HSBC survey finds Ireland is 27th best country for ex-patriates, while UK is 22nd, sandwiched between France and Belgium
The United Kingdom is among the top 25 countries in the world for expats to live in according to research conducted by a leading bank. The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey for 2016 ranked Britain in 22nd place – sandwiched between France and Belgium.
The study looked at a number of factors, sorting them into three main groups under the headings of ‘economics’, ‘experience’ and ‘family’. Strong career progression opportunities, good integration and high tolerance levels were the main positives of the UK’s assessment. However, it was let down by a perceived lack of social life, a poor attitude towards health and lack of disposable incomes.
On HSBC’s ‘Hints and Tips’ section for Britain, one expat originally from Bulgaria commented: “It is expensive. Be realistic and have good budgeting skills.”
The overall list was once again topped by Singapore and it also led the sub-tables for school quality, politics and entrepreneurship. English-speaking New Zealand and Canada were second and third, respectively, with the rest of the top ten dominated by European countries – only Bahrain broke the sequence, coming in ninth.
Of the 45 nations reviewed, Brazil was deemed to be the least appealing to expats with a general lack of quality of life proving damaging. Egypt came second-last, while Italy placed just above it, taking the unwanted title of lowest-ranked European country.
Ireland was deemed the 27th best country for expats to live in, improving on its 2015 ranking by four places. It scored particularly highly in the family category, coming fifth in terms of quality of family life and seventh for the level of closeness one experiences with their partner.
As was the case in the UK, it struggled on the ‘disposable income’ and ‘savings’ sections, while questions relating to property were also problematic. Many expats on the Irish ‘Hints and Tips’ section spoke of a cultural difference, acknowledging that a common language doesn’t necessarily equate to a smooth transition.
One user, who moved from the UK to Ireland, wrote: “It’s more expensive than you think and the cost of living is high. The paperwork can be infuriating. There can be weeks of wet weather – it’s green for a reason. It’s a great place to retire to and a great place to bring up children.”
The weather was a common theme, though one contributor dismissed the claims of consistent rain as exaggerated and also praised Ireland for its career openings.
“[It] is full of opportunities for young people who want to get international experience. It is also easy to make friends. Also, it is not as rainy as some people might think, but you won’t get a hot summer here,” they said.