Is UK expatriation becoming less popular

Published:  28 Jul at 6 PM
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If media coverage is to be believed, the UK would seem to be emptying fast, but new research by one of Britain’s high street banks seems to show the opposite.

According to a study by Lloyds Bank’s private banking arm, 1.6 million Britons have deserted their homeland for overseas climes since 2006. Given the 2008 financial crisis and its effect on British small businesses plus the ongoing political chaos leading to the Brexit referendum and its result, most people would believe the exodus is still gathering momentum, but the survey seems to show it’s actually slowing down.

During the six years beginning in 2006, an annual average of 162,667 Brits voted with their feet and left for mostly warmer climes, but from 2012 onwards the exodus slowed to an annual average of 134,400, a fall of just under 20 per cent. According to recent statistics, Brits overseas now number 4.92 million. Favourite destinations include Australia, the lucky country getting the most Britons, with 385,000 choosing to move as far away from the UK as it’s possible to get, whilst Spain’s impressive total, possibly due to its weather, was 144,000.

The USA allowed 132,000 UK expats to cross its borders, although since a new president was installed, some might be wishing they’d stayed at home. France, also enjoying a new style of president, received 128,000, but given the advantages of French wine and cuisine, few are likely to change their minds voluntarily. Stunningly beautiful New Zealand claimed 94,000 UK citizens, many of whom possibly fell in love with it as a backdrop for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

The survey claimed three out of every four respondents left due to having received a job offer whilst still in the UK, but didn’t offer a comparison with the numbers of independent entrepreneurs and retirees who’d decided the UK was no longer home. Unsurprisingly, a private bank might not have many of the above two categories on its books although its spokesman did mention that moving abroad was a daunting prospect in addition to being ‘lifechanging and exciting’.

The difference is clear – most of those taking up an overseas job offer are likely to return at some stage, but the real expats are the entrepreneurs who’ve carved out a business abroad and the retirees who hoped and planned for a permanent move.
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