Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world for expatriate workers, with Zurich — followed by Geneva and Basel — topping the list of the most expensive European metropolises. Lisbon appears in 117th position, which means a drop of eight places compared to the last edition.

The war in Ukraine, fluctuations in exchange rates, new variants of Covid-19, and escalating inflation continued to influence mobility for international work experiences, points out the “Cost of Living 2023” study by Mercer.

“We cannot extrapolate, with this drop in the ranking, that Lisbon is 'cheaper'. Effectively, the cost of living has increased, but in the analysis period, this cost of living ended up comparatively falling when compared to other capitals”, said Tiago Borges, career business leader at Mercer Portugal, in statements to ECO Trabalho.

Mercer's study ranks the cost of living for expatriates in 227 cities around the world, analysing the comparative costs of more than 200 items, such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. It is designed to help multinationals and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate workers.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and political tension worldwide have contributed to the growth of remote and flexible work, which, in turn, is leading multinational companies to reassess their talent retention strategy”, says Tiago Borges.

“Competition in the global talent market is intense, and with the cost of living crisis affecting employees and organisations alike, companies need to be flexible. The compensation structure for remote employees and those with international mobility must be clear and supported by reliable data”, says the official, quoted in a statement.

“In general, countries and cities continually strive to attract international companies, as well as digital nomads and expatriates,” says Marta Dias, rewards leader at Mercer Portugal in the ECO report. “The most successful places today are those that combine attractive and flexible policies for mobile talent, a high quality of life, and a reasonable cost of living”.

In this context, after Lisbon dropped 26 places in last year's ranking, to 109th position, this year Mercer's analysis positions the capital as the 117th most expensive city for expatriates, eight positions below compared to the previous year . Considering only the European continent, it is the 39th most expensive city for expatriates. A drop in the ranking, despite the rise in inflation over the last 12 months which has raised the cost of living in Portugal.

Among the most expensive cities located in Europe are London (17th), Vienna (25th), Amsterdam (28th), and Prague (33rd), which rose 27 positions since last year, and Helsinki (34th).


Originally from the UK, Daisy has been living and working in Portugal for more than 20 years. She has worked in PR, marketing and journalism, and has been the editor of The Portugal News since 2019. Jornalista 7920

Daisy Sampson