British expats increasingly choosing to live further from home

by Ray Clancy on August 12, 2013

British expats increasingly choosing to live further from home

British expats increasingly choosing to live further from home

Modern communications means that British expats are becoming more adventurous and moving away from the traditional expat destinations such as Spain and France, new research has found. There has been a steady decline in European destinations and a notable rise in the number of expats moving to the United Arab Emirates, according to the sixth annual NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Report.

New Zealand has fallen out of the top three destinations and more people are also moving to places like Hong Kong, China and Singapore. The top destination is still Australia where expats say they are drawn by a better lifestyle and that they feel healthier and wealthier. In second place is Canada and in third place the UAE. South Africa comes fourth, followed by New Zealand, the United States and then Singapore. France is now eighth, followed by Spain and Portugal with China in eleventh place and then Hong Kong in twelfth place.

Career opportunities are the key driver for expats heading to the UAE with 75% giving job prospects as the reason for moving. However, only 8% of respondents believe they will stay in UAE for ever with the majority, 92%, considering themselves as on ‘temporary assignment’. A large disposable income is enjoyed by 96% of those living in UAE, Hong Kong, China and Singapore on a temporary basis.

Quote from : “Newly arrived twenty-something gal in Dubai, and have just moved into a nice apartment in JBR. Has anyone got any suggestions about how to cut back on bills, as they seem to be a bit pricey.”

‘The most notable shifts in our Quality of Life results this year is the rise of the UAE as an expat destination. It seems expats are willing to adjust their lifestyle in exchange for a stronger economy and better job opportunities,’ said Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking. ‘The once loved traditional expat communities of France, Spain and Portugal are diminishing, with quality of life drastically reducing for expats living there, making way for newcomers such as UAE and Singapore,’ he added.

The research also found that falling property prices, austerity measures and fears over job security are prompting 63% of expats in Europe to consider returning to the UK. Expats living in Spain are feeling the pinch the most where unemployment stands at almost 20%. A third of respondents in Europe said they were already looking into returning to the UK.

Singapore is increasingly attracting expats particularly those from the UK and Europe. Singapore has built a reputation for offering a good quality of life, as well as a range of interesting career opportunities. Expats living in Singapore have higher average incomes and greater wealth than expats living anywhere else in the world. Expats are also less worried about moving further away from home and have found that the internet and video technology make it easier to stay in touch with family and friends at home.

‘Modern communication tools are making a huge difference to expats. Video technology like Skype let you speak to your loved one on a daily basis, as if you were just across the table,’ said expat Andrea Waterson who has lived in Geneva for two years. ‘It means I can easily talk to my father, who’s still in Britain, while Facebook lets me catch up with friends wherever they are. I look back on the UK very differently now. I don’t feel a particular need to go there, and I don’t even really think of it as going home,’ she added.

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