India remains most challenging country for Expats!


There is no doubt that India is one of the toughest countries to live for expats – and the recently released Expat Explorer survey conducted by HSBC reveals exactly that. Among the 31 countries surveyed, expats have ranked India as the toughest country to live based on their experience of about 30 different parameters. The HSBC survey findings are based on survey of 3,385 expats answering questions on life overseas.

Expats experience in India on various parameters:


India’s best ranking is only a modest 10th on 2 parameters – “Social Life” and “Learning the local language”. The latter is easier because India has plenty of people who speak English, making it easier for expats to learn the local language. Also, unlike most middle east countries, India does not pose too many restrictions on social gatherings, parties and night-life ensuring that India is ranked better on “Social Life” aspect

On the other hand India ranked 25th or below on 11 parameters – and lowest at 31st on 2 parameters – Setting up utilities & Fitting in new culture.

I am surprised though with some of the findings of HSBC survey if you see some of the countries at the top of the list of being friendly with expats (Expat Experience parameter). Thailand comes at number 1 position followed by Canada and South Africa.

List of Top 10 countries for expat friendliness

top 10 countries1

The above chart is for expat experience in foreign country alone and I am surprised that United states ranks a lowly 10th while Thailand is ranked the highest on expat experience. It is also interesting to note, that most of the countries in top 10 are smaller developing nations. The worst countries on friendliness apart from India (31st) are Russia (30th), United Kingdom (29th), China (28th) and Qatar (27th).

If you consider things like Income, house, Cars, holidays, domestic help etc, which are segregated under “economies” in the survey, India does rank a modest 16th, just behind United States. The Best country for expats from “Economies” perspective is Saudi Arabia, while the worst country is Italy!

You can check out the entire Expat Explorer survey here!

  1. Phani Babu Appasani says

    hi ir h r u. iam phani from india. I want details about Macedonia.

  2. ashish says


    Being an Indian staying in Thailand “with family”, I couldn’t resist replying to your sweeping generalization about Bangkok. You may like to read a well balanced view of Thailand (by Pritish Nandy).

  3. Balaji yadhav says

    We all know what Thailand is known for……………..
    certainly not for expats living with their family. But for a good time yeah nothing beats Bangkok. The Middle East is the certainly the best as far as economic is concerned you get higher pay and ridiculously low cost of living (tax free nation ensures that) not to mention the very low crime rate.
    How in the world is South Africa in the top 3, the Crime/Rape capital of the world is the best place for Expats.You got to be kiddin me!!!!
    Again another of the vested interests survey pretending to be a scientific one.All these surveys are like Indian election exit polls ridiculously off target.

  4. Naweed Chougle says

    I'm not too sure about the reliability of most surveys. Arun, what do you think constitutes the most unbiased and sufficiently sized sample spaces?

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