Top high-earning locations for Expats



Why Expats leave Dubai?

Expats face difficult times! The global economic situation remains far from positive and prosperous, prompting many people to consider a move overseas in a bid to escape the worst of the financial doom and gloom in their own home countries.

Picking the right destination to relocate to, it is not an easy decision and should be carefully planned, with a minimum amount of risk in consideration.

Many countries have survived the ravages of economic recessions and downturns, therefore expats need to do a whole lot of homework before choosing where exactly to move. The HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey results for 2011  reveal the top 5 countries where expats currently earn more money to spend and enjoy.

Saudi Arabia

Expats in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoy attractive employment packages and have significantly strong disposable income. This is because salaries are non-taxable and there is no many spending opportunities. Expat packages normally include accommodation or reimbursement toward accommodation, which leaves lot more money from the monthly salary for expats to save. Getting paid for the educational expenses for children, which some companies include in the package is just icing on the cake. Plane tickets and health insurances are mandatory. Executive staff enjoys even more pampering benefits.

Another reason why expats report strong disposable income levels in the Kingdom is that there is less for them to spend their money on locally. Saudi Arabia, unlike Dubai for example, is not a party capital. Individuals and families working in Saudi Arabia often prefer to travel somewhere else to spend their money.


Interestingly, Egypt scores exceptionally well in the Expat Economics survey; in the Expat Experience survey, less so. The grim political scene is a major contributing factor in this regard and with people attaching priority to personal security, for instance, there have been adverse effects nationwide.

Expats living in Egypt cite strong salary options, strong disposable income, and rather than splurging their excess wealth, they are far more likely to save their money. Again, perhaps, this is because of the instability that Egypt is presently facing. It does not offer an environment where expats would think of staying for the medium- to long-term—at least for the time being.


Singapore is a high-paying, high-earning location, where expats also benefit from lower levels of taxation. They end up having more disposable income as a result, but the cost of living in Singapore can be very high and demanding. This means while Singapore reached No. 2 in terms of nations where expats’ incomes are highest, it dropped down a notch as soon as affordability was brought into the equation. Expenses over accommodation and education are exceedingly high which undoubtedly punch multiple holes in expats’ pockets.


Russia scored particularly high for income levels and disposable income levels, with expats reporting that on many levels, affording a decent standard of living in Russia was eminently achievable.

However, there is a very noticeable discrepancy between salary levels for jobs in different sectors. In certain sectors, expats in Russia might find high-paying jobs with limited salary options. Therefore, if you’re looking at Russia, make sure your salary expectations are realistic!


Switzerland has a lot in common with Singapore for expats in terms of money matters, but it is highly competitive. It’s a nation with high salaries and low taxes, where expats enjoy strong disposable income. However, the cost of living does take a toll on your savings; from accommodation to groceries, from education to healthcare, costs are universally high. On the other hand, the high life standard has its benefits.


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