UK Has Entertainment X-Factor for Expats

By Hsbc Bank International, PRNE
Thursday, November 4, 2010

LONDON, November 5, 2010 -

    Key findings

    - UK offers the best entertainment in the world for expats
    - Thailand is the best place to live as an expat followed by Canada (2nd)
      and Bahrain (3rd)
    - Career prospects and quality of life don't go hand in hand for expats
    - Emotive dilemmas top the list of expat concerns - especially for female

HSBC Bank International today reveals that the UK offers the best
entertainment in the world for expats according to the 2010 Expat Experience
report, the second from this year's Expat Explorer Survey.

Now in its third year, Expat Explorer is the largest survey of its kind,
surveying over 4,100 expats from more than 100 countries. Expat Experience
explores the lifestyle experiences of expats while they live and work abroad
as determined by 29 factors, including:

    - Improvement in a number of quality of life factors such as food/diet,
      entertainment, healthcare, work life balance and social life

    - Ease of setting up finances, healthcare and utilities

    - Ease of integration such as enjoying the local food and local culture

UK offers the best entertainment in the world for expats

This year's findings show that the UK presents somewhat of a dilemma for
expats who have relocated there, having several positive factors but also
some negative aspects.

Despite ranking 20th in the overall experience league table, the UK
ranked top globally in terms of entertainment with 69% of expats agreeing
that they enjoyed the local entertainment on offer, such as music and films.
Furthermore many expats find the UK an easy country in which to integrate
(ranked 9th out of 25), a finding driven mainly by the fact that UK based
expats find it easy to adapt to the local language and to communicate when
they arrive, which is unsurprising considering 70% of expats moving to the UK
already speak the local language.

However, despite these positives, the UK scored worst for all countries
on expats' quality of accommodation and the commute to work, compared with
their country of origin. The good old British weather was also cited as a
reason why expats struggled to feel at home in the UK - perhaps due to the
fact that many originate from warmer climates.

UK expats quality of life has also been impacted by the relatively poor
economic outlook. High living costs and reduced career opportunities have had
a negative impact on the economic situation of many UK-based expats, even
though the country was the highest scoring European country in our 2010 Expat
Economics report.

Lisa Wood, Head of Customer Propositions at HSBC Bank International,
comments: "As we found in last year's report, the UK offers expats the
opportunity to experience great entertainment, with an interesting music
scene and a great investment into the arts and culture which obviously expats
moving to the country take great advantage of. In addition, expats moving
here give the country a positive score for ease of integration, which shows
it is also clearly a place that expats feel they can instantly become a real
part of the local community."

Career prospects and quality of life don't go hand in hand for expats

The majority of expats (57%) cited career opportunities and increased
financial gain as key motivations to move to a new country. However, the
choice to move to a country that offers great benefits financially often
means moving to a destination with a lower quality of life.

While Saudi Arabia (85%), Qatar (83%) and Russia (76%) are the most
popular destinations for expats motivated by financial gain and increased
career progression, these countries typically score very low on quality of
life rankings (Saudi Arabia 20th, Qatar 19th and Russia 24th out of 25).

In contrast, expats moving to countries that score well on the quality of
life league table such as South Africa (3rd), Spain (6th) and France (7th),
are much less appealing to those looking for increased career progression and
financial gain. Less than one in five (18%) expats moving to Spain did so to
improve their earning potential, alongside 26% in France and 40% in South

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Expats in Bahrain and
Bermuda both scored particularly well for quality of life, scoring 2nd and
5th respectively on the quality of life league table, while also scoring
within the top quartile of the 2010 Expat Economics league table (3rd and 4th

Nick Winsor, CEO at HSBC Bank International, comments: "Expats decide to
move abroad for a number of reasons and this year's report highlights the
importance of gaining as much insight as possible as to what to expect from a
move to a completely new destination. Prior planning and researching new
locations is therefore crucial to ensure the new destination lives up to
everything that those moving to a new destination were hoping to achieve and
to secure a seamless transition from country to country, especially for those
with families to consider."

Emotive dilemmas top the list of expat concerns - especially female

Emotive concerns such as re-establishing a social life (41%), feeling
lonely and missing friends and family (34%) were the top worries amongst
expats ahead of relocation. These worries were greatest amongst female
expats. Nearly half of female expats surveyed (48%) admitted concerns about
re-establishing their social life in their new country ahead of relocation,
compared to only 37% of men. Meanwhile 44% of female expats shared concerns
about missing their friends and family, compared to less than one third (29%)
of men.

Lisa Wood, Head of Customer Propositions at HSBC Bank International

"Although moving to a new country is undoubtedly going to provide some
logistical obstacles as expats look to move their worldly possessions from
continent to continent, it seems these challenges do not cause expats any
major concerns.

In fact, emotive worries are the biggest concerns for expats, especially
amongst women. We've found that many female expats undertake a move as a
result of their partner being posted abroad through their employment. As a
result, they often have to assume full responsibility to set up their family
and their partner in their new home and are often the one making the majority
of the arrangements prior to move and once they've arrived. This extra strain
can explain the fact that women may well miss their friends and family more
once they move and highlight their desire to re-establish a new social life
fairly quickly."

For those heading to Mainland Europe language barriers appeared to be the
largest issue. While one third of expats shared concerns about learning the
local language, this figure was particularly high for expats heading to
mainland Europe, such as Germany (59%), Switzerland (58%), France (57%), the
(55%), Spain (50%) and Belgium (46%).

Unsurprisingly, very few expats heading to these destinations spoke the
same language in their home country, which can account for the difficulty
they faced on their move (Germany 5%, Switzerland 13%, France 6%, Netherlands
3%, Spain 4% and Belgium 9%).

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Notes to editors:

About the Expat Explorer survey

Expat Explorer was commissioned by HSBC Bank International Ltd and
conducted by third party research company GfK. 4,127 expats were questioned
through an online survey from 26th April 2010 to the 7th June 2010, with
expats from over 100 countries worldwide taking part - making it unique and
the largest survey of its kind. Please note that the sampling technique used
for the 2010 survey does not claim to give a fully representative sample of
all expatriates. In addition, it differs substantially from the sampling
technique used in 2009. Therefore, comparisons of results year on year are
not statistically valid and have been made for illustrative purposes only.

A sample size of 30 or more respondents from each country was required
for inclusion in the league tables, in order to be considered robust and
indicative of the views and trends of the specific population it relates to.
The league tables are based on a series of interrelated factors (rather than
a single factor or question) to ensure a fair assessment of how individual
countries rate across the full criteria. The responses of those who responded
"not applicable" or "refuse to say" have been excluded.

About Expat Experience

Expat Experience is the second of three reports to be produced
from the Expat Explorer research. The report focuses on expats' experiences
of setting up in the new country of residence, integrating into local society
as well as their quality of life in comparison to where they used to live.

A league table has been compiled using a substantial set of
sub-criteria (29 in total) to reveal which locations expats voted as the
places with the best life experience. These sub-criteria are grouped into 3
main factors: setting up, integrating and quality of life. Each sub-criterion
is equally weighted to arrive at a score for each factor.

Scores from each factor are then weighted to arrive at an Overall 'Expat
Experience' Score and Overall Rank. The weighting applied is as follows:
setting up - 16.7%, integration - 16.7% and quality of life - 66.7%.

One of the major criteria was 'quality of life' for which
expats rated accommodation, food/diet, entertainment, healthcare, work life
balance, social life, commute to work, opportunities for sports and travel.
In addition, they also rated the relative ease in which they were able to do
the following in their new country of residence:

    - Organise schools for their children
    - Set up finances; healthcare; utilities
    - Find accommodation
    - Learn the local language
    - Get used to local food; weather; work culture
    - Make friends
    - Travel around locally
    - Fit in to the new culture/lifestyle (in general)

Lastly, they were asked to indicate how well they were integrating into
the local society. This was judged on whether they agreed with the following
for their new country of residence:

    - I enjoy having local food rather than having food from my home country
      all the time
    - I am happy to experience local culture
    - I try to learn / use the local language
    - It is easy for me to make local friends
    - I am integrating well in the local community
    - I feel welcome at work
    - I like shopping for local produce in the local shops / markets

HSBC Holdings plc

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered
in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 8,000 offices in
87 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North
, Latin America and the Middle East. With assets of US$2,418 billion
at 30 June 2010, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial
services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as 'the world's local

HSBC Bank International

HSBC Bank International is an award winning provider of offshore
financial services, with its head office based in Jersey, Channel Islands. It
also has representation in the Isle of Man, Dubai, Hong Kong, South Africa,
and an affiliate office in London. As part of HSBC Holdings plc, HSBC Bank
International has the experience to offer customers living and working
abroad, tailored offshore financial solutions. For more information visit:

    Media enquiries to:
    Katy Ringsodre
    PR Manager
    HSBC Bank International

    Karen Butcher / Nick Woods
    Hill & Knowlton
    +44(0)207-413-3181 /3515

Media enquiries to: Katy Ringsodre, PR Manager, HSBC Bank International, +44(0)1534-606865, katy.ringsdore at; Karen Butcher / Nick Woods, Hill & Knowlton, +44(0)207-413-3181 /3515, Karen.Butcher at, Nick.Woods at

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