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Canada named 3rd best country in the world overall for expats


As a nation built on a foundation of migration, Canada’s historically strong population growth from both natural increase and net overseas migration makes it again one of the most welcoming countries in the world, according to HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer survey. Canada was named the 3rd best country in the world overall for expats, rising one spot from its 2018 ranking.  Switzerland rose seven places to overtake perennial winner Singapore to be named as the best place to live and work as an expat. Spain and New Zealand rounded out the top five.

Switzerland overtakes Singapore as the best place in the world to live and work

HSBC’s global 2019 Expat Explorer surveyed over 18,000 expatriates in 163 countries, asking them for their views on quality of life, financial well-being and the ease of raising a family abroad. Of those who nominated Canada as their favoured destination, most chose the country for its safe public spaces (64%) and remain here to improve their quality of life (63%).

What migrants have to say about their life in Canada:

  • Expats or Migrants?: Before arriving in Canada, 58% of respondents planned on staying more than 20 years in Canada compared to the global average of 26%.  However, upon arriving in Canada, that figure jumped to 75% of respondents planning to remain in the country for longer than 20 years compared with 41% of respondents in other countries. Additionally, 42% of respondents said that they have lived in Canada for longer than 20 years, the highest percentage in the world, and much higher than the global average of 13%.

  • New Country, New Colleagues, Better Career: Since migrating to Canada, more than half (53%) have learnt new work skills, with 30% moving into a new work sector. Additionally, almost one in four (24%) replied that they had been promoted more rapidly as a result of their move here.

  • Life isn’t all work: Just 20% of people replied that the reason they moved to Canada was to progress their career, well below the global average of 36%, while just 9% said that they were looking to improve their skillset, compared to the global average of 20%.

  • Parents think that Canada has a lot to offer their children too:  Almost half of parents (43%) agreed that the quality of education that their children receive is greater than at home, while 56% of parents believe that their children have a wider skillset and are more confident since moving to Canada.  Additionally, 53% believe that it is easy for their children to make friends.

“Migrating and settling down in a new country is an exciting thought for many and Canada is one of the most welcoming countries for migrants of diverse cultural backgrounds.  Approximately 200,000 new migrants come here every year because of our economy, lifestyle, economic freedom and excellent quality of life,” said Larry Tomei, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC Bank Canada.  “When a migrant or newcomer moves to a new country, banking is an important first step in getting settled.  In our view, our Newcomer Program1 is one of the best in Canada because it offers a variety of benefits, bonuses, and special rates designed to help people start their new life.”

What Canadians have to say about their life abroad:

  • Canada is still hard to beat at most things: Typically travelling to the UK, Mexico, the USA, Hong Kong and China, only 22% of Canada’s expats left the country to improve their overall quality of life. Only one in four (26%) feel as safe or secure in their new home as they did in Canada and 68% say the natural environment isn’t as good.  17% of Canadians replied that they thought the environment was better in their host country, compared with 65% of respondents from Hong Kong and 57% of respondents from Mexico. However, three out of five (59%) Canadian expats preferred the reliable and convenient public transport in their host country.

  • Canadians take full advantage of the opportunities for travel, food and fun:  Canadians abroad are more likely than most expats to use their host country as a base to travel and explore the surrounding region (72%) and 71% liked the restaurants and food compared to 61% of global respondents. Canadians also like to venture out in the evening: 46% of Canadian respondents preferred the nightlife in their host markets, beaten only by 50% of expats from Switzerland.

  • Top reasons for moving away…and staying away: 70% left Canada to work overseas to save for their retirement. One-third (33%) of respondents are staying away longer because they started a personal relationship in their host country and almost half (47%) stated that they had a greater sense of fulfilment than they had in Canada.
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