HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2016 | Singapore and New Zealand top the list

HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2016 | Singapore and New Zealand top the list

28th Sep 2016

HSBC has released the results of its 2016 ‘Expat Explorer’ Survey, with Singapore and New Zealand now being joined by Canada as the best 3 countries in the world for expats to live in. Bahrain ranked 9th out of the 45 countries in the report, whilst the UAE was just outside the top 10 in 12th position.


In order to compile the report HSBC spoke to thousands of expats worldwide, and then ranked countries based on many different aspects of expat life. This covered everything from the standard of property, to the average quality of life, quality of childcare and how good the country is for those with a family.


With Bahrain, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore all scoring highly in almost every area, and with all 4 nations on the lookout for western trained medics, then a dream move could be more realistic than you would think.


Bahrain 9th


9th placed Bahrain was judged to be the best place in the world for expats looking at making friends. The diverse, but relatively low, population combined with the relaxed island mentality and hospitable Bahraini people to ensure that expats felt part of the community far quicker than they did anywhere else.


The standard of property within Bahrain also impressed the expats surveyed - as it ranked as the 2nd best in the world. The majority of expats choose to live in compounds which offer spacious, luxurious, modern accommodation within a secure and relaxing environment. These can be the perfect places to meet fellow expats, and people also reported that they felt compounds helped to take some of the shock out of a move.


With its kind and hospitable people, relaxed lifestyle and excellent accommodation it will come as little surprise that Bahrain ranks as the country with the 4th highest standard of living in the world for expats, according to the survey’s figures.


If Bahrain sounds appealing to you then life within one of the 4 state or 14 private hospitals may be closer than you’d think. The population of the island has grown by almost 1 million since 1990, and as a result the healthcare system has been on the receiving end of some generous investments to ensure it keeps on track with the high standards in the region.


New clinics and hospital extensions are opening up regularly, and the nation is aiming to make itself one of the most attractive for health tourists. Both the state and private systems are well run, rarely understaffed and can offer some of the best (tax free) salaries in the world. All of these factors can make Bahrain a very rewarding place to live for expat medics.


Whilst Bahrain may have only recently started to become a popular destination for expats, Canada is one which has been attracting people from all over the world for centuries.




Canada 3rd


Expats surveyed by HSBC said that they found Canada to be the best country in the world for expats to settle in to. The country’s friendly population were also ranked as the most tolerant of different cultures according to the report, ensuring that expats felt comfortable and secure in themselves.


Respondents also rated the Canadian healthcare service as the 5th best in the world - a testament to the unique tri-funding model which takes contributions from residents as well as both federal and state government. This prevents the system from being overworked and underfunded like the NHS, but ensures that care is available to everyone.


The Canadian healthcare system is, much like the country itself, fairly unique. Just 36 million people live in Canada, despite it being the 2nd largest country (by area) on the planet. This means that medics often work with a relatively low number of patients from a much larger area.


Dealing with a relatively small number of patients can allow you to ensure that you focus on providing a high quality of personalised care for each and every one. Unlike in the NHS - and other overworked systems - medics have the time to actually get to know the patients and understand their individual needs.


New Zealand 2nd


The same is the case for New Zealand - albeit on a much smaller scale. The country, which is often overlooked by expats in favour of its near neighbour Australia, ranks 2nd in HSBC’s survey with various other report showing that its largest city - Auckland - ranks as the best in the world in which to live in.


HSBC’s survey immediately shows why more and more Western trained medics are making the move down under - expats rated the healthcare system in the country as the world’s best.


Although the cost of living can be relatively high New Zealand was ranked as one of the best places in which to raise a family. The outdoors lifestyle combined with plenty of sporting facilities, high levels of health and good educational facilities can make New Zealand the ideal location for people looking for a move which will benefit their children as much as it will benefit themselves.


Working life in New Zealand is based around achieving a healthy work/life balance and this is certainly the case in the healthcare system. Hours will be shorter, and structured around family life, whilst pay will be on a par with hospitals in most western countries.


The healthcare system itself is a hybrid public/private system where patients pay an amount that correlates with their income. Not only does this prevent the system from being abused or overrun, it also makes it accessible for everyone who is in need.

A move to New Zealand might not be as financially rewarding as one to the Gulf region, however with stunning scenery and a relaxed lifestyle it could provide you with the perfect balance between your working and family lives.


Singapore 1st


Considered by many to be the world’s most advanced country, Singapore’s population has risen steadily since the 1960s, making it one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.


Expats love Singapore for a vast range of reasons. It’s one of the safest countries in the world - boasting a remarkably low crime rate - and provides children with some of the highest levels of education anywhere in the world.


That’s before we even get to the healthcare system - which is one of the most technologically advanced and best funded on the planet.


Bloomberg rated the healthcare system in Singapore as the most efficient in the world, and this ensures that patients can receive a high quality of personalised treatment within a reasonable timescale. Further to this there is little in the way of administrative work for doctors and so they can focus on their patients.


Wages in Singapore are extremely high, so to however is the cost of living. Grocery items from home and clothes can be costly, however electronic goods and meals out are often considerably better value for money than in other areas.


The standard of living within the country is luxurious and, although most people live in high rise apartments, these can provide the space and living standards of a large detached house elsewhere.


According to the HSBC survey however the main advantage enjoyed by expats in Singapore is just how convenient everything is.


Singapore is just 719Km2, making it a similar size to Tonga and smaller than Bahrain. This factor, combined with the outstanding public transport system which covers the full island, makes travelling within the country easy and affordable.


On top of this Singapore is located right in the heart of Asia, and cheap flights make it easy to explore the surrounding area. Regular flights can have expats in Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam or Thailand in a short amount of time and this can make Singapore the perfect place to live if you want to discover more of the world.


It’s not hard to see why Singapore is such an attractive destination for expats. High wages, a high standard of living and accommodation along with the well funded healthcare system and secure surroundings make it appealing to an increasingly large demographic - with more and more medical professionals electing to take their skills to the country.

Here at Odyssey we are experts in international medical recruitment, with an unrivalled knowledge of the countries mentioned above, and many more. We have contacts in all the major hospitals throughout these locations, and keep in touch with all our candidates to ensure they are getting the very most out of life abroad.


Start your journey to a better life by booking your place at our International Medical Careers Forum on October 15th in London, where we will be joined by guest speakers from around the world. These are the people who can help make your dream a reality.


Book tickets now on


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