24 September 2015

Respondents to the latest HSBC Expat Explorer Survey published this week, give particularly high ratings to Singapore, New Zealand and Sweden.  This survey, conducted over each of the last eight years, evaluated 39 countries on the perceptions of nearly 22,000 migrant participants regarding

  • economics (covering personal finances, local economy and working life),
  • experience (covering lifestyle, people and setting up) and
  • family (covering relationships, education, and raising children).

Singapore scored highest overall—and ranked second for economics, third for experience  and third for family.

New Zealand, ranking second overall, was rated highest for experience.

Sweden came third overall, polling best for family life.

Despite, at first blush, these countries being seen as culturally different as they are geographically separated, migrants like them because of the personal opportunities they offer, their lifestyle advantages and the well being they afford to migrant families.

A characteristic they have in common is their reputation for good government – the fair, impartial, responsible and trustworthy exercise of official functions which strengthen social commitment and community participation. In the eyes of new arrivals they best reflect the ideal of “government for the people”. However although they rate well for orderly and contented communities and score similarly on the 2014 Corruption Perceptions index (New Zealand 2nd, Sweden 4th and Singapore 7th) they are more spread on indices like the Peace Index 2015 (only New Zealand is in the top 10 countries.)

Sweden of course is the largest of the Scandinavian countries. New Zealand often appears on international measures like a Scandinavian state transplanted to the South Pacific; Singapore similarly stands out in Asia because of its Scandinavia-like values.

This week the Prime Minister of Singapore spoke of his country being exceptional “…because it has kept its system of government clean… Singapore is special, and is able to stay special, because we have a clean system…. To have a clean system, you must have people who are trustworthy, who are honest, who you can rely upon and who will not be saying one thing, doing another or putting their hands into their kitty.”

HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2015

(Economics, Experience, Family)

  1. Singapore  (2 – 3 – 3)
  2. New Zealand  (16 – 1 – 2)
  3. Sweden    (6 – 15 – 1)
  4. Bahrain       (8 – 7 – 6)
  5. Germany      (3 – 12 – 5)
  6. Canada      (11 – 6 – 8)
  7. Australia      (15 – 4 – 12)
  8. Taiwan      (18 – 5 – 15)
  9. United Arab Emirates (4 – 18 – 16)
  10. Switzerland (1 – 26 – 25)