• A new survey by HSBC shows that 62% of expats believe their quality of life has improved since moving to South Africa.
  • Since moving, 55% now plan to stay for more than twenty years.
  • But South Africa's ranking as a top destination for expats has slipped this year. 
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Some 62% of expats who moved to South Africa saw an improvement in their quality of life compared to their home countries, according to a new survey by the international banking group HSBC.

More than 18,000 expats across the world were interviewed for the survey.

Before moving to South Africa, 33% of the expats surveyed said they planned to stay for more than 20 years.  Since moving, 55% say they plan to stay for more than 20 years. The reasons for staying longer than intended include quality of life (51%), the climate (36%), having started a relationship locally (30%) and not being willing to leave friends and family made here (27%).

A third of those who relocated to South Africa for work are over the age of 55, significantly higher than the global average of 22%. Some 38% have been in South Africa for more than 20 years while 22% have been here for 11 to 19 years.

The survey shows that two-thirds earn below R840,000 a year, while 14% earn between R840,000 and R1.4 million.

While expats were largely positive about South Africa, the country’s ranking as a great place to live and work for expats slipped from 27 last year to 30.

The UK is now ranked at the number 27 position, while the US is at 23. According to the survey, Switzerland is the top country for expats, with 82% of expats saying their quality of life has improved since moving there.

Switzerland is followed by Singapore, Canada, Spain and New Zealand.

The survey shows that expats in South Africa take part in more voluntary work and participate more in local communities since moving here than those who moved to other countries. More than a third say they take part in more local community activities compared to the global average of 23%, while 32% say they take part in more voluntary work compared to the global average of 19%.

“The latest Best Place to Live and Work league table confirms the relative attractiveness of South Africa in terms of quality of life and climate,” says John Goddard, head of HSBC Expat.

“Those who moved to and intend to stay in South Africa have made informed choices as our research shows they are also well aware of the country’s issues and challenges. A further notable aspect of our research is that people relocating to South Africa are comparatively more socially aware and community-oriented than those relocating to other countries. We see this commitment to making deeper contributions as most encouraging for South Africa.”

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