3 big reasons why people choose to stay in South Africa

Quality of life, career progress and the climate are the top reasons why people move to South Africa for work, according to the latest expat report by HSBC.

The survey looked at the views of those who relocate for work, and provides authoritative insights into these people’s attitudes, behaviours and opinions on the financial, social and family aspects of the markets they live in.

The top five countries for expats in the latest league table are Switzerland, Singapore, Canada, Spain and New Zealand.

Overall, South Africa was ranked at number 30, with the country’s ranking ranging between 35 in 2015 and 27 in 2018.

Reasons to stay 

The survey showed that 40% of expats living in South Africa named improving quality of life as a reason for moving here, just under a quarter (23%) said they moved due to career progress, and 19% moved because of the climate.

Before moving to South Africa, 33% of 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%),” HSBC said.

“The latest league table confirms the relative attractiveness of South Africa in terms of quality of life and climate,” said 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,” he said.

Best places to move

The latest global league table of best places to live and work saw Switzerland take the top ranking from Singapore after four consecutive years at the top.

An improved quality of life and highly competitive salaries, coupled with stunning surroundings, have seen the country take the top spot for the first time, climbing from eighth place last year.

82%t of those in Switzerland say they have seen an improvement in their quality of life since moving there. 70% say the surroundings are cleaner and more pleasant than in their home country and 42%t feel physically healthier since moving, above the global average of 33%.

Other populations include:

  • Singapore – Singapore is the best destination in the world for those moving with children. With a bilingual education system, which sees all children taught in English while their mother tongues are taught separately, 62 per cent of those who moved there say the schooling system in Singapore is better than in their home country, while 69 per cent laud their children’s ability to learn new languages in the schools;
  • Canada – A consistently high performer, Canada is the second most welcoming country in the world to foreign visitors, behind just Turkey. It is no surprise then, that 80 per cent of respondents in Canada say the quality of life is better there than it was at home, compared to the global average of 65 per cent. This welcoming atmosphere inspires a long-term approach. Seventy-five per cent of foreign professionals keep the majority of their wealth in the country, the highest proportion of anywhere in the league table;
  • Spain –  Up 10 places this year, visitors say Spain’s relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle provides the best quality of life in the world. Few people move to Spain with career progression in mind, but 67% see an improvement to their work life balance after moving there. With a great lifestyle and plenty of time to enjoy it, Spain has come out as the best country in the world for improving mental wellbeing;
  • New Zealand –  A popular destination when it comes to new experiences away from work, nearly three fifths (57 per cent) of people moved to New Zealand to improve their quality of life and 60% say they have stayed for longer than intended because of the improvement they experienced. In fact, those who move to New Zealand are the most likely to stay in their new country for over 20 years.

Read: Here are 24 of the richest people in South Africa

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3 big reasons why people choose to stay in South Africa