Monday 2nd April 2012

Britsh expats moving East

British expatriates are turning their backs on Europe and the U.S. and looking to the East for success according to recent research.

The Fifth annual NatWest IPB Quality of Life Index has revealed that British expatriates believe that Asian countries offer stronger career prospects, more attractive economic conditions and better tax advantages than Europe and America. More and more people are attracted to cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong while the number of British expatriates moving to the U.S. has fallen.

Head of NatWest International Personal Banking Dave Isley said the shift is indicative of the “changing global environment” in which we live: “As businesses expand their operations into foreign markets, they have to be able to identify executives who can move seamlessly between markets and cultures,” he said, adding that the number of people working aboard on temporary assignments has risen from 32 per cent to 43 per cent over the past half decade, something that he believes confirms that expats “are making working abroad fit with [their] lifestyles.”

The study, which was implemented in conjunction with The Centre of Future Studies, considered expatriates’ perceptions of the living conditions overseas and assessed their levels of satisfaction with their lives abroad. What is clear is that in the five years since the survey first started, the nature and motivations of British citizens who move overseas has significantly changed. Where once individuals sought a life in the sun, they a whole host of reasons and the NatWest survey classified them into five broad categories.

1. Lifers. Lifers are British expatriates who move abroad and permanently reside in their host country. These expatriates generally relocate to English-speaking countries, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Their age is between 25 and 45 and they are usually skilled or semi-skilled workers. According to the NatWest report, 78% of British expats living overseas fall into this category.

2. Professionals: These are individuals who leave the U.K. on temporary basis in order to work overseas. These expats can be found throughout the world and they generally stay abroad for three years before returning home. They are aged between 25 and 45 and are usually professionals and managers.

3. Globetrotters: Globetrotters are typically working professionals who leave the United Kingdom to work for companies who have overseas operations. They move from location to location and do not remain in one country for any length of time. They are aged between 45 and 60.

4. Commuters: Commuters are expats who are permanently based in the United Kingdom but work abroad for a U.K. based company, generally for months at a time. They are senior executives aged 35-45.

5. Silver expats: Expats who retire overseas and do not intend on returning to the United Kingdom.

“Expats are not a holistic group, but multi-complex in terms of their reasons for migrating, choice of destination country and attitudes and behaviors while living abroad,” Mr. Isle concluded.

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