Expats Brits don’t want to return to unsafe, costly UK, study suggests

by Ray Clancy on November 7, 2011

In the last year around 825,000 expats cancelled plans to return to UK

A large number of expats have changed their mind about returning to the UK because they believe it is more expensive, less safe and as a lower quality of life, according to research.

Around 825,000 expats have cancelled their plans to return to the UK in last 12 months and 69% say they will stay abroad indefinitely, an increase of 13% in a year, the research from Lloyds TSB International also found.

Overall 15% of expats questioned said they have cancelled plans to move and this equates to 825,000 of the estimated 5.5 million British people who live overseas, says Lloyds.

Other reasons for staying abroad include healthier finances, safer neighbourhoods and the all important better life.

The study found that 74% of expats believe there is a better quality of life abroad, compared with the 7% who thought the UK offered a more preferable standard of living. Some 64% claimed they were better off financially compared to 12% who said this was the case when they are in the UK.

‘Expats have an enlightening view of the UK, having experienced life both home and away, so it’s worrying that life in Britain appears so bleak when viewed through their eyes,’ said Lloyds TSB’s Expatriate Banking Managing Director Tony Wilcox.

He added that the economic situation in Britain and news stories like the August riots had done nothing to help the current feeling about living in the UK.

‘Coupled with expats’ view that the quality of life is higher and they are financially better off abroad, it’s not surprising that so many have cancelled their plans to return to the UK,’ he explained.

‘Considering longer term trends, I think expats’ increasing happiness with life overseas also reflects that large groups of people in the UK are gradually becoming more outward looking with increased global travel, more international business and many people generally coming into more contact with other cultures. It has become easier and a more natural transition for some people to settle in and enjoy life overseas than it would have been 20, even ten, years ago,’ he added.

The research also found that 68% were happier living abroad than they were in the UK and only 7% said they are less happy overseas.

Expats believe their current place of residence was preferential when it came to raising children. They also thought schools were better and neighbourhoods with more activities and places to play for children.

Finally, expats also cited an appreciation for the chance to have their children learn another society, culture, and in some cases language.

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