In 2019, Switzerland came top overall in a ranking of destinations for expatriates to live and work, moving up from eighth last year.
Singapore, which had held the top spot for four years in the HSBC’s list of the best countries for expatriates, dropped to second place.
Switzerland scored highly on salaries (1st), stability (1st), education (2nd) and quality of life (2nd). 82% of expats say they experienced an improvement in quality of life after moving to Switzerland.
The average Swiss expat salary of US$111,587 is 47% higher than the $75,966 mean pay across the 33 countries surveyed. On disposable income Switzerland came 2nd, behind the UAE. However, living in Switzerland is expensive. “Be aware of the cost of housing and health care when negotiating a salary”, said one survey respondent.
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Switzerland has the second most expensive health care system in the world after the US. It has a system of compulsory basic health insurance. The premiums are used to help fund a health care system funded by taxes. The percentage of GDP spent on health care in Switzerland was 12.3% in 2017, not far behind the US, which spent 17.2% of GDP. It’s not uncommon for a family in Switzerland to spend US$ 12,000 a year on healthcare.
In addition, rents are high. A 100 m2 apartment in Geneva, one of Switzerland’s most expensive cities, can cost around US$ 45,000 a year.
Switzerland’s high scores on pay, stability, quality of life and education are counterbalanced by low scores for culture, open and welcoming communities (28th), ease of settling in (24th) and making friends (24th).More on this:
HSBC expat explorer survey 2019 (in English)
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