UK expat retirees backtracking as more young people leave

Published:  23 Jun at 6 PM
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A recent survey has revealed an increase in younger people becoming expats whilst more retirees are returning to the UK due to financial woes.

In 2015, more than 121,000 UK citizens left the UK and headed for expat destinations across the world, according to the Office for National Statistics. At the same time, a NatWest International survey indicated that almost half the total left to work overseas, and around 6 per cent left to study at overseas universities.

Taking the two studies into account, it seems that expats are becoming younger, with 27 per cent of the 24,000 respondents admitting to being between 25 and 35 years of age. One reason for the decrease in the average age of expats is the ease with which contact can be kept with family and friends in the UK via various internet and smartphone services.

According to a previous NatWest survey, Australia remained the most popular destination for Britons taking the giant step of emigrating, with France, North America and the UAE also favoured.However, in 2015, Singapore topped the list, followed by Hong Kong and mainland China, all attractive destinations for employment opportunities.

Both studies suggest the traditional permanent emigration pattern of looking for a new start overseas or a long-stay retirement dream home is changing fast. Nowadays, younger Brits are seeking work experience abroad as a positive addition to their career portfolios.

Arabic and Asian countries are the main hubs for temporary expats, with companies in both regions searching for British professional skills to augment and train local workers. However, many respondents living and retiring in EU member states said they were concerned about their financial wellbeing and were considering returning to the UK as a result.

Over a million British expats living overseas are retirees, according to government statistic, with around 33 per cent of the number looking to return home due to homesickness or financial worries. Present-day fluctuations in political and economic conditions as well as falls in house prices are piling pressure on retirees living on UK pensions or small employment-based incomes.
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