Over recent decades the UK has become a magnet for expats
and migrants seeking good prospects, a strong economy and the opportunity for
gainful employment. According to the most recent UK census, the current
foreign-born population of Britain has increased 50% in the last decade and has surpassed an astonishing 7 million people.
Long a popular destination among Indians and Pakistanis (the
largest groups of non-native UK residents) the immigrant population has swollen
yet further with the introduction of the European Union and the free travel
offered to those from Eastern Europe. Many of the Polish, Lithuanians and
Romanians that have flooded to British shores have established new lives for
themselves and become an essential part of the UK economy.
However despite proving a tempting destination for the 12%
of the British population who weren’t originally born here, it seems that Brits
themselves are increasingly finding their attention drawn overseas. Some might
claim that the British don’t know a good thing when they see it, but it seems
that there are a number of factors encouraging ever more to live the expat
lifestyle in another country.
Now a new study has revealed what impresses British expats
most about their adopted countries; some of which paint their previous
experiences in the UK under a rather poor light.
To begin with, 89% of Brits who have moved overseas claim to
have a far better quality of life than they did when living in the UK. This is
even when only 25% of expats are retired; it seems even working-age expats are
finding foreign cultures far more appealing to a high quality of life.
Part of that is likely the shorter working week – and
increased free time as a result. 85% of the expats surveyed for the recent
study by Cotton Traders claim that they have more leisure time now that
they’ve left British shores. Furthermore, 77% of British expats said that they
had more free time overall than they did in the UK.
But it’s not just the increased free time that is drawing
Brits to an expat life overseas. Half of all UK expats find living abroad
cheaper than their equivalent life in the UK – even when flights ‘home’ and the
costs of expat health insurance are factored into their everyday living
Lastly it seems that expensive housing in the UK is serving
as a major contributing factor in many expats decisions to move abroad. As
house prices have now recovered from the economic downturn and are showing
double-digit growth on a regular basis, one in four expats said that
more affordable housing is one of the key attractions for them in terms of a