Russia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are home to the wealthiest expats, with Eurozone countries falling behind when it comes to paying for foreign expertise, according to a survey of expats.
The third annual report commissioned by HSBC Bank International found finances among expats were generally positive with two-thirds, or 66 percent, saying they have more disposable income to save and invest since moving abroad.
But the survey found expats in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Singapore enjoyed the greatest wealth overall, having higher salaries, more disposable income and more luxury items like swimming pools, properties and yachts.
Expats in Russia topped the list for the second consecutive years with a third, or 36 percent, reporting earnings of over $250,000 a year – compared to two-thirds, or 62 percent, of expats in Spain earning below $60,000.
HSBC spokeswoman Lisa Wood said the survey, conducted by research company GfK, showed the wealth gap was widening between the east and west, with expats in emerging economies leaving their counterparts in the Eurozone behind.
“The BRIC economies have fared well over the last year and as a result we’ve seen that these expat locations are particularly strong when it comes to expat finances,” Wood said in a statement.
“Eurozone countries were the worst-performing when looking at purely financial criteria and subsequently all featured in the bottom quartile of our league table.”
Wood added it was not surprising that ongoing volatility in the Eurozone region was a major contributor to this and was driving expats to seek jobs in countries with higher salaries.
The Expat Economic survey, part of HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey of 4,100 expats from 100 countries, ranked 25 countries on scores linked to annual income, monthly disposable income, and a measure of defined luxuries.
When it came to salaries, the survey found that about 13 percent of expats globally earned $250,000 a year or more.
Russia topped this table followed by Singapore and Bermuda with 32 percent and 27 percent of expats respectively earning this amount.
Mainland Europe took the lowest positions on the table.
While only one quarter, or 26 percent, of global expats on average earn less than $60,000, the survey found 62 percent of expats living in Spain earn below that amount, 47 percent of expats in France and the Netherlands, and 45 percent in Germany.
But Wood said this could largely be explained by the high number of expats who choose to retire in mainland Europe.
One in five expats say they are able to pay off debt while working abroad but workers in Britain and Australia are most likely to be accumulating more debt, at 11 percent and nine percent respectively.