Top 10 reasons why expats move abroad

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by Ray Clancy on July 26, 2011

Moving overseas

Over the last few years the number of people looking to move overseas has increased dramatically and there are many different reasons why expats may well look to move abroad. We have done some research on various forums, Google and news websites to give you the top 10 reasons why expats move abroad. Some of them may surprise you, some of them may have been expected and some may well give you food for thought if you’re looking to move overseas.


For those expats from the UK there will be no surprise to learn that the weather is for so many people one of the most important factors when looking to move overseas. While it is easy to look at a specific area of the world through rose tinted glasses, with regards to the weather, you really need to have experienced any one particular area of the world for more than just a “holiday period”. It is also worth noting that various changes in the climate around the world have and do make a difference to local weather patterns which are changing constantly in some areas.

The weather can also be related to various medical conditions which can be eased somewhat in the warmer climate of countries such as Spain, Portugal and in South America. The weather is something which is mentioned by many expats as a reason for moving overseas but ultimately there are far stronger reasons below the surface.


For the vast majority of people looking to move overseas there is no doubt that employment opportunities rank very highly on the list of reasons why they would like to move. It may be that you have an opportunity for promotion with your current employer or indeed you may well have been offered a new “opportunity of a lifetime” in a foreign land. The chance to make significant money in a relatively short space of time, with countries such as Dubai offering a perfect example of this, can be a very strong magnet for those looking at a new life.

However, if your main reason for moving overseas is employment then there is probably a higher than normal chance of you returning to your former homeland if there are any problems with the local economy or your employer. Again, there needs to be more substance behind your reason for moving overseas because ultimately nothing ever goes smoothly and nothing ever goes totally to plan.

I understand this can vary wildly from contract to contract, but id like to get some ideas of how long days are and how many days per week are usually worked.

New life

Perhaps one of the more genuine reasons for relocating overseas is to begin a new life and perhaps leave some “demons” behind in your former homeland. The opportunity to literally wipe the slate clean in a foreign land where you are unknown and have a chance to “start again” can be a very enticing reason to move. As long as you are not running away from certain issues which may well catch up with you in the end, there is every chance that if you choose the “right place” you will have the opportunity to literally start again.

However, it is worth noting that for those who are looking to move overseas to start a new life, a supportive family and friends is vital to ensure this particular move is successful and everybody is pulling in the same direction. If one party wanted a move overseas to begin a “new life” more than the other then this can cause friction and put pressure on any relationship. All matters regarding your move overseas should be discussed in detail with your family and friends and decisions should be arrived at on a collective basis.

Been in aus for 5 years but the arrival of our new baby six months ago is making us hink why r we in oz! We r both from uk, we have alright jobs, not many friends and no family and it’s lonely! Has anyone moved home? Any regrets? Any advice?


When you consider the ongoing increase in taxes in countries such as the UK it is no surprise to learn that many people are literally tearing their hair out with regards to their financial situation. It seems that the more money you earn the higher rate of tax you pay and the less money you actually have to show for it at the end of the day. As a consequence, many of the low tax or even “zero tax” areas of the world are becoming more and more attractive to those considering a move overseas. Whether this is a long-term solution to a short-term problem remains to be seen because ultimately any successful economy and any successful government will need taxation income at some point.

If you are looking to move overseas purely and simply because of taxation issues then it is vital that you take professional financial advice at the earliest opportunity. You need to look at the situation from all angles, in the short, medium and longer term and also any potential impact upon your family and potential inheritance. Sometimes it can be difficult to take in the long-term implications of a move overseas with regards to your finances and your taxation.

What is the tax rates for NZ residents if working overseas? I currently live in the UK and work overseas on ships for 6 months of the year (3 months on, 3 months off). As a result of being out the country for more than 183 days, I do not pay tax or NI contributions. Was wondering how this would work in NZ.


Historically one of the more popular reasons for moving overseas was retirement after many years in employment. While a number of new reasons to move overseas have been introduced over the last few years there is no doubt that retirement to a foreign land is still very popular amongst a large number of expats. This does tie in somewhat with regards to the weather and the financial implications of for example taxation in your homeland but for many people it is the opportunity to start a new life in their later years and enjoy the fruits of employment in their former years.

Whether you’re looking for a fairly active retirement or a fairly laid-back retirement, there are many different areas of the world which will accommodate your requirements. Whatever weather, whatever climate, whether standard of living, whatever cost of living and any other aspect you can think of, there will be a country around the world which fits in nicely with your requirements. The introduction of cheap air travel around the world has also assisted many people in making the decision to retire overseas because ultimately they can visit their family or vice versa relatively cheaply.


There is one reason for moving overseas which is perhaps under discussed on many forums and this is the ever increasing rates of crime around the world. If this is one of the reasons why you are looking to move overseas then you need to do your homework on your “proposed homeland” because ultimately you do not want to be “jumping out of the fire into the frying pan”. Many countries have a reputation for high crime rates from years gone by when in reality there may well have been changes over recent years which have yet to be registered. As a consequence, we strongly recommend ignoring the stigma often attached to certain areas of the world such as for example Colombia and doing your homework on the various areas and the various aspects of life in your potential new homeland.

The Internet has thankfully brought to the attention of many people the crime rates of every single country around the world. You can also search the local and international news to see exactly what is happening in any area of the world and indeed whether expats are showing interest. For many people it is the Internet which has changed the whole landscape of the expat community offering the chance to “dig deeper” to get more nuggets of information online.

Standard of living

Many people seem to amalgamate subjects such as the standard of living and the cost of living when in reality they can be very different. However, getting an angle on the standards of living in many of the small and relatively untouched countries around the world will take a little investigation because it can vary massively from area to area. The introduction of expats to each and every country around the world has in some cases created “expat enclaves” which offer a very different life and a very different standard of living to that of the wider population. Whether this actually defeats the point of moving overseas, i.e. living with a group of expats, is another argument which many people continue to discuss.

Despite the fact that the worldwide economy has generally improved over the last few decades there are still many areas of the world where the standard of living is atrocious compared to countries such as the UK. As a consequence, you really do need to do your homework with regards to the standard of living in any country that you are looking to move to. Life can be tough moving to a new country and if your expectations are unrealistic it can make a difficult situation even worse.

Cost of living

While many people are blinded by the opportunity to move to a country with good weather, a good standard of living and perhaps the opportunity to find love again, it is the cost of living which will ultimately decide whether you enjoy your new life overseas. You need to take into account your own finances, the cost of living in your homeland, the cost of living in your proposed homeland and any employment expectations you have in that country. Only after taking these aspects of your new life into consideration will you be able to see whether you can afford to live the life you want in the areas you want to.

It is also worth noting the general trends in the cost of living which continue to rise in the vast majority of countries around the world. Many people also make the mistake of looking at the general cost of living in a country rather than looking at the specific cost of living in perhaps a city which they are looking to move to. The cost of living in some of the larger cities in countries around the world can literally bear no resemblance to the general cost of living across the rest of the country. Do your homework!


There are many areas of everyday life which have been improved and expanded upon by the Internet and there is no doubt that romance is one such area. It is now possible to log onto the Internet and various dating websites to find your “dream date” in any country around the world. Indeed, many people may already have found their new love while on holiday or on a work project overseas. The one mistake which many people seem to make is “jumping in too quickly” and looking to begin a new life in a new country without necessarily knowing their proposed partner as well as they should.

Those looking to relocate overseas for romantic reasons will no doubt realise whether it will work within the first few weeks of moving. This is in many ways a dangerous reason to begin a new life and uproot your family and friends but if it all goes to plan then in many ways it can be a dream come true.

Travel the world

The number of travel guides and travel information now available on the Internet, much of it free of charge, seems to have encouraged many expats to look to travel the world over a prolonged period. Many people are now more confident than ever before about travelling the world and planning their route and short-term homelands well in advance. There are dangers with travelling the world, especially areas and situations you are unfamiliar with, but if you do your homework then there is no reason why you cannot enjoy the fruits of a nomadic lifestyle whether this is in the short, medium or longer term.

Moving overseas as a prerequisite to travelling the world is perhaps one of the more expensive and can be one of the more complicated reasons for moving overseas, but it can also be one of the more fulfilling. If you follow the guidelines, follow the safety advice and ensure that your journey is well-financed then there is no reason why you should not enjoy your journey around the globe.


These are just a number of the reasons why people look to move overseas and why indeed more and more people are now considering uprooting their family to begin a new life. The truth is that no one situation is ever the same and there will be different reasons why any expat may well be looking to move overseas. However, to give yourself the best chance of success you all need to be “singing from the same hymn book” and “pulling in the same direction”.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cathey April 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

I'am very new to computer forums so please bear with me. I'am 51 yrs. old and looking to move to Belize in the next few years.. I have worked very hard all my life & it seems the harder I work & the more I try the Government seems to take it all away. I want to live my last years relaxed and not under the eye of the Government. Taxes , Taxes, Taxes!!!! The more I try to save , the more they take. I know Belize is a very small beautiful country without all the things we take for granted…highways,freeway, top notch hospitals, schools etc… I'am ready to trade all of that for peace and quite…fresh food,clean air,natural living. This may not be for everyone but it is for me. I'am tired of trying to "keep up with the Jones" and just keeping up with me. Thanks for letting me talk!!!


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