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Brussels becoming cheaper for expats, survey shows

11:50 23/06/2015

Brussels is becoming a more affordable place to live for expatriates, says HR company Mercer. According to Mercer’s 21st annual Cost of Living SurveyBrussels fell 46 places to 102nd place in the list of the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates. The Angolan capital Luanda maintains its position as the most costly city in the list.

Currency fluctuations are responsible for making Brussels more financially attractive to multinationals, according to Mercer. Other Western European cities have also become relatively cheaper thanks to the recent decline of the euro relative to the US dollar.

Luanda leads the list mainly because it imports many of its goods and invests in the security of its foreign personnel, says Mercer. Cities in Asia and Switzerland also rank high in the list, with Hong Kong, Zurich, Singapore and Geneva following Luanda. Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Bern and N'Djamena (Chad) complete the top 10. London ranks 12th , Paris 46th and Berlin 106th.

The cheapest cities for expats are Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Windhoek (Namibia) and Karachi (Pakistan).

For the survey, Mercer compared the local prices of more than 200 goods and services in 207 cities across five continents. It looked at all factors contributing to the cost of expatriate packages, including instability in the housing markets, inflation for goods and services, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

"As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected, close to 75% of multinational organisations expect their number of long-term expatriate assignments to remain stable or increase over the next two years to address business needs," says Ilya Bonic, senior partner and head of Mercer's talent department. "Sending employees abroad is necessary to compete in markets and for critical talent, and employers need a reliable and accurate reflection of the cost of such an investment.”

Written by Robyn Boyle