Why Switzerland has again been ranked the ‘best expat destination’

A person windsurfing on Lake Silvaplana, Switzerland
A person windsurfing on Lake Silvaplana, Switzerland. Switzerland always ranks highly in terms of quality of life. Photo by Alessio Soggetti on Unsplash
For the third year running, Switzerland has been ranked atop a worldwide list of best destinations for expats and internationals.

Switzerland has beaten out all other countries to be ranked on top of the list for best destinations for expats in a global survey. 

Despite the high cost of living, foreign nationals value the quality of life in Switzerland, making the country the top destination for expatriates for the third year in a row, 

The report, entitled the Expat Explorer Survey 2021, is an annual annual study by British financial services firm HSBC.

READ MORE: Ten things Zurich residents take for granted

After settling in the country, 91 percent of those polled thought their environment was better, and 86 percent felt safer.

The survey ranked nations based on three separate categories: quality of life, aspirations and future outlook. 

Switzerland ranked first in terms of quality of life and aspirations, coming in fifth in future outlook. 

Stability was a major feature of why Switzerland ranked so highly, with 92 of respondents saying they expect Switzerland to remain stable in the coming year, regardless of the impacts of the pandemic. 

Switzerland the only mainland European country in top ten

Switzerland was the only mainland European country to make it into the top ten. The closest was the Netherlands, which came in 11th. 

Australia and New Zealand were ranked second and third, followed by the United Arab Emirates.

The study took the unusual approach of breaking up the UK into different island regions. 

The Channel Islands Guernsey (fifth) and Jersey (sixth), ranked highly, along with the Isle of Man (seventh).

The Arab states of Bahrain (eighth) and Qatar (tenth) also made the list.

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Long ranked highly, Singapore slipped into ninth place.

Switzerland’s closest ranked neighbour was France (21st), followed by Austria (23rd), Germany (27th) and Italy (45th). 

Turkey ranked on the bottom of the list, with low scores in each category. 

The survey was carried out among 20,460 people living in 46 countries.

Switzerland a favourite of internationals

Switzerland has long been a favourite of international workers, otherwise known as expats. 

An estimated 25 percent of the Swiss population is made up of foreigners. This figure can rise as high as 50 percent in some cantons. 

Generally speaking, Switzerland ranks consistently well in terms of quality of life, which takes into account things like work-life balance, public transport, parks and collective amenities and workplace conditions. 

Switzerland does tend however to rank poorly when it comes to cost of living. 

In another study published earlier in 2021, Switzerland placed in the middle of the road due largely to cost of living concerns as well as feelings of isolation. 

The study found Switzerland was the second worst destination worldwide for the cost of living (58th), the survey found. Only Hong Kong performs worse. 

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland rated poorly by its international residents?

In fact, 65 percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with the prices in Switzerland (34 percent globally).

In terms of ease of settling in, the country is nearly at the bottom, in the 52nd place.


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