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World's happiest expatriates live here (Paris)

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On top of boasting exquisite fondue, scenic beauty and world-class ski trails, Switzerland is also the best country to be an expat, according to a new survey.

HSBC (London Stock Exchange: HSBA-GB)'s Protected content Explorer Survey, published on Wednesday, surveyed over 9,000 expats across the world on quality of life, financial well-being and the ease of raising a family abroad.

"Not only are Switzerland-based expats enjoying the good climate and pleasant scenery, with the country home to the sportiest expats, but over half of the expats there also say they have a better work/life balance than they had at home," said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.

"For expat parents, they note how their children have a healthier lifestyle and overall are enjoying a better quality of life," he said.

Singapore, Southeast Asia's wealthy financial hub, clinched the second spot. The city's safety, efficiency, high-quality accommodation and vibrant food scene are top draws for expats.

"Every group lives peacefully united and in harmony with each other regardless of race, religion or color. It is simply a beautiful place to experience," an expat in Singapore told HSBC.

China: a hotspot for high salaries

In spite of abysmal air quality in many of its major cities, China ranked in third place.

The primary reason: expats in China are finding themselves with more disposable income than most other places. China is home to the largest proportion of high-earning expats in the world - almost one in four expats living earn more than $300,000 per annum compared with the global average of 5 percent.

The vibrant economic environment was another factor keeping expats happy. The mainland economy may be slowing, but its 7 percent plus growth rate far outperforms global peers.

Germany, seen as safe and stable destination for foreigners, placed fourth.

Modern and cosmopolitan, Bahrain, the archipelago of islands in the Arabian Gulf, rounded out the top five. The country's proving attractive as a destination for expats heading to the Middle East particularly for the good work/life balance, the bank said.

"The welcoming and caring local people... make you feel you are at home," an expat in Bahrain told HSBC .

Raising a family

New Zealand came sixth in the overall rankings, but was voted the best destination for raising a family abroad.

The majority of expat parents living in New Zealand commented on the improved health and well-being and safety of their children, as well as saying they are bringing up more confident and well-rounded individuals.

"Life is what you make it here - there are more opportunities for children, both educationally and socially," an expat parent in New Zealand told HSBC.

Affordable living

In Thailand, where expats said they enjoyed a lavish lifestyle at a far lower cost than in their home country, was ranked seventh.

"However much you think you need to bring with you - don't. Or bring half. What you can get here is either better or cheaper, so not worth the hassle bringing it from home," an expat in Thailand said.

The remainder of the top 10 was also located in Asia, with Taiwan, India and Hong Kong ranking in 8th, 9th and 10th place respectively.

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