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70% of British expats unlikely to return home, poll finds

Author:   |  May 11th, 2017

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Expat living is not always a walk on the beach, but the majority of Brits who make the leap never want to look - or move - back.

Expat living is not always a walk on the beach, but the majority of Brits who make the leap never want to look – or move – back.

Becoming an expat or immigrant is usually not a decision taken lightly. Uprooting one’s life can be stressful, but generally – with enough planning and forethought – the experience is a profoundly positive one. So much so that, according to a new poll of Brits who have emigrated abroad, 69% do not want to move back to the UK. Ever

The survey, carried out by financial services organisation deVere Group, found that the majority of current British expats are more than happy where they are, with only 10% saying that they would consider a move back to Blighty, and just 21% in the ‘maybe’ camp.

One of the chief reasons for Brits to move abroad in the first place was for work – 23% of those polled said that a career choice took them overseas.

The survey asked almost 1,000 Brits living in countries as diverse as Spain, the UAE, Australia and South Africa, and shone a light on what motivates Brits to move, how they live while overseas, and what their long-term plans are.

Notably, the poll found that 72% of British expats still regularly send money back to the UK, either as their own savings or to support family members. Of those polled, 87% said that since emigrating they had found it easier to save, while the majority found that their standard of living was higher than what they were used to back home.

“The number of Brits living outside the UK has soared in recent years,” said deVere Group CEO Nigel Green. “Officially there are now five million Brits living overseas, although the real figure is acknowledged to be higher as many expats do not register themselves in their new countries of residence with the relevant authorities.”

Green said that, extrapolating its poll findings from the total number of officially identified British expats, it would seem that 3.5 million Brits living overseas will be unlikely to ever return to live in the UK.

“The survey underscores that for most people living abroad is a rewarding and fulfilling experience,” said the CEO. “This outcome is likely down to several key factors including better or more lucrative career opportunities, lower cost of living, higher quality of life, high quality childcare and education, lower crime levels, and good weather. As an expat of many years myself, I recognise this positive scenario well.”

Despite what many expats currently believe, and even though there have been very few studies conducted on long-term expat returnees, there is evidence to suggest that a higher percentage than that 70% figure will, in fact, one day return to the UK to live. A large number of British retirees in Spain, for example, do tend to return to the UK towards the very end of their life in order to be closer to family.

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