South Africa ranked the thirtieth most attractive country for expats


Quality of life, career progress and the climate are the top reasons cited by people who move to South Africa to work, according to the twelfth annual league table published by HSBC Expat.

The independent consumer research study into the global views of those who relocate for work provides authoritative insights into people’s attitudes, behaviours and opinions on the financial, social and family aspects of the markets they live in.

The top five countries for expats in the latest league table are Switzerland, Singapore, Canada, Spain and New Zealand; with South Africa having ranked thirtieth in 2018.

Of the major economies, the United States was ranked at 23 and the UK at 27.

The survey showed that 40% of expats living in South Africa had cited an improving quality of life as their reason for moving to the country, while 23% cited career progress and 19% the climate.

Before moving to South Africa, 33% of expats surveyed said they planned to stay for more than 20 years. Since moving, 55% say they plan to stay for more than 20 years.

The reasons for staying longer than intended include quality of life (51%), the climate (36%), having started a relationship locally (30%) and not being willing to leave friends and family behind (27%).

Thirty-two per cent of those who relocated to South Africa for work were over the age of 55, which was higher than the global average of 22%. Thirty-eight per cent of those surveyed had been in South Africa for more than 20 years, while 22% had been here for between 11 and 19 years.

The survey further showed that expats working in South Africa participated in more voluntary work and local communities since moving here, than those who moved to other countries.

Thirty-six per cent of those surveyed say they take part in more local community activities compared with the global average of 23%, while 32% say they take part in more voluntary work compared with the global average of 19%.

According to HSBC Expat head John Goddard, the latest ‘Best Place to Live and Work’ league table confirmed the relative attractiveness of South Africa in terms of quality of life and climate.

“As the world’s leading international bank, we know that there are a range of different factors that are important when people are deciding where to relocate to. Those who moved to and intend to stay in South Africa have made informed choices as our research shows they are also well aware of the country’s issues and challenges,” he elaborated.

He added that a further notable aspect of HSBC Expat’s research is that people relocating to South Africa were comparatively more socially aware and community-oriented than those relocating to other countries.

“We see this commitment to making deeper contributions as most encouraging for South Africa.”

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