Expats are more likely to take risks because the fact they have moved country makes them adventurous and many are more likely to move again, research suggests.
Adults who were born in countries other than the ones they live in, often called first generation migrants, are more likely than native born residents to want to migrate permanently, whether that means returning home or heading to another country, the research from pollsters Gallup also shows.
Among the 630 million adults worldwide who Gallup estimates would like to migrate permanently to another country, 22% of first generation migrants say they would like to move compared with 14% of native-born residents.
Gallup’s findings on adults’ desire to move to other countries are based on a rolling average of interviews with 401,490 adults in 146 countries between 2008 and 2010. The 146 countries represent more than 93% of the world’s adult population.
First generation migrants’ desire to keep moving stands out most in Europe, where overall, 26% say they would like to resettle in another country compared with 17% of native-born residents. This may reflect a greater sense of mobility within Europe and relatively few border restrictions, but also may reflect countries’ different approaches to integration, Gallup says.
Differences are much more muted in other regions. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), for example, similar percentages of native born and first generation migrants say they would like to move. Within MENA, however, 20% of first generation migrants in Gulf Cooperation Council countries are more than three times as likely to want to move as native-born residents of which just 6% want to move. ‘This is interesting given the high percentage of expats relative to the national population in some of these countries, and how relatively difficult it is for non-nationals to become citizens,’ says Gallup.
The poll also found that most first generation migrants who would like to move to another country do not want to return home. Nearly two thirds of these migrants name a country other than their country of origin as the country they would like to move to. More than a third of first generation migrants who want to move name their country of origin as their next desired destination.
‘That first generation migrants would consider uprooting themselves again likely says something about these migrants’ willingness to take risks, as does the finding that most first generation migrants who would like to migrate again would not choose to go home,’ Gallup points out.
‘The latter has implications on the potential for circular migration, the temporary or permanent return of migrants to their homelands. Countries that would like migrants to return with the skills and knowledge they’ve gathered abroad need to work harder to lure them home,’ it adds.