Switzerland Tops the Ranks - Expat Explorer Survey HSBC 2019

Insight | by Trudi Hayes
Zurich Switzerland

The 2019 results of the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey are out, and Switzerland has knocked Singapore off the top spot, coming in at number one.

It has long been a favourite amongst expats, making the top 10 every year since 2011, but this year Switzerland is leading the ranks.

Switzerland is home to some of the world’s best-known luxury brands and many expats enjoy a high salary along with speedy career progression.

Most confirm they have an improved quality of life when they move to Switzerland; 82% of expats in Switzerland say they’ve seen an improvement according to the survey, and there’s a very large and welcoming expat community to make you feel more at home.

Expats are also impressed by the spectacular scenery and are content with the low pollution levels and a cleaner environment. Low crime rates and safe streets are also an important factor, with 67% of expats feeling safer in Switzerland than in their home country.

Language can be a barrier as Switzerland has four official languages – Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh. It is certainly advised to learn at least some basic phrases of the language used in the area you live in order to get by and it helps with integration, however English is widely spoken.

The cost of living is very high in Switzerland, with Geneva, Zurich and Bern being some of most expensive cities in the world. The high salaries do make up for that to a certain extent.

Singapore comes second in the overall survey ranking, moving down one place since 2018; and Canada takes up third position, moving up one space.

Forth Capital specialises in expat pensions and investments – to speak to one of our advisers, click HERE or call 00 41 22 311 1441


The 2019 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 18,059 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2019. League tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents including at least 30 expat parents is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

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