France doesn’t attract business expats anymore

France has dropped to 27 position in the desirability stakes in a recent expat survey by HSBC of over 30 countries, despite ranking 13th for quality of life.


France is no longer considered a good destination for an expat life by professional people. The rankings are now dominated by South-East Asian destinations which offer much more job opportunities in the current economic context. According the analysis of HSBC, France arrives 27th out of 30 for its average salary, purchasing power, cultural life, education and living conditions offered to non-residents. Actually, for a third of the expats surveyed it is more complicated to live and work in France than before. “They see a decline in the country’s economic climate since the crisis. For instance, wages are lower than in Middle Orient and yet taxes to pay are higher.” explained Francois Moreau, Chief Operating Officer, Retail Banking and Wealth Management of HSBC to 20minutes, a French newspaper.

This trend will probably strengthen in the future as 48% of the expats admit to being worried about the future of the French economic situation. However, the majority of those already living in France (69%) plan to stay in the country. People relocate in France because they are looking for a good lifestyle and cultural activities. In fact, France ranks number 13 in terms of quality of life for expats, far in front Belgium (#17) and Italy (#21). John Busby of French Private Finance said, “ In spite of this report, the proximity of France to the UK will continue to attract Brits looking to improve their lifestyle. We still see many buyers who are working for large international companies who are looking to relocate to France to take advantage of the cheaper real estate costs and quality of life. If you are in a role where you can work from home, it is easy to see the attraction of buying a cheap place in rural France, whilst renting out the more expensive property in the UK and perhaps even covering the cost of the mortgage in France. The high demand for rental property in the UK combined with the soft property market in France and the ultra-low French mortgage rates which can be fixed at 3.60% for 20 years make a compelling picture for those in the right circumstances”.

Singapore offers expat professionals the best combination, with high salaries as more than half of the expats living there earn more than $200,000 per annum, followed by Bermuda and Thailand. Switzerland is the only European country to be in the top 10 best countries for expats according to the annual survey conducted by HSBC Expat Explorer of 5,339 expats across the world.

1.    Singapore
2.    Bermuda
3.    Thailand
4.    Hong Kong
5.    Cayman Islands
6.    Mexico
7.    China
8.    Switzerland
9.    Bahrain
10.  Vietnam