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These are the 50 costliest places for expats to live and work

Can you guess which countries make the list?
Image: Bloomberg

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive place for employees sent abroad to work, according to a new study comparing the prices of 200 goods and products in more than 400 cities.

Switzerland was hot on Hong Kong’s heels, with four cities — Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern — ranking second to fifth place respectively in Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey 2022.

Three other Asian Cities — Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing — made the top 10, filling 8th, 9th and 10th spots respectively. High rankings for many Asian cities were driven by inflation and strong currencies, the management consultancy said in its report.

People on the banks of Lake Zurich. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

At the other end of the table, the cheapest places for expats to live were Turkey’s Ankara, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Dushanbe in Tajikistan.

Elsewhere, Mercer reported:

  • Israel’s Tel Aviv, in 6th place, is the priciest place in the Middle East
  • New York City, 7th, is the most expensive city in the Americas
  • London came in at number 15
  • Four Chinese cities made the top 20, propelled by the strong yuan
  • Japanese and Korean cities became relatively more affordable due to weaker currencies

The report said global issues including Covid-19, war in Ukraine, exchange rate fluctuations and widespread inflation were affecting employees’ salaries and savings, while the number of professionals relocating to Asia over the past 18 months had fallen.

Tracey Ma, Mercer’s Regional Mobility Leader for Asia Pacific, said a talent shortage in developed countries, which rely heavily on foreign workers, could become an issue exacerbated by higher living costs.

“International assignment patterns are evolving faster than before” said Ma. She added that the rise of remote and flexible work means companies need to rethink their approach to managing a global workforce in order to attract and retain talent while ensuring cost efficiency.

Mercer measured the comparative cost of more than 200 things — including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment — to come up with its ranking.

Here are the top 50 most expensive cities for foreign workers:

  1. Hong Kong, China
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Basel, Switzerland
  5. Bern, Switzerland
  6. Tel Aviv, Israel
  7. New York City, US
  8. Singapore
  9. Tokyo, Japan
  10. Beijing, China
  11. Copenhagen, Denmark
  12. Shanghai, China
  13. Shenzhen, China
  14. Seoul, South Korea
  15. London, UK
  16. Nassau, Bahamas
  17. Los Angeles, US
  18. Guangzhou, China
  19. San Francisco, US
  20. Honolulu, US
  21. Vienna, Austria
  22. Qingdao, China
  23. Bangui, Central African Republic
  24. Libreville, Gabon
  25. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  26. Nanjing, China
  27. Oslo, Norway
  28. Taipei, Taiwan
  29. Washington DC, US
  30. Boston, US
  31. Dubai, UAE
  32. Miami, US
  33. Munich, Germany
  34. Busan, South Korea
  35. Paris, France
  36. Chicago, US
  37. Osaka, Japan
  38. Victoria, Seychelles
  39. Brussels, Belgium
  40. Shenyang, China
  41. Djibouti
  42. Atlanta, US
  43. Helsinki, Finland
  44. Chengdu, China
  45. Seattle, US
  46. Berlin, Germany
  47. The Hague, Netherlands
  48. Milan, Italy
  49. Dublin, Ireland
  50. Yokohama, Japan
© 2022 Bloomberg

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This says a lot more than is obvious : “ a talent shortage in developed countries, which rely heavily on foreign workers”

the developed world is basically dumb and lazy. Might be why young South Africans are grabbed by foreign companies.

Everything comes with a price: security, infrastructure and opportunity. Do we have that in JHB or CT? No. Three very productive and high earning families that I know of have left or are about to leave: Sydney, Utrecht and Florida.

Meanwhile over the weekend we have had blackouts of over four hours a day and then as a side-show of the power failures, no water for half a day – I won’t mention the baboon invasion which was the final straw in driving one of the families out.

End of comments.

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