An expatriate professional migrant is someone who voluntarily lives outside their country in order to take up a job opportunity and a better or at the very least a similar, quality of life with the intention returning to their home country and do not therefore consider themselves to be local in their host country.
This survey by Xpatulator.com is based on expatriate professional migrant spending focusing on “international” brands and premium service providers such as up-market medical practices, international schools, and exclusive, secure accommodation. The cost of living information is used by Xpatulator.com subscribers to calculate cost of living differences between global home and host locations for expatriate professional migrants. Cost of living differences are key to calculating expatriate salary packages for international assignments.
In assessing how much to pay an expatriate, it is important to take into account the relative hardship, in terms of quality of living differences between locations, and assesses the relative level of difficulty that will be experienced in adapting to a new location. In selecting the 10 cheapest cities, only the lowest hardship ranked cities were included, resulting in a list of the cheapest and best quality of living cities.
Xpatulator.com's quarterly survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational organizations determine appropriate compensation and allowances for their expatriate employees. The survey data uses New York as the base city, and all countries and cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. However subscribers can choose their own base city, host locations and currency. The reason why the survey is run quarterly is due to currency fluctuations and the impact of inflation on goods and services that influence the cost of expatriate programs as well as the rankings.
The 10 cheapest low hardship cities for expatriate professional migrants as at August 2016 for all expat basket items from most cheap to less cheap are as follows:
1. Lodz (Poland-Europe)
Lodz is the third-largest city in Poland. Lodz benefits from its central location in Poland. Recent years has seen many foreign companies opening offices in Lodz. The official language is Polish. It is a Slavonic language, learning a few basic words of Polish will be appreciated. Many Poles speak German and some also speak a little French. English is becoming increasingly common, particularly among the younger generation. Most shops, restaurants and hotels in Warsaw have English-speaking staff. The main religion is Christianity. The security risk for expatriates in Poland is low. Risks include low levels of petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching, and harassment of visibly minority groups. Banking is on par with that of Western Europe and North America. Medical facilities are good and private medical facilities are comparatively inexpensive. Tick-borne encephalitis is common..
2. Krakow (Poland-Europe)
Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Krakow has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. The economy of Poland is considered to be one of the healthiest economies of the post-communist countries, and is currently the fastest growing country within the EU. The security risk for expatriates in Poland is low. Risks include low levels of petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching, and harassment of visibly minority groups.
3. Warsaw (Poland-Europe)
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. Warsaw is home to many national institutions and government agencies, as well as to many domestic and international companies. Warsaw produces 12% of Poland's national income. Warsaw has the biggest concentration of electronics and high-tech industry in Poland.
4. Port Elizabeth (South Africa-Africa)
Port Elizabeth is situated in the Eastern Cape Province. Port Elizabeth is home of South Africa's motor vehicle industry, Port Elizabeth boasts most vehicle assembly plants and many more automotive companies. Most other industries in the NMMM are geared towards the motor vehicle industry, providing parts such as wiring harnesses, catalytic converters, batteries and tyres to the vehicle manufacturers. Port Elizabeth is also a major seaport, with the most significant ore loading facilities in the southern hemisphere. As part of the on-going development, a new Industrial Development Zone with expanded port facilities is being built at Coega. The security risk for expatriates in South Africa is medium overall, but high near deprived urban areas. Risks include high levels of violent crime, high rate of murder, high rate of rape (adult, child and infant), carjacking, poorly maintained vehicles, erratic driving standards, corruption at all levels, interruptions to electricity and water supplies and violent protests (usually related to poor service provision).
5. Budapest (Hungary-Europe)
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, Budapest serves as the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre and is considered an important hub in Central Europe. The official language is Hungarian. English or German are widely spoken in business circles. Employees of smaller and rural companies often do not speak English, in which case an interpreting service needs to be arranged. It is not expected that foreigners know any Hungarian words. The main religion is Christianity. The security risk for expatriates in Hungary is low. Risks include street crime (mainly in Budapest) such as pickpockets and scam artists, vehicle theft and burglary as well as Xenophobic behaviour mostly directed at the Roma community. The currency of Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). Medical facilities are adequate however the cost of treatment for expatriates from outside the EU can be high.
6. Durban (South Africa-Africa)
Durban is the third largest city in South Africa. Durban is famous as the busiest port in Africa. It is also a major centre of tourism due to the city's warm subtropical climate and beaches. The currency of South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). Banking is on a par with that of Western Europe and North America. There is a high incidence of credit card fraud and fraud involving ATMs. Private medical facilities are good, however the cost of treatment for expatriates can be high. There is a high prevalence of HIV. The population of Durban is 3.4 Million (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 6.1% (2016 est.).
7. Klang (Malaysia-Asia-Pacific)
Klang is the royal city and former capital of the state of Selangor. The port of Klang, which is located in the Klang District, is the 13th busiest transhipment port and the 16th busiest container port in the world. The security risk for expatriates in Malaysia is low to medium. Risks include street crime, armed robbery, kidnapping, and the underlying threat of terrorism. The currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). Banking is on a par with that of Western Europe and North America. Medical facilities are good, however the cost of private care treatment for expatriates can be high. Dengue fever is common. Some states are rabies infected. The population of Klang is 861,000 (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 2% (2016 est.).
8. Gaborone (Botswana-Africa)
Gaborone, is the capital and largest city of Botswana. Gaborone is the centre of the national economy. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has its headquarters in Gaborone. The climate is semi arid with warm winters and hot summers. The official languages are English and Setswana. Most people in urban areas speak English. The main religions are Christianity and indigenous beliefs. The security risk for expatriates in Botswana is low. Risks include low levels of petty crime and corruption. The population of Gaborone is 232,000 (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 2.8% (2016 est.).
9. Subang Jaya (Malaysia-Asia-Pacific)
Subang Jaya is a suburban city in the Klang Valley. Subang Jaya is primarily residential and is a known for shopping, tourism and higher education. Malaysia is a multicultural society, however the Malays, who are Muslims, are the majority. A great deal of importance is placed on status in Malaysia. It is important for expatriates to dress and behave with discretion and to treat others with respect. It is important to use titles, such as ‘Datuk' or ‘Tan Sri' or the hereditary title 'Tengku' when addressing the holders of such titles. Expatriate business dress is typically a business suit for men and women, alternatively women may wear a skirt that covers the knees and a high-necked blouse. The security risk for expatriates in Malaysia is low to medium. Risks include street crime, armed robbery, kidnapping, and the underlying threat of terrorism. Medical facilities are good, however the cost of private care treatment for expatriates can be high. The population of Subang Jaya is 708,000 (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 2% (2016 est.).
10. Port Louis (Mauritius-Africa)
Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. It is the largest city of the country and main port. The economy of Port Louis is dominated by its port, which handles Mauritius' international trade. Manufacturing is dominated by clothing and textiles, but also includes chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. English is the most commonly spoken language in both business and government. Expatriate business dress is relatively casual, however lightweight materials are recommended, given the warm climate. Good private medical facilities are available but can be expensive. The population of Port Louis is 148,000 (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 0.8% (2016 est.).
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