Over a third of expats move abroad for work but a large number also want to experience a new environment, culture and lifestyle and to join family already living in another country, new research has found.

Some 34.8% move primarily for work either with a current or new employer, 29.7% move for something new while 20.9% join a married partner, parents, or children, according to the study from international removals company MoveHub.

The research also shows that 65.6% are between the ages of 25 and 44, the premium age range for professional migrants. Some 31.8% have a job before moving and 9.6% have a relocation budget or their employer pays for their move.


The least common motives are for retirement which just 0.9% doing so and just 9.6% move to an unmarried partner while 12.4% are people starting a gap year or university students.

Following closely behind the youngest professional migrants are those between the ages of 45 and 54 with older families. The study suggests that this group is more financially stable, have well established careers, and their children are more independent. Many of this older generation have been global nomads before, paused for kids, and are now moving again thanks to their freedom once their kids have grown up.

Citizenship plays a factor 28.8% of professional migrants either have citizenship of the countries they are moving to, or are moving between certain areas where they usually do not require a visa, such as within the European Union. After professional migrants moving for their career, the next largest group are those that can get a visa through their job, either through a current (17.9%) or new employer (16.9%).

Countries such as the UK and US are not the easiest ones in which to obtain a work visa from abroad, but offer extended visas for intracompany transfers, in the UK’s case, for up to five years. Others, such as the UAE, might be seen as easier in the eyes of prospective applicants as they require those moving to already have a job offer in the country.

More people are moving to France and the UK with 22.52% and 16.44% respectively and the report suggests this is due to many factors including job opportunities. Many of those moving to the UK are from the United States and Australia.

In third place is the United States with 6.85%, followed by Australia with 6.38%, Spain with 3.69% and Canada with 3.3%. The report points out that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU for 25s and over and this could be one reason it is further down the list.

The UK had the highest rate of professionals leaving in the last year. Some 29.9% said this was for a better quality of life while 17.3% said it was for an easier career progression. The most popular destinations for these people were in countries such as Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In second place for people leaving was France which has a jobless rate of10.2% and the report says this could be one reason why 27.64% left.

Some 54.4% of people moving out of the UK named the weather as a big factor. This is supported by the fact that 40% of international moves from the UK are to sunnier countries such as Australia, the United States, Spain and France. Also 31.5% of people named high housing prices, especially in London.

“The global nature of business has created a society which is far less rooted to its location and a new generation which sees distance as no impediment. While most nations still seem to opt for countries with a shared language, there are also many hundreds of people who have learnt a new language and moved to live in a new culture,” the report says.

“There has been a 15% increase in enquiries for international moves compared to the previous financial year and this should only increase in the coming years. For professional migrants the world is full of possibilities and as they have shown over the past year, the country offering the best jobs, lifestyle, and weather, wins,” it adds.