Not only are the heightened political tensions worrying for expatriates living in the region, the protests that have regularly taken place since mid-2019 have had a negative effect on areas of everyday life, which are often taken for granted. This includes disruptions to Hong Kong’s transportation infrastructure and an increase in crime rates since the protests began.”

In contrast, Thai and Vietnamese cities all saw significant improvements to their score and rose in the liveability rankings as a result. “As Vietnam develops and invests in better infrastructure, living standards have improved for locals and expatriates in the country.

“As for the Thai locations in our list, the success of the recent peaceful democratic elections implies that cities in the country have seen an improvement in the political situation as well – something that inevitably improves liveability levels for expatriates,” explained Quane.

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