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Singapore is best country for expats to live and work for 4th straight year: HSBC survey

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Singapore topped a ranking as the overall best place for expatriates to live and work for a fourth straight year, beating New Zealand, Germany and Canada.

[ZURICH] Singapore topped a ranking as the overall best place for expatriates to live and work for a fourth straight year, beating New Zealand, Germany and Canada.

But the highest expat salaries are found elsewhere - in Switzerland, the US and Hong Kong - according to HSBC's latest annual Expat Explorer report.

Moving abroad in fact boosts the average worker's income by US$21,000, the survey found, with 45 per cent of expats saying their existing job paid more internationally, while 28 per cent changed locations for a promotion.

In Switzerland, famous for both sky-high mountains and prices, the annual income boost totaled US$61,000. Expat salaries there again are the highest, averaging US$203,000 per year - twice the global level.

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But as the best place to live and work, Switzerland ranked only eighth, with the high cost of raising children and difficulty making friends going against it.

"Singapore packs everything a budding expat could want into one of the world's smallest territories," HSBC said.

Sweden, one of the world's most gender-equal countries, got top billing for family, while New Zealand, Spain and Taiwan led the way in the experience category.

Despite the cultural, financial and professional advantages of moving abroad, the survey of 22,318 people uncovered that women trailed on a variety of metrics.

While relocating boosted women's income by roughly 27 per cent - topping the increase experienced by men - only about a quarter moved to develop their careers, compared with 47 per cent of their male counterparts. Just half worked full time, and the overall level of education was somewhat lower. Women's average annual salary was also US$42,000 lower than men's.

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