Expat Integration in the Philippines

HSBC recently released the results of the 2015 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey – the largest and among the longest-running survey of expats – with astounding results for the Philippines. The survey tapped 21,950 respondents who shared their experiences and views on living abroad, including their careers, their quality of life, their financial well-being, and the ease of settling in for partners and children.

According to HSBC Philippines’ Retail Banking and Wealth Management Head Gigi Pio de Roda, most expats choose to migrate to enhance their career progression, boost network connections, and expand their current skill-set and knowledge. As such, it involves making complex decisions that are riddled with challenges: for instance, managing finances, building a family, integrating into the local culture, and saving for retirement.

Yet, as it turns out, most of these concerns are non-issues for expats currently residing in the country. According to the survey, 57 percent of expats say that they found their work more fulfilling since they relocated, while 6 out of every 10 expats (or 65% of the respondents) declare that they found it easy to fit in with their colleagues and contemporaries. Another 24% of the respondents remarked how they “felt at home” in the country from their very first day, while another 48% said that it took them less than a year to feel at home in the Philippines.

The survey goes on to report that “the importance of making new friends is a key part of feeling at home with over half (51%) of expats saying this is the most important milestone for them. As well as making friends, 38% of expats globally say understanding the local culture is essential to settling in.”

Even expat partners are reporting good things about migrating to the Philippines, with the survey mentioning that 63% of expats report feeling closer to their partners since moving to the Philippines.

With its melting pot of cultural influences that range from Spanish to American – among other colonizers over the years – it leaves little room for wonder that expats are finding it easy to adapt to the local culture. After all, most of the locals speak English, making it easy for expats to find someone to talk to should they need help or assistance. Furthermore, Filipinos are highly regarded as a nation of hospitable people who are willing to go above and beyond the call of service.

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