The UK sees approximately one in ten of its population taking the plunge, upping sticks, and moving overseas. Driven by work opportunities, sunnier climes and different lifestyle prospects, expats are continuing to make their homes across the globe; but just where do we Brits decide to settle abroad, what are the top destinations, and where should expats be moving in 2019?
There are so many factors to take into consideration when deciding on the right destination to make your new home and it’s definitely worth doing some thorough research before you commit to the big move. Jobs and employment prospects; cost of living; healthcare; climate; education system; property availability and price; quality of life; and retirement prospects are all top of the list of priorities.
We’ve taken a look at the many trending hotspots across the globe for Expats and have come up with three very different destinations, across different continents, worth considering as a forever home, in terms of that all important list of priorities.
Quality of life; lifestyle; living Costs
The quality of life is considered very good in Hong Kong. This former British Colony continues to be a popular relocation destination for UK citizens. Home to a large, established expat community; and with English classified as one of Hong Kong’s official languages; the prospect of settling in and feeling at home as an expat is made easier. Feeling a strong sense of ‘belonging’ in the place you call Home is the crucial icing on the ‘quality of life’ cake.
Modern city living usually means cost of living is high and in the case of Hong Kong this couldn’t be truer. High cost of living, however, is generally matched by high wages, coupled with an excellent quality of life and the amenities, facilities and choice you’d expect from a multi-national metropolis.
Employment and career prospects
Hong Kong is a key location within the world economy; a major port and a global business, financial and banking sector, Hong Kong is one of the multinational hotspots for trade, which means earning prospects are high. High income potential offers an opulent lifestyle for those expats with the skills and drive to succeed in this city packed with employment opportunities, with the scope for fast career progression. If you’re considering moving overseas for better financial and career prospects then Hong Kong could be just the city for you. In addition to trade and finance, other prime industries with extensive job possibilities in Hong Kong include tourism, logistics, professional and producer services, innovation and technology industries, the creative and cultural sector, medical services, and the education sector.
Finding the right property to call Home in Hong Kong could prove harder than finding the right job opportunity. Housing is limited in the city and prices match the skyscraper heights of the buildings that dominate the city streets.
Choosing to move into one of the residential areas outside of the city centre, such as the southern part of Hong Kong Island, for example, Kowloon Peninsula, or an outlying island, such as The New Territories’ Lantau Island will see cheaper rents and house prices and are popular areas for expats to settle, particularly families. These urban outposts and outlying islands are less densely populated with less bustle and a good quality of life can be found at a less hectic place, with the city still communtable.
Health and medical care, both public and private, is considered excellent in Hong Kong. There’s a long-standing, low-fee public healthcare system which is also available to non-permanent residents who hold a valid visa and ID card.
The education system in Hong Kong is considered excellent; consisting of government run schools; subsidized charitable schools; private schools; and private international schools. The latter is naturally the popular choice with expats living in Hong Kong, as well as the choice of many local parents. Private international schools tend to have higher tuition fees and competition for places can be strong with long waiting lists.
Enjoying a good standard of living as a retiree in Hong Kong is completely on offer for those shrewd enough to have a steadfast financial retirement plan. There is much on offer in Hong Kong to attract the expat wishing to retire in a city that never sleeps with arts and culture, entertainment, fine dining and shopping on tap as well as the contrast of the beautiful surrounding mountainous landscape to explore at your leisure.
A humid subtropical climate Hong Kong has distinguishable seasons, experiencing warm and humid springs; hot, humid, wet summers; clement, sunny autumns and cool to mild, dry winters. Be prepared for the odd tropical cyclones and thunderstorms from time to time between the months of May and November, and typhoon season is September.
Quality of life; lifestyle; living costs
If you speak French, naturally a move across the water won’t present you with any problems communication wise which will make it a dream to settle in and make new friends. You may find that many locals will speak conversational English well, particularly the younger generation and in the urban areas. This said, the French like to communicate naturally in their own language and some effort to speak French will go a long way in helping you to feel a part of the local community.
Work/life Balance is something which France is famed for and this is certainly a favourable aspect for expats with families and for those who enjoy leisure time.
Culturally and socially there is so much on offer for the intrigued expat, from art galleries to film, fine dining to dancing; depending upon the region, expats can immerse themselves in the good life French style.
Cost of living is comparatively expensive in France compared with the average wage but the job security aspect makes up for this and city life is more likely to bring high-paying salaries for those with the skills and experience.
School quality, overall cost of bringing up children and the quality of childcare makes France a great option for expats moving with a young family.
Employment and career prospects
France boasts one of the largest global economies; is a key influencer within the EU; and has a great deal to attract those looking for a comfortable standard of expat living. We’re not talking skyscraper wages but with the right research there are job opportunities in many of the major sectors and France rates highly in terms of job security. Speaking fluent French is without a doubt an advantage in the job hunting market.
Amongst the key industrial sectors in France are telecommunications, technology, tourism, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, construction and civil engineering, aerospace and defense, ship building, textiles, and automobile production. A high concentration of the workforce in Paris is made up of the expat community, with popular sectors being business and financial services, government, education, the service industry, tourism and health.
Property isn’t likely to present expats with a problem. Finding the right place to call Home is vital. France has much to offer the expat in terms of accommodation, ranging from apartments and condos to farmhouses, quaint cottages and of course there’s always the option of making your Home in your very own dream chateaux. But for those expats wanting something less grand and more comfy, reasonably priced property is available in both the rental and buying markets.
The healthcare system in France is a combination of Public and Private and the standard of care across the board is world class.
The quality of the education system in France is rated highly. The schooling system in France consists of public, private, bilingual and international schools. Paris and the other large commercial areas of France tend to have a larger expat community which is reflected in the number of international schools here. Many teach through the medium of English and follow the international baccalaureate system.
France is one of the most popular places to retire for British expats. Being so close to the UK you’re not too far from family and friends making France easy for visits. The warm weather, good food, quaint towns and villages, gorgeous countryside, reasonable living costs, good quality of life and excellent healthcare provision makes France a fabulous place to retire.
The weather in France will depend largely on which area you settle in. Overall the French climate can be said to be mild and not too dissimilar to that of the UK. Southwestern and Mediterranean areas have the most favourable weather for expats looking for sunnier climes, and the snowy winters in the Alpine areas attract those expats who enjoy the slopes.New Zealand
Quality of life; lifestyle; living costs
New Zealand is rated an excellent place to live for expats. Quality of life is super high; It’s a safe place to settle down, with low crime rates; there is so much to immerse in culturally and socially; and the landscapes are fantastic.
New Zealand is largely populated by incomers with a huge community of expats from the UK, China, South Africa, the South Pacific, North America, and India.
The potential of integrating easily into a community is possible in a place like New Zealand. Settling in is easy in terms of language because of the ease of being able to speak English.
Living costs in New Zealand are incredibly high compared to the UK, and this isn’t always matched by competitive salaries.
Employment and career prospects
The economy in New Zealand is gathering momentum and opportunities exist for expats with the right skills and experience in a range of sectors, such as agriculture, finance, tourism and manufacturing.
Property isn’t expensive generally and both rental and property to buy is on offer for expats. The type of property will depend on the area but a wide range of choice, including detached and semi-detached, old architecture and new builds, is available and not in short supply
New Zealand has an excellent healthcare system with the highest standards. It runs both a public and private healthcare system. The public healthcare system operates on a general taxation basis, so healthcare is either free or subsidised. As you’d expect the private healthcare system is more expensive.
New Zealand is a fantastic country for young families and for raising children. Education is a top priority and the education system is considered excellent and one of the best in the world. Great schooling can be found throughout New Zealand but popular with expats with families are the city destinations of Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. Public schooling is free of charge for citizens and permanent residents. Private and international schools are popular with expats, though fees can be very high. The International Baccalaureate is followed by many of the international schools with some offering the IGCSE/A-Level route.
New Zealand is a wonderful place to retire. The quality and pace of life offers retiree expats the opportunity to truly make the most of these special years. In order to retire in New Zealand applicants must be in good health and of good character; commit to an investment in New Zealand; and prove ownership of additional settlement or maintenance funds.
The weather will vary depending on location and season but the climate is generally temperate. Being mostly a coastal country, New Zealand enjoys mild temperatures, generally moderate rainfall, and lots of lovely sunshine. Over the summer months the weather can be subtropical high up in the north, with plenty of heavy rain. The inland alpine lands in the South Island can experience harsh winters with temperatures plummeting to -10 C.
The world is your oyster
Deciding where to move overseas really is a melting pot of choice if you have the whole globe to consider as an option. Narrowing it down can be tricky. Most expats are driven by individual circumstances that make location choice easy, such as moving to be with family and friends, or moving for a specific job opportunity, or moving because you have visited a place over the years and have fallen in love with its way and the people and culture.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to start a new life overseas, and whatever your reasons for making that all important choice about where; it’s important to conduct thorough research; ask questions; prioritise what’s important to you; be prepared to make compromises, but only on those things you are happy compromising on; and ask advice from expats who will be able to tell you what it’s really like living in a particular place.