Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Deciding where to relocate

Whilst many expats are posted by their company or follow a spouse and therefore have little say in where they go, plenty of expats decide they want a change and pick a place on a map and move. But how do these expats choose where to go? Here is a handy guide to the things to look for when deciding where to relocate.

Picture source: Wikicommons

Invariably some places are more expensive than others. Tokyo for example was recently labelled the most expensive city in the world to live however it’s important to take local wages in to account when weighing up the relative cost of living in your new location. Expats in some countries find that their high levels of pay relative to the local cost of living allow them a better standard of living than in their home country. The 2012 Expat Explorer survey showed us that 35% of expats around the world have about 20-30% more disposable income then before moving however in some countries this is much higher. In Qatar, the richest country in the world per capita, half of expats had more than 50% more disposable income than before moving.

Moving to learn a new language can be a strong driver for many expats, however, equally some expats look to go to a destination where their current language is spoken – this makes Singapore, USA, Australia and other English speaking countries hot expat destinations. On the flip side there is a huge demand for English speakers all over the world to help teach the language. Some governments offer sponsored teaching programs allowing serial expats to travel and work from country to country.

For those with children it is important to find an expat country with good schools. Many countries have a strong system of international schools but it’s important to check out prices as in some countries this can be very high and competition for places is fierce. Quality of life is also especially important for those with children. In the 2012 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, Canada was ranked as the best place to bring up children, expats in Canada report their children spending more time outdoors, learning new languages and enjoying their lives more than in other expat destinations.
Picture source: Wikicommons

More sunshine and a warmer climate can be a big draw for expats, so it is no wonder South Africa, Australia and the Middle East are top destinations for expats. On the other side of the coin some of the popular expat destinations experience extreme cold conditions – Canada, Russia and Germany regularly have winter temperatures in the minuses yet are still popular destinations for expats. According to the 2012 Expat Explorer Survey only one third of expats expected better weather upon moving countries although nearly half of expats experienced better weather upon moving.  
Picture source: wikicommons

How did you decide where to relocate? Leave us a comment in the box below.

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