What Do Expats Really Think? The NatWest Quality Of Life Survey 2014

Seriously considering moving abroad? You may well find yourself amongst good company. Last year, data from the United Nations showed that the number of Britons choosing to live abroad has skyrocketed over the past decade to over five million. And once again in 2014 the annual NatWest Quality of Life Survey demonstrates that Australia still tops the charts as the favourite destination for emigrating Brits.
But what else did British expats have to say?
Destination of choice
The top worldwide destinations of choice for building a new life were revealed to be Australia, followed by Canada, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore and China. The only three European countries in the top ten are France, Spain and Portugal.
For those settled in Australia, a better environment and quality of life for their children as well as the sunny weather featured in the top five reasons for living there, while an encouraging 87 percent consider themselves settled enough to stay there for the long haul. 89 percent reported an improved quality of life overall.
The shift towards the East has picked up the pace, attracting British expats with better career prospects and higher wages, and it is predicted that the demand for British skills in countries such as China, Singapore and the UAE will continue to grow.
The UAE in particular is attracting a younger crowd, predominantly 25-35 years of age, with 84 percent reporting the country provides a good working environment and 92 percent enjoying a high disposable income. However, expats found the major drawback to life in the UAE was the difficulty of integrating into the community and making friends.
Excellent childcare and education came out as a top benefit to living in Singapore but it was also reported that this is a country with a strong work ethic, scoring low for work-life balance.
China is rated highly due to 87 percent of expats earning more than they did back home in the UK, while the excellent public transport systems, friendly culture and great food are all top reasons to stay. However, in Hong Kong, although 92 percent were appreciative of the ease of life afforded by the widespread use of English, overcrowding (73 percent) and air pollution (94 percent) were reported as downsides.
In comparison, the top draws of Europe have seen a 30 percent decrease in emigrating expats, with a third currently living in France stating they would move back to the UK.
Staying connected
A big consideration for many expats is staying in touch with family and friends back home. The NatWest survey reported that British expats spend more time on social media than any other internet activity.
Additionally, over 72 percent use Skype to stay in touch regularly, although this is evidently a double-edged sword, as 57 percent of expats reported an increased sense of feeling homesick when speaking to loved ones back in the UK. However, 81 percent of expats reported watching British TV shows over the internet for a little bit of home comfort.
If you are considering a move to any of these destinations, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. For more details about Cadogan Tate’s specialist international removals services from London, click here.
Information correct at time of publication.