Even as technology opens up opportunities for more people to become digital nomads*, and people start to move across the globe again, findings from an HSBC study reveal that the financial experience of international citizens may not be all plain sailing.
HSBC estimates that there are over 90 million international customers across 10 of its key markets who are living, working, and studying abroad.
The bank commissioned a multi-market study to understand the evolution of the financial lives of international citizens, their motivations for relocating to a new country, and the issues they face as they settle abroad.
The study also highlights the financial challenges they face, the pressures of relocating, and the impact it can have on their lives.
The findings, based on the responses shared by international citizens in India – that is, people who have either relocated to India, or are planning to do so – are as follows.
- Difficulty in setting up essential services can lead to feeling unsettled. As per the survey, three-quarters (75%) of the respondents who have relocated agreed that they felt unsettled when they first arrived because they struggled to set-up important things like a bank account, utilities, and the internet. This highlights how complex financial administration can have a negative impact on their new experience. Without a bank account, they struggle to secure a home – and without a fixed address, they struggle to get children in schools.
- The inability to transfer credit history is a major obstacle for those moving overseas. Almost four in every five (78%) international citizens in India have struggled to set up essential services such as credit card, mobile phone, and utilities due to this reason. Moreover, almost 61% of the respondents who are planning to move to India are concerned by the fact that they cannot transfer their credit history.
- Finding suitable financial services is a common concern among those who are planning to move to India. Nearly 62% of the respondents, who are considering moving to the country, agree that finding the right financial services to suit their specific needs is a matter of worry.
- Cash flow planning is one of the most integral aspects to consider while moving abroad. The survey reveals that more than half (53%) of the respondents who are planning to move to India (to live, work or study) expect a cash flow crisis upon arrival. Furthermore, half (50%) of those who plan to relocate to India have no idea how they’ll manage their finances between locations when they move. Of those who have already relocated, 67% respondents said they got no help in financial management. Whereas, for those who are still planning to live, work, or study in India, one in every two (50%) international citizens have said that nobody helped them feel financially prepared to relocate.
Motivation for relocation
Amidst inflationary pressures and rising cost of living, the study found that 26% of international citizens are motivated to relocate to India for stability for their family, 23% move due to improved technology which means they can work from anywhere, and 20% relocate or are planning to relocate for a better lifestyle.
Top reasons for relocating to work or study in India
|Reason for relocating||% of International citizens in India|
|Stability for my family||26%|
|Explore and understand the culture of my new location||26%|
|Improved technology means I can now work anywhere||23%|
|A better work/life balance||23%|
|Learn new skills at work||22%|
|To live in a more sustainable environment||21%|
|To take advantage of more flexible remote working rules||21%|
|Better lifestyle, such as improved health or social life||20%|
|Opportunity to travel||20%|
|To make my money go further||20%|
|Accelerate career progression / job promotion||16%|
|For increased salary / higher earnings||15%|
The study comes as HSBC is relaunching its international products and services to better support customers across borders, for a seamless cross-border experience, whether they’re moving for work, study, or to settle in a new country.
Commenting on the study findings, Taylan Turan, Group Head of Retail Banking and Strategy, Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC, Said :
Sandeep Batra, Head, Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC India, Said :
About the survey
The study, conducted by Ipsos UK, surveyed over 7,000 adults across nine international markets, including India.
It investigated the experiences of those currently living, working and studying abroad, as well as those who are planning to do so and those who have returned within the last five years.
It explored the experience of a range of different international citizens, including expat families, digital nomads and overseas students. Further methodology details in the notes section below.
HSBC’s products and services for international customers
The new suite of product and services of HSBC International will enable customers to:
- Open a new account before they arrive in their destination, without visiting a branch.
- See all their HSBC accounts in one global view; make simple, fast and competively priced payments.
- Build a positive credit history in their new country.
- Access financial planning tools and portfolio-based advice from experts in their new location.
- Manage their banking needs in different time zones with 24/7 support
- Access services with global partners beyond banking (tax solutions, relocation support, special offers).
The products and services are available across 10 countries and territories: Australia, Canada, Mainland China, Channel Islands & Isle of Man, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, UAE, UK, US.
Tips to consider when planning a move abroad
- Research where you’re going – it sounds obvious, but getting the low-down on the place will give you a sense of what it’s really like to live there – from culture and climate to transport and living costs. If you can, speak to others who live, or have lived, in your potential new location and ask them to share their secrets on settling in successfully.
- Speak to your bank – get an account set-up before you land, so you can hit the ground running and avoid fees and charges from using your existing bank account overseas. Take time to understand how your bank can support you when you move – does it offer multicurrency accounts, or allow you to take your credit history with you when applying for credit in your new location? You may find they have the right expertise and relevant local knowledge for you.
- Figure out how you’ll manage your money and get ahead on financial admin – take some time to think about how you’ll stay on top of your money during and after your move. For example, you may need to have a visa before you can open a bank account.
- Check out your bank’s lifestyle offerings –can they help you settle into your new location beyond banking – from helping withairport transportation, to obtaining a mobile SIM card in the new location?
- Know how the tax works in the location where you are going, and whether you’ll still have tax considerations in your home location or region once you’ve moved. Check your new government’s website for local advice.
- Build up your cash savings – setting aside some money, ready to cover start-up costs or the move itself, can help ease money worries. You may wish to open a savings account in the currency of your new location that you can access once you’ve moved, so you can continue to save from your new location.
- Understand support available from your new employer – they could help with moving costs or finding a property for your first few months in a new location.
- Speak to your bank aboutsupport on the ground, when you land in your new location. Is there a local number you can call, to connect with customer services in your preferred language and timezone?
- Join a club or get involved with your children’s school – gettingto know people is an important part of feeling settled in your new host location. Check out what’s going on in your local area. If you have children at school, connect with other parents and the school to find out what’s going on and how you can get involved.
- Familiarise yourself with your new area –find your new favourite local shops and restaurants, or play areas if you have children.
- Get to know the office culture –no matter where you move, it’s likely that the office culture will be different from the culture at home. Chat with colleagues to understand what’s expected of you.
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in India offers a full range of banking and financial services through 26 branches across 14 cities.
HSBC is one of India’s leading financial services groups, with around 39,000 employees in its banking, investment banking and capital markets, asset management, insurance, software development and global resourcing operations in the country.
It is a leading custodian in India.
The Bank is at the forefront in arranging deals for Indian companies investing overseas and foreign investments into the country
HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London.
As HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa.
With assets of US$2,967bn at 31 December 2022, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.