Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HSBC Expat Explorer

I've been pretty much a no-show for the past few days because, quite frankly, last week's training was exhausting. Combine that with yard work and housecleaning over the weekend to get ready for Leïla's father arriving and I was simply too tired to write.

For a while now I've been paying attention to HSBC bank and their expat work. They actually have a large section of their Web site dedicated to expats, though much of it is aimed at British expats. With this year's Expat Explorer survey, they have a fantastic tool to help you pick which country to emigrate to:

Choose your criteria and get country suggestions
From three simple drop down, you check the things which are most important to you (anywhere from children's education to owning a yacht) and the tool will recommend which countries, from their survey, best fit your needs. As with any tool, you'll need to use your judgment. For example, these were my top five countries:

  1. Singapore
  2. United Arab Emirates
  3. Qatar
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Canada

If I were to leave the Netherlands, I can't see myself moving to Qatar any time soon.  Also, the USA came in number nine on my list and I can't see myself moving back there, either.

If for nothing else, the tool might give you ideas you hadn't considered before. Try it out and post your results here. I'm curious to know what others get!


  1. "If I were to leave the Netherlands, I can't see myself moving to Qatar any time soon"

    Why not? How different would the UAE be from Qatar?

  2. Good question indeed!

  3. @Anonymous: I suspect that UAE and Qatar would not be that different from my point of view, but I know a bit more about the latter than the former. Specifically, Qatar's thoroughly evil stance on homosexuality offends me, expecially being one of the countries which voted for the right to reserve the right to execute people based on their sexual orientation.

    These are not their only human rights issues, including denying women's rights, but it's enough for me for me to say "no".

  4. There is no doubt that homosexuality in Arabic countries is tough, but based on your own link, the UAE are listed as well as being a country which voted for the right to execute people based on their sexual orientation.

    But when looking at the other top ranked countries on your list, you see the same pattern. Homosexual acts, for instance, are forbidden by law in Singapore (what isn't, I might add).

    The fact of the matter is that all countries have some problem. In your current country, the Netherlands, Hitler's Mein Kampf is officially banned from sales. Blasphemy is still an offense. So much for freedom of speech. In your birth country, the death penalty has still not been abolished. I can name negative things on any country you want, ranging from freedom of speech issues to human right violations.

    I'm not claiming Qatar is a beautiful beacon of hope for gay and women rights. I'm merely saying that your views of Qatar might be biased, especially when compared to their "neighbours", the UAE (or Singapore or Hongkong for that matter).

    That leaves you with Canada ...

    Out of curiosity, how high did Peru rank in your list?

  5. When I mentioned I had an issue with Qatar, it's because I knew a bit about Qatar. That's all I meant. As for Singapore, I was aware that sodomy is illegal (I don't believe homosexuality is explicitly outlawed, but I'm unsure), but they usually choose not to enforce that law. Singapore, at least, is trying to adopt more human rights, though before I'd consider that country, I'd look into it more. Now that I have a daughter, offensive aspects of a country are more important to me.

    As for the other issues you mention, I am quite aware that any country can have serious issues on human rights, but there is absolutely no comparison between banning the sales of Mein Kampf and executing people for being gay. It's silly to even use that as an example (though I have issues with my birth country's enthusiastic support of the death penalty).

    As for Peru, they did not make it on the HSBC list.

  6. I find this to be a confusing tool. For example, what is meant by 'commute' when you have it checked? Does that mean you want a commute, or don't want a commute?

    1 Bahrain
    2 Bermuda
    3 Singapore
    4 Russia
    5 UAE
    6 Thailand (!)
    7 Hong Kong (!)
    8 Saudi Arabia
    9 Qatar
    10 Switzerland

    I live in America; it ranked 16th. Other than that, I found this to be inaccurate and geared toward where HSBC needs people. Spain ranked 21, and it is the most likely place I will emigrate to (provided there are jobs). Out of anywhere in Asia, HK and Thailand are the most likely places for me. But I think that is where HSBC has the broadest presence as well.

    It just didn't have enough variables to figure out anything about me.

    [Autentication is not working right now. Annoying.]

  7. @thedr9wningman: yes, some aspects are confusing. However, what I like is that it suggests which countries might closest fit your criteria; it's a starting point for investigation, particularly if you've not thought about it much. At the end of the day, I'm pretty happy with the Netherlands, though it was much further down the list than the other countries. The Explorer tool has no way to judge your appreciation of culture.

  8. Thank you for this fun website! This would have been great to use when I left the US. However, I live in Thailand now and think it’s a fantastic country. There are good employment opportunities for foreigners, the weather is great (if you hate winter like me), and the country is relatively safe. It’s cheap to live in Thailand and possible to save money while still enjoying life, depending on your salary and where you choose to stay. Additionally, there are great services for foreigners. For example, Thailand has very good legal services available to foreign residents. Numerous Thailand law firms can be easily contacted and have experienced and qualified English-speaking lawyers that can help with anything from visa troubles to investing in real estate to criminal defense. The services offered in Thailand make it a really easy place to live. I encourage foreigners to come see for themselves!