When it comes to quality of lifestyle, Canada is the top destination for expats, according to HSBC Bank International. Following Canada as a desirable location for expats is Australia and Thailand in the number 2 and 3 spots. Expats rated qualities such as accommodation, food, entertainment, social and family life, education, childcare, healthcare, household goods, working hours and commuting distances, health, hobbies, among other things. Canada was also highly rated when it came to such issues as making friends and integrating easily into their new communities.
According to the study, the top ten locations for expats determined by quality of life are:
• South Africa
• United States
• Hong Kong
The United Kingdom scored very poorly in the votes regarding quality of life, and was at the bottom of the list of considered countries. Canada also scored very highly when it came to:
• Enrolling children into the Canadian public school system;
• Being able to set up finances, utilities and healthcare in their new country;
• Finding a new place to live;
• Learning the local language;
• Making friends not only with other expats, but with local residents.
Over half the expats that participated in this study have lived abroad for more than five years. Canada placed third in regards to countries for settling down; South Africa and Thailand are first and second. Expats under the age of 35 are most likely to return home at least once a year; three-quarters of those surveyed make at least an annual trip home. Those expats who live in Brazil are most likely to go home at least once a year, according to almost 94% of those surveyed. The study also showed that the longer an expat has remained in their adoptive country, the less likely they are to return home. Only one third of expats who have lived away from their original country for 10 years or more reported they have not gone home for more than 2 years.
One of the factors that expats consider when choosing a new country is the quality and cost of healthcare in their adoptive country. While Canada does provide basic, free healthcare for all of its legal residents and/or citizens, newcomers to Canada may face a 3 month waiting period when they first arrive before they are eligible to receive their provincial health card. In order to avoid costly medical bills during these 3 months, outside health insurance is recommended. In some provinces a simple visit to a walk-in clinic can start at $50.00 just for an initial examination and does not include prescription medications, further follow-up medical care, etc. Visitors to Canada insurance is an ideal health insurance plan to bridge this gap in order to have optimal health coverage during those months where the newcomer is uninsured.