Expensive Expat Destinations

5 Expensive Expat Destinations for Global Employers

Learn About 5 Expensive Expat Locations for Employers

There are numerous expat locations across the world; however, most of them are not affordable for expatriate living. Many of them are very expensive expat destinations for employers too as the pay packages of expat workers include remuneration, benefits, tax benefits, relocation allowances, etc. Benefits ex-pat by most expat staff includes accommodation allowances, international school tuition fees, utility services, and even cars.

Expenses for Hiring Global Expats 

Hiring global ex-pats can be an expensive affair and the costs can be more than double what a foreign professional would charge. This can be very surprising for employers, especially if the cost of living is not too high in a particular destination or country. So, employers must analyze the cost of living in various foreign locations before sending an employee to work in one of them.

Companies or employers can use tax equalization to ensure that the tax burden is almost the same for local we well as expat staff. Employers can utilize tax equalization by calculating the tax burden that an employee would have had when working locally and deducting that amount from the employee’s paychecks at various intervals. Then the employer can pay the estimated tax amount in the location or country where the employee is placed. It is also to be noted that employers can save some money if the tax burden of an expat employee is lesser in the country where he/she resides.

Countries that Pay the Most to Expat Workers

Employers are usually wary of expenses incurred on expat employees. However, the added advantages of having a global expat employee can outweigh the cost incurred. For instance, companies that are on the verge of expansion would happily take the burden of hiring expensive global expats. Here are five countries that are considered to be the most expensive expat destinations for employers:


Switzerland leads the world as the highest paying nation for expats. The average annual salary for expats in the country is $203,000. You should also expect that housing and private schooling costs will be quite expensive in Switzerland.

United States

The next name that comes in the list of highest paying countries for expats is the US. Immigrant workers earn an average annual salary of $185,119.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the third name in the list of top paying nations for expats. Expats can expect a salary of $172,678 per annum.

Hongkong china


As an expat living in China, you potentially expect to fetch a salary of $178,706 per year if you are working in mainland China. One might think this should be an inexpensive place to send or hire expatriates, but the cost of healthcare and other services for expatriates there can be quite high and as a result your foreign national staff there will probably demand a higher income level.

Beijing Expat Insurance


Expats in the UAE usually earn about $155,000 per year. Experienced expats can even demand more salaries. Cities such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai are both exciting and rewarding cities for expatriates. The salaries for expats living there are quite good as well. Note that healthcare expenses for companies employing expats in Dubai can be quite expensive.

Summing Up

Various surveys suggest that the UK is the most sought-after destination for most expats; however, currently, the number of incoming global expats in this region has gone down. ECA experts suggest that the average salary package for expatriate employees rose to GBP 311240 from the average £44,688 in the UK in recent months. Employers and companies will look for ways and means to curb their expenses related to expat workers. We will have to wait and see if countries take various measures to welcome expat workers and encourage foreign investments.

Note that if your company or organization is employing expatriates overseas, you also have to be mindful of the costs of international medical care as this critical to your duty of care, but also helps in retaining and attracting global talent. The countries noted above are not only expensive when it comes to incomes, but also with regards to international health insurance premiums as their medical costs are often quite expensive. To learn more, contact us to discuss your individual or global benefit insurance needs.

Reference Links for Expat Incomes Abroad: