Old Town Zurich view of city with St. Peter's Church clock tower and the Limmat River.
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This small European country has been ranked the world's best place to live and work


Switzerland has been ranked the best place in the world to live and work, stealing the crown from Singapore which was at the top for five consecutive years.

High living standards and competitive salaries have seen the Swiss nation become a regular fixture among the world's most livable cities. But at a time of growing global uncertainty, Switzerland's famed political and economic stability helped it climb the ranks of HSBC Expat's annual survey to score the top spot for the first time.

Switzerland jumped up the rankings from 8th place last year after the vast majority of people who had relocated there from overseas said they were happy with its economic (80%) and political (86%) climate.

About 82% of people who moved to Switzerland for work also said they enjoyed an improved standard of living compared to their home country.

Mist above Lucerne City, Switzerland in October 2017.
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Seven in 10 (71%) of those who have moved to Switzerland now enjoy higher levels of disposable income with their average salary being $111,587 — well above the global mean of $75,966.

Meanwhile, 70% said their surroundings were cleaner and 42% felt physically healthier.

This year's report, which is based on responses from more than 18,000 expats across 163 markets, marks the first time in five years that Singapore was not ranked in first place. The Southeast Asian city-state shifted down one position to take second place.

The top ten of HSBC's "Best places to live and work" was rounded out in order by Canada, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.


Best for families

Mother and child walk close to Singapore business district.
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Though Singapore failed to make it to the top of HSBC's ranking for the sixth consecutive year, it remained a strong performer, especially for those moving abroad with children.

Some 62% of respondents said the schooling system in Singapore is better than in their home country, while 69% rated the opportunity it afforded their kids to learn new languages.


Welcoming to foreigners

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A consistently high performer, Canada's reputation for welcoming foreign visitors saw it take third place this year.

The vast majority (80%) of respondents also said they enjoyed a better quality of life in their new home, compared to the global average of 65%.


High quality of living

View of The Alhambra in Granada City, Spain
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While few respondents said they relocated to Spain for their careers, more than two-thirds (67%) said they'd seen an improvement in their work-life balance as a result of the move.

That, coupled with the country's top ranking for mental well-being, saw Spain jump up 10 spots this year.

New Zealand

A long-term destination

View of Queenstown, New Zealand just after sunset.
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Renowned for its stunning scenery and laid back way of life, more than half (57%) of people who moved to New Zealand said they did so to improve their quality of life.

And it appears to pay off: 60% of those who moved stayed longer than expected. In fact, those who move to New Zealand are the most likely to stay in their new country for over 20 years.

These are the countries where expats earn more than they would at home
These are the countries where expats earn more than they would at home