Canada tops expat ratings for ‘quality of life'
Canada has topped the expat ratings for ‘quality of life' experience according to the fourth annual NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) Quality of Life Index. The majority (92%) rated Canada top for of its diverse environment, natural beauty and its resources. For 94% of expats living there, the peaceful nature of the country is a real draw.
The Canadian appeal
Canada leads the G7 in terms of the safest place to live and conduct business with the most fairly administered judicial system. It was the leading performer among the hard-hit G7 developed economies during the global recession, helped by its sound banking system and the fact it avoided the property crash seen in the United States and much of Europe.
Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been in the top three countries for the past four years with mean scores within close proximity of each other, reveals the NatWest IPB Quality of Life Index which was undertaken in conjunction with think tank Centre of Future Studies.
As well as the country's natural beauty and peaceful reputation, Canada's healthcare system is well regarded by expats living there - rated high by 90%. Furthermore high standards of education are enjoyed by expats in Canadian Schools and Universities (86% of respondents); the country was ranked 5th in the world in the 2008 OECD report. Canada has the highest percentage of individuals achieving at least college or university education among the top 50 countries surveyed by the World Competitiveness Yearbook, 2009.
Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking comments: "This is the second year Canada has topped the tables of the NatWest IPB Quality of Life Index. Its excellent working conditions, financial security and peaceful reputation have pushed Canada into this year's pole position. It seems the pull of the beautiful Rockies, the Mounties and the marvelous taste of maple syrup is a real sticking point for British expats.
"As a member of the Commonwealth, Canada offers Brits common values and goals shared with the UK, helping British expats settle into the country and feel at home."
The Canadian economy
The majority (92%) of expats living in Canada rated their working environment as very good or excellent. Expats from around the world now account for more than 70% of the whole Canadian labour force growth and, by 2030, will account for all population growth. Canada‘s recent expatriate intake has been double those of the United States, with priority given to high-skill workers.
Canadians getting richer
For the majority (90%) of expats in Canada, financial security was rated as very good or excellent. Financial assets in Canada are up 6% from last year's levels. Household finances improved in the fourth quarter of 2010, and net worth is rising to record levels. Household net worth per capita increased to $181,700, representing the highest level on record. Canadian household net worth grew by 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $6.2 trillion. The gain pushed Canadians' net worth to a new record high, 4.1% above the pre-recession peak seen in the second quarter of 2008 and 14.6% above the recessionary trough seen in the first quarter of 2009.
Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking comments: "UK expats say they are living a more fulfilled lifestyle abroad, whilst also benefiting financially. This is particularly true for UK expats in Canada who not only say they benefit from financial security, improved cost of living and a happier working environment but a better work life balance and equal opportunities.
"British expats can make their move abroad a little easier by getting their banking needs addressed before they leave the UK - that way they can start their new lives abroad on the best foot."
British expats' income and wealth
For the wider expat community, living and working abroad enables them to earn and save more despite the current economic downturn. More than half of those living and working abroad earn between £50K - £100K. Expats based in Hong Kong have the highest salaries with close to half earning more than £100,000 a year. The factors that influence individuals' decisions on where they pursue their careers are many, but a key factor is the powerful link between earning capacity and the ability to build a nest egg. 74% of respondents claim to have increased disposable income since becoming expats.