Expat favourites in this global migration century

Published:  10 Jun at 6 PM
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With global migration now at an all-time high and involving huge numbers of international professionals as well as retirees, where do they come from and where do they go?

Professional expats have many reasons for leaving the home country, with career prospects, increased salaries, an improvement in the work/life balance and the excitement of a new challenge some of the most important. A new report from the United Nations tracks the most popular destination countries and maps the home countries of the international diaspora.

The totals of expats in general settled across the globe are split equally between Europe and Asia, with another slightly smaller wave heading for North America. Africa attracts fewer, and Latin America, the Caribbean and the Oceanic countries are the least popular with professionals looking for a change of lifestyle.

As regards the most popuiar destination countries over the last year, a survey by MoveHub identifies France as number one, with the UK close behind, although as many people are leaving Britain as are arriving. The Brits themselves head for new lives in Australia, the USA, Spain and France, preferring European destinations or Commonwealth countries.

USA citizens are now on the move as never before, especially those living in New York. English-speaking countries are the most favoured, with the UK art the top of the list, followed by Australia and Canada. At the same time, Australians are heading for the UK’s cultural experiences, with Ireland, the USA and New Zealand, and elderly British expats are giving up trying to manage on frozen pensions and moving back to the UK.

As regards qualified and experienced professionals, Hong Kong, the Gulf States and Singapore are still well up on the list of the right places to improve career prospects, live the high life and save enough to successfully restart their lives after their assignments end. Adventurous professionals may well decide to head for emerging economies in Asia, with Vietnam attracting entrepreneurs as well as digital nomads.

The new guy on the block, particularly for Western expats, is China, now attracting expat-owned businesses as well as talented individuals hoping to immerse themselves in one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating cultures. Many Chinese are looking to increase their international experience by moving overseas to work just as they have for centuries, although nowadays they’re heading for the West rather than to traditional Asian destinations.
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