Expats move away from Eurozone to emerging and developing countries, report shows

by Barclays Wealth International on October 7, 2010

The typical expat is a middle aged Englishman with a knack for finance and an appetite for wealth but he is more likely to live in an emerging country than traditional European locations like Spain, according to research.

There has been a major shift from the eurozone to developing countries such as Russia, Brazil and China where expats earn more and have a better lifestyle, says the 2010 Expat Explorer Survey from HSBC Bank International.

Part one , Expat Economics, reveals the economic climate among expats in 25 countries ranked by measurements in finance and economics. Two other reports look at the challenges of lifestyle and family.

‘When you look at the life of an expat, there is a trade off between lifestyle, family and finance. It’s all about balancing out different things,’ said Lisa Wood, head of marketing for HSBC Bank International in Jersey.

‘People are tending to move to BRIC countries, and they’re faring well there economically. Expats are earning more, the economy is growing, career opportunities are better in BRIC countries, they can earn more and have a higher disposable income,’ she explained.

These developing countries though are not necessarily the best place to bring up a family. Spain and France are still highly sought after locations because of the quality of life. While financial opportunity seems to be at an all time low in Europe, the desire for a high quality of life outside a home country keeps expats clinging to these locations.

So places like Spain and France tend to attract more retired expats. Over 30% of expats surveyed in both Spain and France were retired and almost half were over 55 years old.

Some 5% of expats have accumulated more debt abroad with 11% of expats in the UK doing so. A large number of expats in the UK also report the deteriorating economic situation as being a reason for wanting to move back to their native country.

Expats in the UK, unlike the demographic norm, are mostly American, 22%$, Australian, 14%, and Canadian, 10%. Almost half work in finance, but at a younger age with half of expats surveyed being between 18 and 34 years of age.

Results from Germany added a twist to expat demographics. Instead of the overall characteristics dominating the expat field globally, the typical expat in Germany is a middle age American female with a background in education, if employed.

‘A few years ago, when it was the place to expatriate, the eurozone was good for business. Expatriation comes in waves. There’s a downturn in EU countries and an upturn in BRIC countries. Companies have to be careful with what they offer, maybe there needs to be more spice for the pot,’ said Noeleen Doherty, senior research fellow at Cranfield University School of Management in Bedford, England.

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