Many expats find true love when they move abroad, survey finds

by Ray Clancy on November 4, 2014

Love is in the air for expats who move to Italy — 57% say they found long term love after moving overseas.

In second place is the United Kingdom where 50% of expats said they found their perfect match, according to HSBC’s seventh Expat Explorer survey.


The Expat Explorer survey asked nearly 9,300 expats from around the world about their views on life abroad

The Expat Explorer survey, conducted by YouGov, asks nearly 9,300 expats from around the world about their views on life abroad, taking into account their quality of life, financial wellbeing and the ease of raising a family abroad.

Overall, the survey found that, globally, an average of 36% of expats had found a life partner since moving. After Italy and the UK, the next highest average was in Russia, with 49% saying they had found love.

In China 49% also said they found long term love. Next was the Netherlands with 48%, followed by Thailand with 46%.

As well as an improved love life, expats enjoy their social life in the UK. Some 63% say they enjoy the entertainment available compared to a global average of 47%, citing pubs as one of their favourite parts of the culture.

Expats integrate well in the UK: it emerges as the top location for straying outside expat circles and socialising with locals — 49% say they do compared to 31% globally, while 73% of those surveyed say they are integrating well into the local community.

Although the UK is one of the most popular countries in the world for expats, it’s not all good news for those who move there. It ranks at bottom of the Expat Expenses league table, which takes into account the cost of everyday items and disposable income.

Although expats in the UK value the education system, with 72% sending their children to state schools compared to a global average of 37%, it ranks less well overall as a place to raise children. Childcare, health and overall experience contribute to this score, but 38% of parents globally still rank the UK in their top three countries for the highest quality education.

‘The UK has a huge amount to offer, and although it isn’t always the top choice for expats starting a new life abroad, expats tell us that overall, they like their life there, with seven in 10 saying they plan to stay,’ said Francesca McDonagh, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC UK.

‘While expats say the cost of living is higher than they are used to, they love the social life and integrate well within the UK with the high quality of the UK’s education system continuing to be a clear attraction,’ she added.

For expats leaving the UK, English speaking countries dominate the top destinations, with Australia, Canada and New Zealand the most popular. Brits who move abroad say the top reason for leaving is to improve their quality of life, at 44%, compared with an average of 31%.

They are also among the most likely to seek a new challenge when moving abroad, at 40%, compared with an average of 31%, while 63% say they find it easy to make friends after relocating, compared with a global average of 54%.

A move abroad brings more financial complexities, ranging from organising accommodation to sorting out schools, organising healthcare plans and making sure finances are in order. This year’s survey reveals that, when it comes to managing expat finances, 60% of expats say they found that finances have become more complex since relocating. This is especially true with higher earners: 75% of expats earning more than $250,000 per year agree.

‘Moving abroad is a huge step, and expats often don’t realise that their finances will become much more complex once they move. It’s essential to be organised and prepared before the big move such as arranging day-to-day banking, tax obligations and commitments in both the home and host country so that they can concentrate on quickly settling in and starting their new life overseas,’ explained McDonagh.

Having to manage money in both their home and host country (45%) is the main reason finances have become more complex for expats across the globe. Expats from the UK are the most likely to keep a bank account in both their home and host country (51%), compared to a global average of 40%.

Globally, expats also note that having more money to manage (cited by 44%) and dealing with a more complicated tax situation (42%) are other reasons why finances are more complicated.


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