In the last decade there has been a substantial increase of Brits deciding to pack up their belongings, sell their homes in the UK to fly abroad in search for a better lifestyle. An estimated 5.5m British people live permanently aboard, which is a surprising 1 in 10 of the U.K. residents. In 2011, it was reported that 1000 people are leaving the UK every day in pursuit of warmer climates and an improved standard of living. The most popular destinations for British expats are Australia, the USA, Canada, Spain and New Zealand.
More Brits live abroad than any other nation. The foreign embassy has reported an average of 4000 visa applications per week for people wishing to move abroad, compared with just 300 per week ten years ago. So, what is it about Great Britain that is making so many of us crave a change? There are many factors swaying expats decisions to move aboard and start a new life.
Why do people pack up their worldly possessions and jet of to the other side of the world?
One of the core factors which encourages Brits to take the plunge and move aboard is the gloomy weather that blights the UK. Although, the UK has beautiful countryside and magnificent beaches, the weather regulates how often we get to enjoy these pleasures. Even in the summer season there is no promise that we can plan a trip to the beach, as more often than not the bad weather will mean that we more often than not have to throw our plans out of the window.
European countries such as, Greece, Spain, France and Italy have spectacular hot summer days and mild nights where you can enjoy evening strolls along the harbour and feasting al-fresco at home or outdoor restaurants. When we see British people drinking tea, shivering on their outdoor patios, it is not difficult to see why a move is so appealing for many.
Often the cost of living in many foreign countries is an influential aspect for many when considering a move aboard. Many of the more well-off population are now wanting to move aboard due to high taxes and increased crime. 19% of British citizens with savings of over a quart of a million have said they would consider moving aboard. Experienced professionals find that they can earn more than they do in the UK with superior employment conditions, such as, reduced working hours, less tax and private health care schemes.
Many expats have noted an enhancement in their leisure time with a better balance between their working life and social life. 41% of the affluent Britons believe life is more stressful in the UK than other European countries that have a calmer pace to life. The bulk of Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy have relaxed working hours and often enjoy siestas during the hottest part of the day. Eating out and day to day living often does not tend to break the bank in many of these countries compared to Britain.
The blend of fewer working hours and extra leisure time has radically enriched the quality of life for many expats living aboard. According to a report by the Daily Mail, nine out of ten Brits living aboard said their quality of life has improved since leaving the UK. Many expats comment that their life is now much less stressful than it had been in the UK.
Although a hefty amount of Brits emigrating aboard are retired hoping for a warmer and relaxing climate to live, families and younger age groups are now also making the move to up and leave the UK for good. Increased crime rates and anti-social behaviour in nearly all towns in the UK is a worry for many and frequently a reason that many are now looking for a safer life aboard. In many cities throughout the UK, gang culture has increased with more knife and gun crimes been committed than ever before. Glasgow and London both have high crime rates compared to most other European cities. Many people feel unsafe on the streets of the UK and are now opting for a safer life for their families in a country with less crime and better quality of life. Countries like Greece and Italy have a stronger family ethic than we appear to have in the UK, which is an attraction for many when moving abroad.
In addition, to the rising crime throughout cities in the UK, an increase in rules and regulations in the British society is also beginning to have a negative effect on many people. This is especially true of the younger generation who are more willing to try out another lifestyle abroad in a country which appears to be more welcoming and less dictating the Great Britain. For many of us disheartened by the British society it can often feel that we are told what we must eat, how much to drink and where we can smoke. For some he country has now become too politically correct and we are often afraid to open out mouths for fear we might offend someone when we speak.
Whether it be Europe, Asia, Africa or Australia it appears that the British are unsatisfied with their lives in the UK and will continue in their search for the perfect life away for miserable and wet Britain.
The dangers of emigrating
Statistically, 25-34 year olds are the age group most likely to consider selling up in the UK and purchasing a property abroad outright in order to become mortgage free. On average, a UK family emigrates aboard with assets of £250,000 from the sales of a house, car and some savings. However, while they carefully plan their new lives in minute detail, what many overlook is the potential cost of leaving their currency exchange in the wrong hands. By transferring their worldly possessions to their new chosen location via a high street bank, the average family risks losing up to a staggering £10,000 of their assets. According to research from HiFX, banks typically charge 4% more than currency specialists in unfavourable exchange rates.