A Third of UK Expats Return Home Early

New research suggests that while increasing numbers of Britons are seeking new opportunities abroad, a third of those that do relocate are forced to return home early.

According to figures issued by visa consultants Global Visas, the number of people who have applied for the visas required to leave the UK and set up life overseas increased by 15% during the first quarter of 2013 in comparison with the same period last year. The company revealed that the number of applications they have received from people who are looking to leave Britain has increased from 223,042 to 257,389 year on year. One of the main reasons that people give for wanting to leave the UK is the weather, after Britain suffered a disappointing summer last year and a bitterly cold spring this year.

Discussing the patterns that have emerged, Gary Smith, global sales and marketing director at Global Visas said: “The bad weather combined with a lack of jobs has prompted an increase in the number of requests for visa applications to our UK office. People are currently looking to move overseas for brighter career prospects, better living conditions and quality of life.

“Leaving home to live or work abroad is a huge step and one that not everybody manages to cope with, especially in the volatile financial markets that we’re currently experiencing. Money is obviously going to be a big factor. Many people who had believed themselves to be set up for life have been met with a sharp shock to find that their savings have become devalued.”

Top of the list of destinations for would-be expats is Canada, with 29% of the company’s visa applications being received from British citizens who wish to relocate to that area of the world, with Australia coming a close second (22%).

However, research completed by the company also indicates that while people may be keen to relocate, those that do are increasingly finding that life abroad does not quite go according to plan. Up to one third of British expats who move overseas are returning home earlier than they anticipated, with the majority of UK citizens who repatriate revealing that they struggled to make a life for themselves abroad as a result of financial problems.

In a poll completed by 1,246 British expats who returned home in the past year and able to cite multiple reasons as to why they decided to return home, 62% cited financial difficulties, 47% attributed their decision to homesickness, 44% said they had encountered cultural differences, 39% revealed that their visas had expired and 27% put the decision down to lack of social interaction.

In terms of the countries from which most British expats return home, the top five countries experiencing an expat exodus were Spain (21%), Greece (11%), Turkey (8%), Australia (7%) and France (6%).

If you’re planning a move abroad, be sure to get your relocation off to the best possible start so that you are not one of the expats who are forced to return home. Our expat destination guides contain comprehensive information about living and working in major cities throughout the world and contain everything you need to know to make your overseas move a success.