S'pore among top 10 places for expats to live

Singapore was ranked ninth in an annual survey that aims to capture the views of executives, skilled workers, students and retirees living outside the country where they grew up, based on conditions such as quality of life, political stability and co
Singapore was ranked ninth in an annual survey that aims to capture the views of executives, skilled workers, students and retirees living outside the country where they grew up, based on conditions such as quality of life, political stability and cost of living, among others. Regional rival Hong Kong ranked 39th this year, while Taiwan slipped to No. 4 from the top spot last year.ST FILE PHOTO

Bahrain tops list of 65 economies in poll; US, UK rankings fall over declining quality of life

MUNICH • Singapore edged into the top 10 in a list of good places to live and work for expatriates, while reputations of the United States and United Kingdom are in free fall among some of the world's most mobile and cosmopolitan people.

The Expat Insider survey - conducted each year by InterNations - ranked Singapore ninth on this year's list, a jump of four places from last year. Regional rival Hong Kong ranked 39th, while Taiwan slipped to No. 4 from the top spot last year.

The annual survey by the network of 2.8 million expatriates aims to capture the views of executives, skilled workers, students and retirees living outside the country where they grew up.

Since last year's US presidential election and Brexit vote, both America and Britain were perceived as less friendly to foreigners and less politically stable, according to the survey of almost 13,000 expatriates of 166 nationalities.

Expatriates said quality of life in the two nations was declining, especially the affordability of childcare and healthcare in the US and housing in the UK.

The top-ranked economy this year was Bahrain, given high marks by its expatriates as a place to work and raise a family, and for making foreigners feel welcome. It vastly outranked its Persian Gulf neighbours such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which ranked in the bottom 10 of the 65 economies in the survey. Greece was at the very bottom of the list, weighed down by the country's economic problems. Australia, which ranked in the top 10 last year, dropped more than any other country to the 34th place.

  • TOP 10 FAVOURITE PLACES

    1 Bahrain

    2 Costa Rica

    3 Mexico

    4 Taiwan

    5 Portugal

    6 New Zealand

    7 Malta

    8 Colombia

    9 Singapore

    10 Spain

    BOTTOM 10

    1 Greece

    2 Kuwait

    3 Nigeria

    4 Brazil

    5 Saudi Arabia

    6 Italy

    7 Ukraine

    8 Qatar

    9 India

    10 Turkey

One of the expatriates' favourite places to work was China, where two-thirds of respondents were happy with their careers. But China ranked 55th  overall due to quality of life.

Expatriates, especially those with children, were concerned about the severe pollution and the quality and cost of healthcare and education.

The UK ranked 54th, down 21 places from last year, after its vote last June to leave the European Union. Before the referendum, 77 per cent of expatriates in the UK had a favourable opinion of the nation's political stability. A survey conducted earlier this year before the British election showed that this has reduced to 47 per cent this year.

Just half of expatriates said the UK has a good attitude towards foreign residents.

Expatriates in Britain had also soured on its economy. The weak pound and higher inflation put it at 59th for personal finance. Almost two-thirds of its expatriates had an unfavourable opinion of the cost of living there, with 69 per cent unhappy with the affordability of housing.

The US seemed to have lost some lustre after a year of political volatility, said Mr Malte Zeeck, a founder and co-chief executive of InterNations.

Just 36 per cent of expatriates had a positive opinion of America's political stability, down from 68 per cent last year.

Overall, the US was ranked 43rd, 17 places lower than last year, but one bright spot was that 69 per cent of expatriates had a favourable view of the American economy.

There are about 50 million expatriates worldwide, according to market research by Finaccord, and the number is expected to hit 60 million over the next five years.

They often have a choice of where they want to live, and their opinions matter to countries that want to attract talented and affluent people, said the firm.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore among top 10 places for expats to live'. Print Edition | Subscribe