New Zealand has been ranked one of the top countries to live and work in, according to a new survey.

More than 22,000 expats around the world rated New Zealand first for experience, ninth for economics and second for family as part of HSBC's annual Expat Explorer survey.

New Zealand's overall placing was second, trailing only Singapore, who took top spot for the fourth consecutive year.

Switzerland topped the list of destinations for the biggest pay packet with an annual expat salary of US$203,000 ($313,344), followed by the United States (US$185,000), Hong Kong (US$179,000) and China (US$173,000).

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However, Switzerland ranked only eighth overall, with the high cost of raising children and difficulty making friends bringing their ranking down.

New Zealand's top billing for experience was boosted by 60 per cent of expats who moved there saying their quality of life improved.

The Spanish way of life was ranked second, with a remarkable eight out of ten expats in Spain saying it was better than at home.

Sweden was ranked first for family, with 68 per cent of expats saying the overall cost of raising children there was cheaper than back home.

New Zealand's second place for family was largely helped thanks to some of the same benefits that the adults report.

Ireland had the greatest improvement, moving up 20 places from below average last year to seventh in 2018.