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6 best countries for job-seekers overseas

By Farnoosh Torabi
(MoneyWatch) Several months ago, I wrote about how some Americans, discouraged by their job prospects at home, are broadening their employment search to foreign countries. For example, after getting laid off at her law firm in New York City, Andrea Lazarow, 44, decided to move to China for a job opportunity. A college friend of mine with a degree in finance just got back from South Korea after teaching English there for two years.

If you're intrigued, HSBC offers some helpful new research about the countries that suit expatriates best. In its latest Expat Explorer Survey, HSBC interviewed close to 3,400 expats -- including non-Americans -- and ranked 31 countries on the basis of quality of life, finances and work.

I went through the survey and hand-picked six countries that scored relatively high in areas of income, disposable income, local work culture, feeling welcome at work, and working environment. Expats interviewed by HSBC were primarily working in the banking, construction and education sectors.


Ninety-five percent of expats in China have a positive outlook on the economy, trusting it will improve over the next year. Most come here for career or money prospects, but note that expats in China are less likely to earn more than $200,000 a year (25 percent in China vs. 28 percent globally). But, for what it's worth, China is apparently the most cost-effective place for childcare. More expats there than any other country (22 percent) have seen the cost of raising children decrease, while also observing an improvement in the quality of childcare.


According to the survey, the main benefits of moving to Egypt are financial wealth and financial security. Eighty-one percent of expats living in Egypt reported higher salaries and 95 percent seem to have a higher disposable income since relocating. Sixty percent say they're also able to save much more money.

Saudi Arabia

The No. 1 benefit of being an expat for those living in Saudi Arabia is financial wealth and financial security (28 percent for both). Nearly all expats (98 percent) reported higher disposable income, compared to 78 percent overall.


Expats who believe Singapore is the ideal expat destination are likely to choose it both because of a better quality of life (66 percent) and career prospects (65 percent), according to the survey.


Seventy-eight percent of expats in Thailand report an increase in salary since relocating compared to a global average of 71 percent. And a majority (82 percent) say they think the country is ideal for retirement.

New Zealand

Quality of life is a major draw for expats in this country. Close to 80 percent say their work-life balance has improved since moving to the country, while only 30 percent of expats all over the world feel the same way about their moves.

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