In 2022, these will be the most expensive places to work abroad

The most expensive city to live and work overseas is Hong Kong this year, according to a new report that highlights the impact of rising living costs and worsening macroeconomic trends on expats.

The city rose one spot in Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living index to regain pole position after being bumped down to second place by Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in 2021. The Asian financial hub has been ranked as the most expensive place for overseas workers for the fourth time in five years.

Rising inflation has pushed living costs higher across the globe, which may have contributed to Hong Kong’s resurgence. Additionally, the ongoing Covid restrictions and increased political volatility have made it more expensive to compensate staff posted there,

It’s partly due to the real estate market,” said Cordova, noting that desirable accommodation has become more expensive, pushing up expat package prices.

The other part is the cost of goods and services, as well as political uncertainty. “The people who are going to live there will need to spend more to live well,” he said.

As a result of the loss of political and cultural freedoms, the city fell 13 places in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index 2022 last week.

Hong Kong was the Asian outlier in Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living Index. Zurich, Switzerland, was the world’s second most expensive city for overseas workers, followed by Geneva (3rd), Basel (4th) and Bern (5th).

In Mercer’s report, the Swiss franc held steady against a rising U.S. dollar, thanks to its strength.

How it works
It measures accommodation costs and the price of goods and services within local markets versus the relative price in New York City to assist companies and governments in determining pay packages for expatriate employees.

In this year’s index, the prices of more than 200 items – from categories such as food, transportation, housing, and personal care – are taken into account as of March 2022.

According to Cordova, unlike previous years’ reports, the 2022 report noted an increase in remote work, with more companies using it as a tool when determining their flexible working policies.

It was one of the consequences of the pandemic that more people now ask employers if they can work from anywhere, he said.

“Companies now want information about the economic impact of that relocation, and that’s why mobility is growing,” he says.

The following is a list of the 10 most expensive cities for expats, according to Mercer’s findings.

The most expensive cities for expats
Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR)
Zurich, Switzerland
Geneva, Switzerland
Basel, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland
Tel Aviv, Israel
New York City, United States
Singapore, Singapore
Tokyo, Japan
Beijing, China

The least expensive city to work abroad was Ankara, Turkey (227th), followed by Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (226th), Dushanbe, Tajikistan (225th), Islamabad, Pakistan (224th) and Karachi, Pakistan (223rd).).

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