Health and environmental concerns now as important for expats as salaries

Published:  11 Sep at 6 PM
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Nowadays, emigration isn’t just about high salaries and a luxury lifestyle, as health, wellbeing and the environment feature ever more strongly in would-be expats’ destination choices.

Perhaps because of the scary changes in world weather, the looming threat of global warning has raised environmental consciousness and how climate can affect health and wellbeing, especially when choices are being made as regards expat professional destinations. The rise of poor air quality in mega-cities as well as in favourite retirement locations is now a real cause for concern, with high salaries and career progression no compensation for worsening health.

This expatriate change of focus is now being seen in popular annual surveys, with the latest version crowning Finland’s health-giving environment as the best in the world for expat professionals. In addition, the Scandinavian country’s affordable healthcare was praised by 75 per cent of respondents, along with its friendly people and the general cleanliness of the country as a whole. One Russian expat praised Finland’s fresh air and clean water as compared with his home country, saying he loved living there as a result. In second place for the survey’s health and environment category was Austria, although its general ranking as an expat destination was average at best.

Some 95 per cent of expats praised Austria's environmental plus-points, including air and water, adding the quality of the two necessities is far above that of many other developed countries. A glance at the survey’s top 15 countries in the health and wellbeing subcategory reveals a majority of European states including Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Estonia and Luxembourg. Only two Asian states, Taiwan and Japan, are mentioned, and Israel and Ecuador make up the total, in spite of the fact that Southeast Asia is frequently touted as the best region for expat retirees.
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