Covid-19 may have taken a heavy toll on global mobility over the past 18 months, but most expats already abroad remain optimistic about the outlook for the coming year, according to a new survey.

HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer survey – a survey based on responses from more than 20,000 people living and working abroad – found that three-quarters believed the next 12 months offered the opportunity for life to return to the normal”.Optimism was highest among expats in Taiwan (85%), followed closely by those from Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam (all 83%).“As the world has been in a state of flux during the pandemic, the study suggests that places where a sense of stability has been maintained are ranked high,” HSBC said.

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Priority lifestyle

This year’s survey, which asks expats about the economy, experiences and family benefits of their host country, ranked Switzerland as the best country to live and work in.And the survey found that the desire to work abroad had not been diminished by the pandemic, with 80% of those surveyed planning to stay at their current location for at least the next year, and only 7% planning to stay at their current location for at least the next year. to move.HSBC said responses also indicated expats prioritize personal lifestyle choices over traditional relocation drivers, such as career progression (cited by just 34%) or expanding professional networks. , which was important for 31%.The top five priorities that expats said they looked forward to over the coming year were to know the area, travel, understand and explore the local culture, make new friends, and get out more.

Better quality of life abroad

Some 67% of those polled said their current quality of life was better in their current location, with people in Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (both 51%) feeling the strongest sense of fulfillment since moving.In contrast, expats reported some of the challenges they have faced since the onset of the pandemic, with 90% saying they had not been able to see family and / or friends in their home country.

Reason to be optimistic

Cameron Senior, Interim Director of HSBC Expat, said: “Despite incredibly difficult times, I am encouraged to see sparks of optimism among expats around the world. Our research confirms that expats continue to thrive in their host countries and that many look forward to staying there for the foreseeable future.“After many months of uncertainty, I am encouraged to hear how expats are benefiting from relocation – over two-thirds told us they think their quality of life is better now, albeit with many changes. .“Despite their positivity, I am very aware of the disruption they experienced (which remains ongoing in some places), including their ability to see family or friends in their home countries and to travel on business.“So much has changed for expats around the world, but I am in awe of their resilience and optimism for the future. As the world begins to adjust, HSBC Expat is committed to opening up a world of opportunities for our clients who move abroad. We are dedicated to providing support to help them navigate and succeed in an increasingly globalized world. “

Expats ranked the following places as one of the 10 best places to live and work in 2021:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Australia
  3. New Zealand
  4. United Arab Emirates
  5. Guernsey
  6. Jersey
  7. Isle of man
  8. Bahrain
  9. Singapore
  10. Qatar

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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