Economic gloom and austerity make Brits think about moving overseas, study suggests

by Ray Clancy on April 27, 2011

Survey shows many UK residents choose expat life

More British people are considering the expat life than ever before with austerity measures and gloom about the economy creating a desire to move abroad, new research shows.

Over half, 54%, of people aged 18 to 45 who took part in the latest research from Aviva say that they would consider leaving the country.

Some 46% of people are considering a permanent move compared to last year’s 39%. One in five or 21% of people remain more cautious and would only be prepared to go for between one and three years.

The study indicates that the UK economy is playing a role in this trend. Nine out of ten, 89%, respondents believe the last three years has seen a decline in the UK job market, with a further 54% admitting the government cuts have adversely affected their lifestyle. Over half, 54%, of people claim this is a key trigger to them considering a move abroad.

The long winter has also taken its toll, with 45% motivated to move abroad by the promise of a better climate. A further 31% believe a healthier, less stressful and more varied lifestyle awaits them, while 33% are hoping for a better quality of work/life balance.

When asked about their concerns, a quarter, 25%, were worried they might have worse benefits abroad. And, 37% think they would have less state funded privileges.

Health still appears to be a key concern for people considering a move abroad. Just over a third say the NHS is one of the things they would miss the most. This is compared to a quarter, 25%, saying the same last year. Almost a half, 46% of respondents think the UK has better health benefits than other countries worldwide.

This prompted six in 10, 59%, to say that they would factor heath insurance into their planning. By contrast, 38% of people would not arrange any sort of health insurance before they moved.

‘When times are tough, it might seem natural to set one’s sights on moving abroad. But our survey shows that there are certainly pros and cons to moving and people need to plan carefully if they are considering making their dream a reality,’ said Teresa Rogers, business lead for International PMI at Aviva.

‘Health is clearly a primary concern for people and whether you’re thinking of moving abroad for a short time or on a more permanent basis you need to take care to ensure you and your family are always properly protected,’ she explained.

‘Healthcare provision varies greatly around the world and even routine medical care can prove costly in countries that don’t offer a similar service to the NHS. Although it’s very encouraging that over half of the people we spoke to would consider taking out international health insurance, over a third, 39%, would sort their health insurance out only once they’ve arrived. This could leave them in a difficult position should the worst happen,’ she added.

Aviva’s research also reveals that the same five countries identified in its 2010 study still remain the re-location destinations of choice. Top is Australia, followed by the United States, Canada, Spain and then New Zealand. Other popular destinations include France, Italy, Dubai, Switzerland and Germany.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Aussie Bob May 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Brits who think they can land up in Oz and get a job straight away must first talk to my mate Kevin.

He's a rather well spoken fellow who moved to Oz 6 years ago from the UK. After all these years, the best he's been able to manage is to run shifts and manage a pizza store. From what I know, his other options were in sales (he even tried it), call centres (the pay wasn't worth the stress, he said) and manual labour (there wasn't any guarantee of work).

He makes about $30,000-$50,000 a year and is not very happy, because while he's never had to beg, he's never made any progress either… somehow, when he came here, he figured high school would get him through.

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Aussie Bob May 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm

More and more firms are looking for educated and experienced skilled workers rather than well spoken folks from the 'mother country' or whatever some people think it is. Even with a degree, it's hard unless you have the right degree and the right amount of experience/expertise.

Australia's changed – and while what you bring in GBP will keep your head above water for some time, unless you can make $70,000 (single) or $120,000 (couple) or $150,000 (family) per annum remember that you'll be pretty much living hand to mouth in another country.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not discouraging anyone from trying to make a life here. Just thought that you should all know that if you come in as skilled migrants, you do not get any unemployment assistance etc. for the first 104 weeks i.e. 2 years.

And they're cracking down on Single mothers and all kinds of welfare dependent people. Please do plan your landing here down to the last detail, inlcuding a job offer.

Good luck!

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