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Expats in Vietnam show resilience and optimism toward the future

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Up to 83% of expats in Vietnam feel optimistic about the year ahead despite the volatility of the past 18 months, according to a study conducted by HSBC.

The 14th Expat Explorer study, a global survey of over 20,000 people who live and work abroad, reveals their global confidence to live and work abroad has not diminished.

Almost two thirds (65%) of expats feel optimistic about the year ahead despite the volatility of the past 18 months.

The key reason behind their optimism is the hope to live “normally” again (75%), but six in 10 (61%) are also feeling positive because of the quality of life they will be able to enjoy. Expats in Taiwan are the most optimistic (85%), closely followed by those in Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam (all 83%).

As the world has been in a state of flux during the pandemic, the study suggests that locations where a sense of stability has been maintained such as Australia, Switzerland and Jersey ranked highly.

The expats’ desire to live and work abroad has not been diminished by the pandemic as the majority plan to stay in their host location for the foreseeable future, with 80% intending to continue living in their host country for the next year at least, and only 7% planning to move.

The findings suggest expats are prioritizing personal lifestyle choices rather than traditional relocation drivers, such as career progression (34%) or expanding their professional network (31%). The top five goals that expats look forward to achieving in the next 12 months are getting to know the local area (50%), traveling (47%), understanding and exploring local culture (47%), making new friends (45%) and going out more (41%).

Over two thirds (67%) of expats also believe their quality of life is better in their current location. Furthermore, globally, over two in five (46%) expats feel that their host communities have become more supportive during Covid-19.

The number is even higher in Vietnam, where 51% of expats say the local community has become more supportive of each other since the start of the pandemic.

However, the study also highlights some of the challenges that expats have faced during the pandemic. Over half (63%) have been stopped from traveling abroad for business and the majority (90%) were unable to see their family or friends in their home countries. Yet, it also points to the resilience of the global expat community, as two in five (42%) say they were able to continue to manage their physical health.

“Despite the very real challenges that the entire world has faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a growing sense of optimism that with the vaccine rollout picking up pace, we will all return to a more normal existence,” said Tim Evans, CEO of HSBC Vietnam.

“In Vietnam, this will mean a return to strong economic growth in a very vibrant and exciting country, where apart from the benefits of being in a fast moving and vibrant economy, the country also offers a wide variety of geographies from mountains, jungles to beaches, wonderful food and very hospitable people. As an expat living here in Vietnam, I would not want to be anywhere else at this exciting time for the country”.

The study also shines a light on the expats’ financial lives, to gauge their financial goals in 2021. Three fifths (60%) wish to save for their retirement, almost a third are looking to build an emergency savings fund (31%), while others are saving to purchase a property (30%). Over a fifth (23%) are saving or investing money for their children’s education.

Overall, expats ranked the following locations as the top 10 places to live and work in 2021: Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Bahrain, Singapore and Qatar.

Vietnam ranked fifth in the Asia-Pacific region, having climbed three places to the 19th position in the world.

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