Parents who move abroad see the world in a different way to other expats

by Ray Clancy on October 21, 2015

Whether it is helping their children take up sport or giving them a better education, expat parents are more likely to stay abroad a long time, research suggests.

They value the continuity this provides their family and the desire to have a high quality, stable family life is one of the main factors for staying, according to the latest international expat explorer survey from HSBC.

family overseasOf those expats who move with their children, some 57% globally say they have stayed in their new country for longer than five years, compared with 50% of expats living without children.

After making friends, the second most important factor helping expat parents feel at home is having their loved ones settled. Among expats with children, 39% said they could only feel at home once their family were enjoying life abroad.

While settling in can take time, New Zealand and Australia are places expat parents find it particularly difficult to leave. In Australia for example, 71% of parents say they have lived in the country for more than five years, compared with the global average of 57%.

Parents value the opportunities for their children in these countries and encourage them to make the most of an active lifestyle. Expat children in Australia and New Zealand are more likely to have increased the amount of sport they play than those living in any other nation at 71% in New Zealand and 58% in Australia, compared with the global average of 28%.

Japan is another country where parents are likely to stay for a long time. Expats in the country are almost twice as likely to stay for more than five years with 74% of expat parents surveyed in Japan saying this, compared with 40% among the remaining expats in the country.

Overall expats rank Sweden as the best destination for family life, closely followed by New Zealand and Singapore. Expats highlight three factors in particular that make Sweden stand out for families: the education system, government policies on families, and the living environment.

For new parents, the Swedish Government allows 480 days of leave to look after children, which can be split between both parents, and the quality of childcare is also better than in their home country, according to 79% of expat parents.

The supportive environment for family life is evident when children go to school in Sweden and 67% of expat parents find it simple to arrange their children’s education, while the country’s free schools model means 77% of parents find the cost of education cheaper than at home.

Learning the local language is not a barrier for children, with 58% of expat parents saying their offspring are doing so compared with the global average of 51%

Sweden is regarded as safe and secure by 72% of expats. Its scenery and temperate climate encourage exercise and 53% of parents say their children are leading a healthier and more active lifestyle in the country compared to the global average of 34%. In total, 79% of expat parents in Sweden say the quality of life for their children is better overall than at home, far higher than the 58% for all expat parents globally.

Sweden is an excellent place for expats looking to start a family, with 39% saying that they have found a long term partner since moving to the country and, for those moving with an existing partner, 60% say the move to Sweden has brought them closer together in their relationship.

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