Wednesday 21st April 2010

It’s confirmed: Life abroad IS better for British expats

According to the results of a survey by UK bank The NatWest, 90% of Britons living abroad claim that their quality of life has improved since leaving the UK and that their earnings have increased significantly.

The 3rd annual NatWest International Personal Banking (NatWest IPB) Quality of Life report, conducted by the Centre for Future Studies, surveyed 1,306 expatriates throughout popular expat destinations between October and November 2009. Expats from Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Singapore, Spain, UAE and USA participated in the research.

In terms of what contributed to the improvement in their lifestyle, expatriates rated natural environment first, followed by climate, culture and leisure, healthcare, education, financial security, safety and security, financial well being and infrastructure.

The report claimed: "when it comes to living and working overseas the advantages come thick and fast. Working hours are far less intensive and expats say they manage to achieve a better work/life balance with much more leisure time.

"Professional expats can earn significantly more than their peers back home. On average an expat professional's salary is up to £20,000 higher than their UK counterparts.'

Discussing the results, Dave Isley, head of NatWest IPB, said: "It seems the grass really is greener for Brits living abroad as our study shows.

"The fact that fewer expats say they will return to the UK in the future, compared to three years ago, proves that the pace of life, work-life balance and earning potential abroad means life as an expat is sunnier in more ways than one – and that they are weathering the financial storm.

“There seems to be more to having and leading a fulfilled life than just money. British expats have built their lives abroad on solid foundations with the climate, culture and leisure, healthcare and education all deemed more important than financial security.”

Other findings of the NatWest International Personal Banking report include:

  • The majority of expatriates, 87% of those surveyed, believed that the move abroad had improved their work-life balance.
  • Just 19% of Britons living abroad said that they are prepared to come home, a 6% drop on the 2008 figure.
  • 60% of the survey respondents believed that they would be better off financially in five years’ time as a result of their move abroad.
  • Expats living in the highest earning countries—Singapore, United Arab Emirates, China, Hong Kong—ranked lowest in the quality index and were actually those most likely to return home for retirement.
  • Expatriates in France, Portugal, Spain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were revealed as being the ones most likely to remain in their host country for retirement.
  • Nine out of ten Britons abroad reported increases in their salaries over the last three years including an average of 19% increase in Hong Kong, !7% in the UAE and 14% in Spain.

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