Costing The Price Of Living Overseas For Expat Workers

Expats thinking about a new assignment can access key cost of living information about more than 200 global cities to help in negotiating salaries and expenses.

A new online interactive guide from human resources firm Mercer compares data about the cost of goods and services for companies and employees costing a move overseas.

Hong Kong is the most expensive expat destination, according to the company’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey.

Windhoek, Namibia, (209), Cape Town (208), and Bishkek (207), the capital of Kyrgyzstan, are ranked as the cheapest cities.

Cities in Switzerland all rank as the most expensive in Europe.

A number of African cities rank at the top of the listings – Luanda, Angola (2), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (6) and N’Djamena, the capital of Chad (9).

The extra cost of transporting typical expat purchases to these cities in countries with poor road and rail networks is blamed for pushing up prices for workers on assignment.

“Despite technology advances, companies still want to put expat bodies on the ground to manage projects,” said a Mercer spokesman.

“Keeping an eye on costs is important for employers and expats to make sure salary and benefit packages are fair to both sides.”

Most expensive expat cities

The most expensive cities in each region were (Ranking in brackets):

  • Americas – New York (11) was top for North America with Vancouver (142) the most expensive in Canada.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, (41) led the rankings for South America.

  • Europe, the Middle East and Africa – Switzerland was the most expensive country in Europe, while Tel Aviv, Israel, (19) came top for the Middle East. Dubai (21) and Abu Dhabi (25) in the United Arab Emirates ranked close behind.

African cities took second place –Luanda – while Windhoek, Namibia (209) was bottom of the table. Seven of the cheapest and three of the most expensive cities are in Africa.

  • Asia Pacific – Hong Kong (1) and Singapore (4) were among the most expensive, while Bangkok, Thailand (74), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (151) and Hanoi, Vietnam (106) were a lot cheaper.

Mumbai (82) is the most expensive Indian city, while Sydney (42) was top for Australia.

Expats can view an interactive database of the results by region or city online.

Below is a list of some related articles, guides and insights that you may find of interest.

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