Expats: Asian cities found to be most expensive for life abroad but London ranks in top 20

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As more companies begin to embrace flexible working and working from home, many people may be looking to up sticks and relocate across the world. However, according to a new report, there are some cities that could see expats forking out more money to live and work there.

The data, collated by Mercer as part of their 2021 Cost of Living city ranking, found that three cities spread across Asia were the most expensive for internationals working there.

Ashgabat in Turkmenistan zoomed to the top spot, moving up one place since 2020, as the most expensive city in the world for foreign employees.

The city is currently home to around one million people and is thought to have taken the top spot due to “high local inflation” according to Jean-Philippe Sarra of Mercer.

This is coupled with a worsening economic crisis, which causes poverty for many, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Despite this, the city is a hub for natural gas exports and attracts a number of energy giants.

It surpassed Hong Kong, which is now in second place.

Beirut, in Lebanon, came in third for the costs associated with living and working there as an overseas citizen.

According to the report: “The Lebanese capital city climbed 42 positions in the ranking as a result of the political turmoil of the last few years.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic and the Port of Beirut explosion have all amplified the economic effects, causing record-high inflation.”

Tokyo, in Japan, came in fourth place, and Zurich, in Switzerland, was the only European city that made it into the top five.

In order to determine which the cost of living and working associated with each city, Mercer looks at over 200 items including housing, transportation, utilities. Good domestic supplies, recreation and entertainment, personal care and clothing and footwear among other things.

Alongside Zurich, two more Swiss cities made it into the top 10.

Geneva and Bern were ranked in eighth and tenth place respectively.

The remaining top 10 was made up of Asian cities.

Shanghai, in China, came in sixth position, Singapore in seventh and Beijing in China ranked ninth place.

While the UK did not come in the top 10, the capital edged up from 19th to 18th place.

Birmingham also made it into the top 100 most expensive cities for foreign workers to set up.

The West Midlands city moved up eight places from 129 in 2020 to 121.

Across the pond in the US, New York City and Los Angeles came in at 14th and 20th position.

This marked a drop for both metropolises, with New York downgrading eight places, and Los Angeles dropping three places.

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