British Expats Head East For Work And Cash

Financial PlanningTax Planning


The number of British expats heading east for a new life is booming, according to a new survey.

Singapore is the destination of choice for most expats who have lived overseas for at least three years, says the NatWest International Banking annual quality of life index.

Last year’s top destinations – Australia and Canada have slid down the rankings.

The survey also reveals just over half of all British expats are working on overseas assignments – up from 11% when the survey started six years ago.

The trend is expected to continue as more young workers opt to become expats.

The under 35s now make up 27% of all expats compared to 16% in 2011.

More women moving overseas

The research also revealed more women are taking the plunge as expats – making up 46% of Brits abroad in 2015 compared to a third in 2011.

“The typical expat profile has changed considerably in the years we have carried out this research,” said Dave Isley, of NatWest.

“In the past, becoming an expat meant moving your life to another country on a more permanent basis than we are seeing now.

“Technology allows expats to keep in touch with their families much easier now and the trend is towards going overseas for shorter assignments to improve career prospects and salaries.”

The bank spoke to 2,400 British expats to compile the report.

Top global destinations for British expats

The result was the top 10 countries offering the best quality of life for expats are (Last year’s placings in brackets):

  1. Singapore (4)
  2. United Arab Emirates (3)
  3. China (5)
  4. New Zealand (6)
  5. Hong Kong (8)
  6. Canada (2)
  7. Australia (1)
  8. South Africa (7)
  9. USA (9)
  10. Portugal (12)
  11. France (10)
  12. Spain (11)

European destinations seem to be dropping out of favour with expats.

Between 2009 and 2011, France ranked in fourth place, but has steadily decreased in popularity since.

Spain hovered around seventh place for many years but is declining in favour as well.

This could indicate that fewer older British expats are moving abroad as a lifestyle choice to live in a different country and that younger expats are more career driven and moving for work and money rather than to retire.

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