Japan is Asia’s most expensive location to send expats — here are the other top spots

In Asia

Japan’s salary and benefits packages for expats remained the highest in Asia, a new report has found. 

The average expatriate package in Japan costs employers $370,183, according to “MyExpatriate Market Pay” survey by data company ECA International. 

That’s however 12% lower than last year, due to the weak Japanese yen, which has fallen 9% this year.

As a result, when measured in U.S. dollars, costs for salary, benefits and taxes “all fell by double-digit percentages,” the report said.

Globally, Japan ranked second while the U.K. retained its top spot as the most expensive location in the world to send expatriates. 

The study — which takes into account cash salaries, benefits such as accommodations or utilities, and tax — was conducted to assist companies with “benchmarking their packages against the market,” said ECA International.

More than 340 companies and over 10, 000 international assignees took part in the survey.

Higher salaries for expats in Asia 

According to ECA International, overall compensation increased by an average of 7% throughout Asia between 2021 and 2022 when measured in local currency.

Only expatriates in Laos, China and Hong Kong received lower salary and benefits packages in 2022 when measured in local currency. 

The salary increase in local currency terms can be attributed to inflation, explained Lee Quane, ECA International’s regional director for Asia.

“Some companies provide a cost of living allowance in order to ensure that the expatriate’s home country purchasing power can be protected when working overseas,” he added.

Inflation in Singapore will probably stay high in the first few quarters of 2023, UOB says

“In 2022 some countries in the region experienced relatively high rates of inflation, requiring companies to increase these allowances.”

Countries like Singapore saw the rising cost of living drive up expatriate salary and benefit packages by 4% compared to 2021, said the report. 

“The surge in the cost of expatriate accommodation in Singapore is being felt by locals and expatriates alike, as reflected in the 9% increase in the cost of benefits in expatriate packages when measured in USD terms,” Quane explained. 

Most expensive countries in Asia to send overseas workers

  1. Japan: $370,183
  2. India: $354,028
  3. China: $313,011
  4. Hong Kong: $278,020
  5. Korea Republic: $275,727

With packages costing an average of $258,762, Singapore propelled six places to the 16th most expensive place to employ expatriates globally, while ranking 7th in Asia. 

However, due to currency fluctuations, more than half the locations saw a drop in total cost of packages when measured in U.S. dollars. 

For example, expatriate salaries in China fell by 5% in U.S. dollar terms in 2022. “The yuan strengthened against most major currencies compared to 2021,” said Quane.

“As many expatriates are paid some or all of their salary in other currencies, this caused the average expat salary in yuan to fall.”

U.K. on top 

Read More: Japan is Asia’s most expensive location to send expats — here are the other top spots

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