Thailand leads the way when it comes to quality of life and a good social scene, while Switzerland is top for making money and Germany for raising children
Thailand is the easiest place in the world for expats to make friends and have an active social life, a survey has revealed.
If the focus is on earning potential and disposable income, however, Switzerland and China are the best places to head.
For those with families – or who are planning to start one – Germany and Singapore top the charts for ease of raising children abroad.
The research was done by HSBC as part of its sixth annual Expat Explorer survey.
The first section of the survey ranked destinations for the expat experience they provide, in terms of quality of life, ease of setting up and integration.
In second place after Thailand was Bahrain, followed by China, the Cayman Islands and Australia.
When questioned about how easy they found it to make friends, 76 per cent of expats in Thailand said it was easy – the highest percentage in the world.
Next in the friendship rankings were Singapore and Taiwan (63 per cent) and China (59 per cent).
Those were the only countries that beat the global average, which showed that 57 per cent of expats overall found it easy to make friends when they moved.
When it comes to improving their social life after their move, expats in Asia fared best.
More than a third (35 per cent) of expats based in the region said they socialised more after relocating, compared to a global average of 26 per cent.
The second section of the survey focused on expat economics and assessed factors such as earning potential, disposable income and satisfaction with the economic outlook of the host country.
Switzerland came first in this section, followed by China, Qatar, Thailand and the Cayman Islands.
Asked if they noticed an improvement in their financial status after moving, 75 per cent of those in Switzerland said yes, 73 per cent in Qatar and 72 per cent in China. The global average was 56 per cent.
The ease of raising children was the topic of the third section of the survey. Germany came top, followed by Singapore, France, New Zealand and South Africa.
The poll also revealed that Germany, France and Spain in particular offer expat parents access to cost-efficient and high-quality childcare.
The poll was conducted by independent research company YouGov on behalf of HSBC Expat. A total of 7,004 people were quizzed via an online survey conducted between April 29 and June 11, and the sample covered more than 100 countries.
Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat, said: “With a record number of expats participating this year, the Expat Explorer survey provides an even more comprehensive picture of life abroad, the challenges expats face and the idiosyncrasies that make the expat experience unique.”