Preferred Destinations for British Expats—Australia at the Top; Far East Nations Surge
A recent study by the Centre for Future Studies ranked Australia as the most successful destination for expats from Britain. Nine out of ten British expats who participated in the preparation of the seventh annual NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life index opined that they enjoyed a significant improvement in the their quality of life after the shift.
82% of the respondents felt that access to a better environment and improved quality of lifestyle for their family was the primary reason for living in Australia. About 73% of the respondents indicated that their health had improved in Australia while two out of three respondents said they witnessed an increase in disposable income.
Australia’s economy and the sunshine in the country got thumbs up from 88% and 84% of the respondents. 87% British expats indicated that they would prefer to live indefinitely in the country while 28% had gone ahead with their decision to retire in Australia.
While Australia continues to remain popular, nations in the Far East have seen a surge in their popularity amongst British expats. As compared to 2008 rankings, China has jumped from 11th to 5th place while Hong Kong is currently ranked 8th after not having a ranking in 2008. Singapore has risen from the 9th spot in 2008 to the fourth rank in this year’s index.
Seven out of ten expats cited better job prospects as the reason behind the move to China with close to 90% indicating that they were earning more than what they used to earn in the UK. China’s work-life balance and quality of public transport was viewed positively by about half the respondents with special mention of the warm local culture, culinary options, fitness opportunities, and the vast bus and train networks in the country.
Singapore scored low in terms of work-life balance but won praise as a great place to raise children despite the fact that childcare and education in Singapore is a very expensive affair. Job security in Singapore was cited as an issue with 53% of the respondents indicating that they were concerned in this regard.
Hong Kong’s liberal tax regime was a plus with 74% respondents while 92% of British expats found the widespread use of English to be an advantage. The public transport was rated efficient by 58% of the respondents. On the flip side, a staggering 94% of all expats were unhappy with air pollution in Hong Kong. Shortage of quality international schools was an issue with a third of the expats while overcrowding was a negative for three out of every four British expatriates.
After Canada at the second spot, the UAE was the third-most preferred destination for British expats for the second consecutive year. High disposable income, a vibrant working environment and culture, and boost for career prospects were ranked high by 82%-92% of all British expats who participated in the Index. However, cultural integration seems to be an issue with 71% expats saying that making friends and enjoying life in the community was tough.
63 % of the expats in European countries said they were considering a move back to the UK due to widespread austerity measures and job security issues. A third of the expats in France indicated that they were mulling a permanent shift back to the UK.
Over the past seven years, the Quality of Life Index has clearly indicated that Australia is the most preferred destination for British expats. Not surpassingly, many Britons are in favor of settling permanently in this prosperous nation. However, there is a marked shift with Europe losing favor and the Far East becoming a preferred choice.
Other preferred destinations included New Zealand at sixth spot, South Africa at seventh, the USA at ninth, with France, Spain, and Portugal occupying the 10th-12th spot.