Majority of British expats say they would never move back to the UK

by Ray Clancy on May 9, 2017

Seven out of 10 British people living abroad would never move back to the UK but they have not cut the ties completely with 72% regularly sending money back, a new survey has found.

The actual poll does not give reasons why they are happy being expats but hint that some of the reasons are financially related. As well as a high number continuing to be financially connected to their homeland, some 87% said they can save more money while living abroad.

Overall, the poll by financial services organisation the de Vere Group, found that 69% of respondents from around the world said they had no desire to return to the UK while 21% said they might and 10% said that they would.

The survey of expats in the United States, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Spain, France, Germany and South Africa, also found that 23% who had moved primarily for work and career reasons.

According to the organisation, official figures indicate that there are around five million British people now living overseas, although the real figure is likely to be much higher as many expats do not register themselves in their new country of residence with the relevant authorities.

When the poll figures are taken into account it means that around 3.5 million British people living abroad believe that they will never to return to the UK, according to Nigel Green, chief executive officer of the deVere Group.

‘The survey underscores that for most people living abroad is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. This outcome is likely down to several key factors including better or more lucrative career opportunities, lower cost of living, higher quality of life, high quality childcare and education, lower crime levels, and good weather,’ he said.

‘However, the fact that seven out of 10 expats state that they would never return to the UK, also concerns me. Are these people really 100 per cent sure that they will never return, or perhaps be forced to return to the UK for reasons beyond their control, such as a change in family circumstances, being made redundant, or political upheaval in their new country of residence? Are they sure they will retire or be retired forever overseas?’ he commented.

‘No-one knows for sure what the future holds, plus the expat lifestyle can be, by its very nature, quite transient. The concern is that those who assume that they will never return to the UK, or indeed relocate somewhere else, is that they will not have all the available and/or necessary financial options open to them should they need to go back to Britain or elsewhere for whatever reason,’ he pointed out.

He believes that expats should consider a flexible, cross border approach to their overall personal financial strategy and with the UK leaving the European Union currency fluctuations need to be taken into account.

‘Whilst living an international life is a hugely positive experience for most people, it is imperative not to rule out the possibility of returning back to the UK or moving on somewhere else in the future. If expats fail to plan for such eventualities by not considering all cross border financial options now, they could be compromising their longer term financial security,’ he added.

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