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Thailand ranks first for expatriate overall experience

4Thailand’s charm and appeal as a home for foreigners were lauded in a worldwide survey last week, as the Kingdom outranked all other countries in the world for the best overall experience for expatriates in a poll conducted by HSBC, the global banking corporation. The survey covered over 7,000 expatriates living and working in over 100 countries.

Low cost of living and the potential for high earnings made the Kingdom the most cost-effective country for expatriates. Thailand also scored extremely well when it came to setting up, integrating and finding friends.

Quality of life has long been a key attraction when it comes to postings in Thailand. Aside from attractive and affordable housing, the country has plentiful top-quality hospitals, and social organizations and groups that make adjusting to life in a foreign country relatively easy for families as well as individuals.

The one area in which Thailand did not receive a ranking, however, was in raising children, as expatriates living in the Kingdom who responded to the survey did not supply enough information on this topic. However, Thailand does have a wealth of international schools, and there is no shortage of activities available to keep young people busy and entertained.

Asian countries in general did well on the survey, despite the fact that some lack infrastructure on a par with Western countries, many also have a web of confusing regulations with which expatriates must comply. Nonetheless, the survey indicated that expatriates feel many Asian countries are improving on these and other matters.

Because several countries in the region have been enjoying strong economic growth in recent years, despite global economic turbulence, Asia was viewed as a good place for increasing earnings and career advancement.

“Expat wealth has been gradually heading east, with emerging, and now indeed fully emerged, regions such as the Middle East and Asia becoming more and more popular with expats,” said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.

Almost 80 percent of expatriates in Thailand who answered the survey said they had seen their disposable income increase after moving to the Kingdom. Over 60 percent said living in Thailand allowed them to enjoy a healthier diet, adding that the local food and culture were easy to adapt to and enjoy. Thailand also finished first when it came to ease of finding friends and enjoying and active social life. In addition, it ranked high in terms of working environment.

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