The world's highest-paid expats are living in Mumbai, India

Go east, expatriates looking to make the big bucks.

Mumbai, India's financial, commercial and entertainment capital, tops global rankings for expat salaries, according to a survey conducted by HSBC Bank International.

Foreigners moving to the subcontinent's most populous city reported average annual earnings of $US217,165 ($276,570). That's more than double the global expat average of $US99,903, the HSBC Expat survey shows.

"Mumbai has the highest percentage of expats sent by their employer - these expats often benefit from relocation packages which goes some way in explaining the higher salaries expats enjoy in the city," said Dean Blackburn, who heads HSBC Expat.

He also cited high employment and experience levels among expats and a substantial stake of engineers relocating from German and other infrastructure companies as reasons for Mumbai's top slot.

Other Asian cities joining Mumbai in the top 10 expat salary rankings were Shanghai, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

While expats in Asia were generally well compensated financially, all - including Mumbai, the megacity home to more than 18 million people - ranked lower in expat job opportunities than U.K. and US destinations such as London, San Francisco, New York, or even Birmingham, according to HSBC.

"The financial and technology hubs of the US and UK are the most attractive for ambitious expats eager to push their career to the next level," Blackburn said.

Dublin, a tech centre in Europe, also ranked in the top five for expat job opportunities, but was below the global average in expat salaries.

Nonetheless, 61 per cent of expats in the capital of the Republic of Ireland reported an improved work-life balance.

Switzerland, the nation that has previously topped country rankings for expat salaries, had two cities in the top five. Zurich, home to banks including Credit Suisse Group and UBS Group and a tech hub for firms including Alphabet, reported the third highest expat salaries, while Geneva, the base for some of the world's biggest commodities traders including Trafigura Group and Mercuria Energy Group, was fifth.

Despite Switzerland's notorious living costs, the country's high salaries and low personal tax rates saw 77 per cent of expats in Zurich report that their disposable income had increased since moving. In fact, over half of Zurich expats reported that they are living in a better dwelling than they did at home even with the Swiss city's expensive rental and property markets.

And while Berlin and Prague rank toward the bottom of HSBC's list of 52, the majority of expats in those cities said the cost of living is affordable.

For more information about financial planning for expatriates, please visit our Whole Wealth expatriate home page

This article was published and provided by the Australian Financial Review.

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