Expats more likely to be families than single career minded people

by Ray Clancy on February 26, 2014

Today’s expats are likely to be families with children but 39% have no jobs lined up when they arrive in their new country, a survey has found.

It is a change from years ago when expats were more likely to be single people seeking a career in a high flying job with higher pay.

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The most popular destination for ritish expats is Europe where 37% want to move to

The latest research from health insurance provider AXA PPP International shows that just 13% of aspiring expats are single whereas 45% are families with children.

The reasons for seeking a new life abroad are varied, the survey also found. Some 17% said it was dissatisfaction with the quality of life in the UK and 17% also cited a poor work/life balance.

This is a change from five years ago. Expats who relocated at least five years ago said they left the UK for the lure of new career opportunities. The survey also found that 13% seek to move to find better pay, 10% seek a better climate and 9% are looking for a better economic outlook.

Andrew Coombs, AXA PPP International managing director, said the research suggests a sea change in the mindset of the British expat. ‘Close to half of those established expats we surveyed had travelled alone and been mainly motivated by new job prospects,’ he explained.

‘Many of today’s aspiring expats, however, will be relocating with their partners and children, and their perceived dissatisfaction with life in the UK and their ambition for a better quality of life are driving their considerations,’ he pointed out.

The survey also found that less than a third of aspiring expats are thinking of moving to Asia. The most popular destination is Europe where 37% want to move to. A further 25% are not planning on learning the local language yet and 43% plan to socialise within their new local community.

Coombs said that it is also interesting to note that aspiring expats’ perception of the UK economy ranks among their main reasons for looking for a new life overseas, yet Europe, whose popular expat strongholds, Spain, Portugal and Greece, have all been victims of property price crashes, rocketing living costs and struggling economies, remain their lead relocation destinations.

Even though less than a third of aspiring expats are thinking of moving to Asia, given the continent’s growing economies, Coombs pointed out that global mobility is constantly improving access to emerging markets where Britons can benefit from more affordable accommodation and a higher standard of living.

‘We are encouraged by the confidence of the aspiring expats. However, before relocating, we encourage them to consider what life will be like in their new destination,’ said Coombs.

‘Experience suggests that a third of expats return to the UK earlier than planned, for reasons including financial difficulties, lack of social interaction, cultural difficulties and missing home, proving a need to carefully consider your options both before leaving, and after you’ve left,’ he added.

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