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The most expensive destinations for employers to relocate employees globally

The most expensive destinations for employers to relocate employees globally


Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan top the rankings for Asia, while the UK remains first globally with an average expatriate salary and benefits package amounting to USD 441,608 in 2022.

According to findings from the latest annual MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey by ECA International, expatriate salary and benefits packages in Singapore increased by 4% in 2022 in USD terms, pushing they city-state up six places to 16th in the rankings of the most expensive places to employ expatriates globally. 

Per the survey, companies consider three main elements when assessing the cost of an expatriate package - cash salary; benefits including accommodation, international schools, utilities, or cars; and tax. As such, data of pay levels for expatriates was covered for over 340 companies over 140 markets.

Regional Director of Asia at ECA International, Lee Quane, noted that Singapore's increase in expatriate salary and benefits package is due to rising costs of accommodations for both locals and expats as seen from a 9% increase in the cost of benefits in expatriate packages in USD terms.

Notably, only the fact that salaries fell by US$4,000 prevented Singapore from moving up the rankings further. He added that the total salary and benefits packages for expatriates in Singapore rose by 4% to US$258,762 in 2022.

Asia highlights

Compared to 2022, most expatriate incomes in the region decreased this year, resulting in a drop in the overall cost of pay and benefits in more than half of the locations when measured in USD terms. Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan are among the markets witnessing this drop.

Despite a 2% decline from 2021, Hong Kong has risen three places to become the world's fifth most expensive expatriate pay and benefits package in 2022. A typical expatriate package in Hong Kong now costs US$278,020 in total, with salary and benefits expenditures reducing by US$2,400 and US$1,600, respectively.

Similar to the previous year, Malaysia has the lowest salary and benefits package in the region, as total package costs decreased by 4% to US$164,696 and wage costs decreased by 6%.

China maintained its position as the region's third-highest expatriate package provider, after Japan and India, and placed fourth globally. However, in 2022, expatriate salaries in China fell by 5% in USD terms. “The yuan strengthened against most major currencies compared to 2021, and as many expatriates are paid some or all of their salary in other currencies, this caused the average expat salary in yuan to fall,” Quane explained.

Japan retained its rank of the second highest expatriate packages offered, with a 5% increase in local currency terms. However, because of the weak Japanese yen, the cost of salary, benefits, and taxes all reduced by double-digit percentages in USD terms. Thus, the total package is 12% cheaper than the year before, at US$370,183.

olive jul 2023 eca

Global highlights

At the top of the list, the UK remains the most expensive destination for expatriates, with the average expatriate salary and benefits package amounting to US$441,608 in 2022, similar to last year. Furthermore, employee benefits have risen by 4% to US$167,594, with compensation accounting for less than a fifth of the whole package.

Meanwhile, the US dollar's strength has moved the country up seven spots in the rankings, into the global top ten. Despite a minor decrease in pay, the overall cost of the package has increased by 6% to US$272,770.olive jul 2023 eca global

Lead image / Shutterstock 
All other graphics / ECA International

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