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Singapore has once again emerged as the top city for expatriates to live in, while cities such as Hong Kong have slightly lost their appeal.
Despite its high cost of living, the island nation maintained its position as best place in Asia and in the world for expatriates, according to ECA International’s latest Location Ratings survey.
Polling 450 locations worldwide, the survey evaluated a host of factors to form an assessment of the overall quality of living for expatriates. These factors included climate, the availability of health services, and housing and utilities among others.
Japanese cities Osaka and Nagoya also maintained their position at second and third place in the Asia ranking respectively. Australia’s Adelaide and Sydney ranked second and third globally.
“Good air quality, solid infrastructure, decent medical facilities, low crime and health risks have contributed to Singapore maintaining its position at the top of the global ranking for quality of living for Asian assignees,” Lee Quane, regional director, Asia, ECA International, said.
“The fact that Singapore comes out top time and time again does make it a very attractive proposition for companies looking to set up in the region, particularly when conditions in Hong Kong have deteriorated a little.”
Hong Kong’s attractiveness dropped 16 places this year, from 17th to 33rd place globally.
“Hong Kong scores well in a range of factors including infrastructure, education and healthcare facilities, and availability of goods and services,” Quane explained. “However, air quality remains a lot poorer there than many other parts of the region.”
The survey warned, however, the impact of some of the factors assessed, such as distance from home and differences in culture, language and climate, will vary according to where someone comes from.
“Where an employee is going from and to can affect the level of adaptation required on the part of the assignee for some of the factors we measure,” explained Quane. “For this reason, our analysis takes into account both the home and destination countries. So, while Singapore ranks at the top for Asians, and has done now for 16 years in a row, it is 96th globally for someone coming from Western Europe.
For this year’s rankings, ECA International also introduced a new allowance calculation system for expatriates in remote and exceptional locations. It was developed to provide a system for calculating location allowances for sites such as mines, plantations, military bases, oil and gas facilities, disaster zones and environments like the jungle, the desert or the Arctic.
“The term ‘remote’ in the context of mobility means a lot more than simple distance from home. It is often used for places where facilities are limited – for example where accommodation is in tents or dormitories, where flights out are infrequent, leisure facilities non-existent and medical care basic. That might include sites in a desert, a jungle or offshore, or expeditions,” Quane said.