50 costliest places for expats to live, work

50 costliest places for expats to live, work

A visitor stands along the promenade in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Hong Kong, China, on June 28, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)
A visitor stands along the promenade in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Hong Kong, China, on June 28, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive place for employees sent abroad to work, according to a new study comparing the prices of 200 goods and products in more than 400 cities.

Switzerland was hot on Hong Kong’s heels, with four cities — Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern — ranking second to fifth place respectively in Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey 2022.

Three other Asian Cities — Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing — made the top 10, filling 8th, 9th and 10th spots respectively. High rankings for many Asian cities were driven by inflation and strong currencies, the management consultancy said in its report.

A visitor photographs the city skyline from Ankara castle at dusk in Ankara, Turkey, on May 31, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)

At the other end of the table, the cheapest places for expats to live were Turkey’s Ankara, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Dushanbe in Tajikistan.

Elsewhere, Mercer reported:

Israel’s Tel Aviv, in 6th place, is the priciest place in the Middle East  

New York City, 7th, is the most expensive city in the Americas.

London came in at number 15.

The City of London financial district is seen in London on Oct 22, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)

Four Chinese cities made the top 20, propelled by the strong yuan.

Japanese and Korean cities became relatively more affordable due to weaker currencies.

The report said global issues including Covid-19, war in Ukraine, exchange rate fluctuations and widespread inflation were affecting employees’ salaries and savings, while the number of professionals relocating to Asia over the past 18 months had fallen.

Tracey Ma, Mercer’s Regional Mobility Leader for Asia Pacific, said a talent shortage in developed countries, which rely heavily on foreign workers, could become an issue exacerbated by higher living costs.

“International assignment patterns are evolving faster than before,” said Ma. She added that the rise of remote and flexible work means companies need to rethink their approach to managing a global workforce to attract and retain talent while ensuring cost efficiency.

Mercer measured the comparative cost of more than 200 things — including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment — to come up with its ranking.

Here are the top 50 most expensive cities for foreign workers:

Hong Kong, China

Zurich, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland

Tel Aviv, Israel

New York City, US


People sit along the steps next to the Merlion statue along the Marina Bay waterfront in Singapore on June 1, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Tokyo, Japan

Beijing, China

Copenhagen, Denmark

Shanghai, China

Shenzhen, China

Seoul, South Korea

London, UK

Nassau, Bahamas

Los Angeles, US

Guangzhou, China

San Francisco, US

Honolulu, US

Vienna, Austria

Qingdao, China

Bangui, Central African Republic

Libreville, Gabon

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Nanjing, China

Oslo, Norway

Taipei, Taiwan

Washington DC, US

Boston, US

Dubai, UAE

Flamingoes gather at the Ras al-Khor wildlife sanctuary in Dubai with the city skyline seen in the background, on June 21, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Miami, US

Munich, Germany

Busan, South Korea

Paris, France

Chicago, US

Osaka, Japan

Victoria, Seychelles

Brussels, Belgium

Shenyang, China


Atlanta, US

Helsinki, Finland

Chengdu, China

Seattle, US

Berlin, Germany

The Hague, Netherlands

Milan, Italy

Dublin, Ireland

Yokohama, Japan

Kofukuji Matsubara shopping street in Yokohama, Japan, on April 17, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)

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