Singapore now offers best quality of life for British expats according to annual survey as Australia and Canada slide down the list

Expats looking for the best quality of life away from Britain should seek jobs in the Far East, according to the latest annual index from NatWest International.

Topping the chart for the first time since it was launched eight years ago is Singapore, rising from fourth place to top the polls in 2015.

Back in 2009, the fast-growing country languished in 11th on the list. But the recent study revealed 84 per cent of British expats in Singapore have seen an increase in their overall quality of life since moving to the island.

A similar number reported an improvement in their health, a nicer, sunnier environment and better job conditions as the main selling points of the 'Lion City'.

Also firing up the list is China in third and Hong Kong in fifth, with both seeing expat quality of life soar, according to the survey of more than 2,500 people.

Meanwhile, traditional expat destinations such as Australia and Canada have slipped drastically down the list.

NatWest says this shift has come about due to an increase in the number of 'temporary expats' seeking work across the globe.

In 2008, when the index began, 67 per cent of expats were 'lifers' who were more likely to move abroad in search of sun, sea and a fresh start.

In 2015, these types of expats account for just 28 per cent - while temporary expats account for 40 per cent.

Interestingly, despite the improved lifestyle in Singapore, only nine per cent of expats planned to stay permanently, as the majority are there on temporary work assignments.

Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking, said: 'Singapore is clearly a vibrant nation filled with lots of opportunities for career-focused expats.

'With improved health, beautiful surroundings and bang for your buck, who can blame ambitious Brits for choosing this sunny city state, which stands as a great example that you don't have to choose between business and pleasure.

'While destinations such as Australia and Canada are still rated highly by retiree expats, more and more people are making the move abroad with their career in mind, leading to the popularity of countries such as Singapore.'

Singapore has seen a range of tax exemptions and flexible immigration policies put in place by the Government, which is keen to appeal to expats, who currently make up 38 per cent of the total population.

The key industries for expats in Singapore include finance, which employs 29 per cent of its expat population, construction and manufacturing - and for people working in these sectors the rewards can be huge.

At present, nearly seven in ten British expats living in Singapore earn more than £125,000 annually.

The shift in temporary expats' destination is largely due to the growing demand for British professional skills in a number of prominent Asian and Arabic countries, following rapid economic growth and a rising standard of living.
The vast majority of expats in Asia, for instance, experienced an increase in disposable income after relocating.

This is in stark contrast to European countries included in the index, which indicated that around a quarter of all expats now felt nervous or anxious about their economic situation, especially in France, Portugal and Spain.

The study indicates that the average profile of an expat will continue to shift in the coming years.

Currently half of all British expats are working on temporary assignments abroad - six years ago this percentage was just 11 per cent and this is likely to shift further as working overseas becomes more expected in the UK's working culture.

Other trends are also likely to continue due to the changing expat culture. Younger people, for instance, are already significantly more likely to live abroad than they were in the past, with those aged 25-35 making up more than a quarter of all expats compared to just 16 per cent in 2011. 




Latest news