Bank’s survey says Philippines is 24th best place in the world for expats

expats in the Philippines
A view of the Makati skyline via Wikimedia Commons.

The Philippines has bounced back to 24th place in a global bank’s survey of the best countries to live and work for expats.

This result in HSBC bank’s 2019 Expat Explorer is an improvement on last year, when the country had slipped to 28th place in the league.


At its current position, the Philippines is only one notch behind the United States, while being above countries including the UK, Italy, China, Indonesia and Japan.

Topping the table was Switzerland, followed by Singapore and then Canada.

The top-ten was completed by Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The last of these countries had risen substantially from 19th place last year. 


The 2019 Expat Explorer survey interviewed 18,059 expatriates from all over the world to formulate its conclusions. Respondents were asked 27 questions based on criteria such as living, career opportunities and family life.

Each country that was included in the league table needed to have a minimum sample of 100 expat respondents or at least 30 expat parents.

Describing the Philippines as a place to live and work, the survey said: “With its tropical climate and steadily growing economy, the Philippines is quickly becoming one of the most popular expat destinations in Southeast Asia.

“This extensive archipelago of more than 7,000 islands has long attracted immigrants from as far afield as Spain, America and Australia. Expats moving to the Philippines today can expect to find a multicultural country influenced as much by the West as it is by the East.”

The survey released today (Monday, July 8) also contained individual pieces of advice from respondents. 

These included: 

“Just be able to roll with the punches. Know that things will change constantly and be OK with that, or you will never make it here. Know there will be frustrations, but there will also be big rewards. It’s a beautiful country.”

“Bring lots of passport-sized photos. Be patient when dealing with bureaucracy.”

“Research long and hard before you head for the Philippines… The heat, humidity and lifestyle is not for everyone.”

“Just relax and enjoy the ride – Filipino people are simply beautiful! You don’t need to bring anything except your smile.”

“In the Philippines, people tend to shy away from giving bad news — it’s important to listen to what is not being said.”

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