A stronger US dollar makes New Zealand a more attractive destination for immigrants, a survey has found.

Mercer's annual Cost of Living survey highlights the impact the movement of currency can have on the cost of doing business globally and shows which cities are cheapest to live in for expatriates.

The survey showed that the weakening of the New Zealand dollar saw Auckland and Wellington both drop in the Cost of Living ranks.

Auckland, which is New Zealand's most expensive city for expatriates dropped by three places, whist Wellington dropped by four.


"Movement in the New Zealand dollar can create a competitive advantage for New Zealand organisations in terms of attracting key global talent," said Mercer's Global Mobility Practice Leader, Lorraine Jennings.

"Falling down the rankings of the most expensive cities to send your workforce to is actually great news for New Zealand employers wanting to attract global talent."

A weaker New Zealand dollar meant it was more cost effective for multinational companies to send their talent to our shores, she said.

"International compensation is an increasing concern for many multinational companies operating in a variety of economic, social and political contexts.

However, Joanna Rapley from Alpha Recruitment, which does some international recruitment, said most people moving to New Zealand did so for the lifestyle - and this was particularly the case for immigrants from the UK and South Africa.

"They'll bring their children here, to bring them up, or they'll come here in their latter years for their retirement," she said.

"I'm not sure that they're coming here for the money, that's not really a key driver."

Walter Stone from Eagle Migration agreed that lifestyle was the main attraction for immigrants, pointing out that salaries in Australia were often higher.

While they might look at the cost of living, currency changes were not a concern for most of his clients, he said.

According to the survey, Asian and European cities - particularly Hong Kong, Zurich, Singapore and Geneva - topped the list of the most expensive cities for expatriates.

At number one for the third consecutive year was Luanda, the capital of Angola - despite being a relatively inexpensive city, the cost of important goods and safe living conditions are priced steeply.

The survey includes 207 cities worldwide and measures the comparative cost of each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey - Worldwide Rankings 2015

The most expensive

1. Luanda, Angola

2. Hong Kong, Hong Kong

3. Zurich, Switzerland

4. Singapore, Singapore

5. Geneva, Switzerland

6. Shanghai, China

7. Beijing, China

8. Seoul, South Korea

9. Bern, Switzerland

10. N'Djamena, Chad

The cheapest

1. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

2. Windhoek, Namibia

3. Karachi, Pakistan

4. Tunis, Tunisia

5. Skopje, Macedonia

6. Banjul, Gambia

7. Minsk, Belarus

8. Cape Town, South Africa

9. Managua, Nicaragua

10. Tbilisi, Georgia