Fleeing the Country? Here Are the Best Places to Land
Maybe you, like plenty of other Americans, are fed up with the U.S. unemployment situation and what the Federal Reserve is doing to counter it. Perhaps you just need a change of scenery.
You're not alone. Americans are leaving the country in high numbers, and this year upwards of 8,000 Americans – a record number – are expected to renounce their citizenship due to high expatriate tax rates.
This year, HSBC's Expat Explorer Survey showed the countries where expatriates found the most fiscal and personal satisfaction. 3,385 expatriates in 100 countries were surveyed, resulting in 31 nations with significant response. If you are thinking about packing up and heading abroad, you might want to consider one of these countries.
At the top of the list were Singapore, Bermuda, and Thailand.
An overwhelming number of expatriates in Singapore had very comfortable salaries, with 54% of respondents earning upwards of $200,000 annually. Only 7% of the global population falls within this category.
After moving to Singapore, 80% of expatriate respondents saw their disposable income rise, and 44% saw it rise by 50% or more.
Jobs were the main reason people moved to Singapore – 70% said they found more promising career prospects in the Asian nation. The one complaint was a higher cost for children's education – but this may have been outweighed by economic benefits.
“Singapore is fast becoming an all-round expat destination for career progression, financial rewards and quality of life,” said Paul Arrowsmith, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Singapore.
But Singapore wasn't at the top for community integration. For fitting into the culture, expatriates had the most positive responses in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, according to a Forbes evaluation of the data.
The majority of respondents in these three countries gave high ratings to the ease of befriending locals, learning the language, integrating into the community, and fitting into the culture.
Of course, this was in large part due to the fact that the majority of expats in these nations were native English speakers. But it also had to do with the comforts of living.
“Cape Town is the most European of cities in Africa; the blend of people and more liberal society makes living there very easy,” says U.S. repatriate Bradley Austin, who has returned to Connecticut after living between both places and working in politics since 2005. “There are also excellent roads, and (mostly) reliable electricity and phones. South Africa, specifically Cape Town, is home to some of the best restaurants in the world and surrounded by well-regarded, new-world vineyards.”
Another American expatriate, Kim Brinster, called New Zealanders “friendly, helpful and kind people,” and U.K. native Russell Ward said that the Australian lifestyle was “laidback,” with “more of a focus on the kinds of things to do outside of work rather than on the day job itself.”
Expatriates had the most difficulty blending with culture in the United Arab Emirates, and overall the toughest nations for expats seemed to be Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia, and India.
More information on HSBC's expatriate nations can be found here in an interactive map.
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