British expats believe they are better off living abroad

by Ray Clancy on February 17, 2011

Brits think it's better to live overseas

The number of British expats planning to move back to the UK has dropped in the past six months as they view austerity measures as a good reason for staying put, a new survey shows.

Some 65% of expats think their financial prospects are better abroad and have no plans to move back to their home country, an increase of 11% in the last six months, the survey from Lloyds TSB International reveals.

They have a growing aversion to a UK lifestyle and only 14% think their outlook would improve if they moved back, the survey that polled 867 British expats online in January, also found.

‘We knew that most people who move abroad are glad they did so, but we were surprised at the growing pessimism about financial prospects in the UK,’ said Jakob Pfaudler, managing director, Lloyds TSB International.

‘Much has been made of austerity Britain in the press and elsewhere, and it seems to be contributing to expats’ decisions to settle elsewhere for good. But generally we continue to find that lifestyle, not financial considerations, is the decisive factors in expats’ keenness to stay overseas,’ he added.

Of the 4% of expats who plan to return to the UK in the next year, only 12% are returning because they miss the UK lifestyle, and only 21% are moving back for their career.

‘It seems the key to contentment as an expat is emigrating to improve your lifestyle or to benefit your family. The research shows that career and financial considerations are important, but that many expats consider them the icing on the cake rather than the cake itself,’ added Pfaudler.

A separate survey suggests that expats who are happy with their new homes tend to be more loyal to their employer, happier and have better mental health overall. Factors such as a house’s decor and the quality of the area where they live were important, the research by American research organisation The Interchange Institute found.

Expats who had moved their families abroad in order to take advantage of a new job opportunity however often had very different ideas about what made a home likeable to their trailing spouses.

Employees, for example, saw quality of neighbourhood as the single most important characteristic of a home abroad, while their partners tended to prize privacy, décor and comfort more.

One of the most interesting findings yielded by the study was that expats in more open plan or centripetal homes are often happiest.

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