Switzerland ranks as the best place in the world for expats to live

Switzerland ranks as the best place in the world for expats to live

In their 14th annual Expat Explorer Survey, HSBC have awarded Switzerland the top spot as the best place in the world for expats to live and work, with the alpine nation scoring highly for quality of life and high levels of aspiration when it comes to jobs

The survey rated expat living, aspiring and future outlook

The survey, which focuses on the quality of expat life, aspirations and future outlook, ranked Switzerland 1st for both living and aspiring, and 5th for their optimism for the future, giving it 1st place in the overall ranking. 

HSBC is the second largest bank in Europe and thus focuses much of its expat-related research on the financial aspects of moving abroad. According to their study, around 9 percent of expats seek help from a financial advisor as part of their moving process and 60 percent of expats surveyed ranked saving for retirement as one of their top three goals.

Unlike in previous survey years, this year’s poll also asked its respondents about their feelings on expat life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that 75 percent of expats in Switzerland are optimistic that “normality” will return.

Expats in Europe praise regional “stability” 

Almost half of expats who were surveyed recommend living in Europe for its stability, while the most optimistic expats can be found living in New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan.

The region with the highest rankings for quality of life overall was that of the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, with 71 percent of expats recommending it as a place to move to. The weather is certainly not the only pull factor for expats heading to this region - as children were also noted as a key factor in the region's expat lifestyle. The UAE, Qatar and Bahrain were praised for teaching expat children greater openness to new cultures, while India and the Philippines were noted as some of the best places for expat children to make new friends. 

The top three countries in the overall ranking, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand, also ranked the highest in terms of expat wellbeing, although expats in New Zealand scored considerably lower than the others when it came to aspirations. 

HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2021

The top 10 countries in the 2021 survey are:

  • 1. Switzerland
  • 2. Australia
  • 3. New Zealand
  • 4. United Arab Emirates
  • 5. Guernsey
  • 6. Jersey
  • 7. Isle of Man 
  • 8. Bahrain
  • 9. Singapore
  • 10. Qatar

For the full ranking and more information on how the survey was carried out, see the HSBC website.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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