Where are British expats happiest…


Whilst surveys seem to be in agreement about the top 10 countries that British expatriates are happiest around the world, the exact order seems to be still under discussion.

Two recent surveys released by GlobalVisas.com and the sixth NatWest IPB Quality of Life Report have shown the similar to other English speaking countries Australia and Canada continue to vie for first place with Australia being first according to the NatWest survey and Canada being first for the GlobalVisas.com survey.

Both show the long-term trend of English speaking countries being preferred and the gradual decline of European destinations alongside the gradual rise of the UAE and Asian destinations.

GlobalVisas.com places Canada (87% happy / 13% unhappy), Australia (82% / 18%), Norway (80% / 20%), Dubai (78% / 22%) and New Zealand (77% / 23%) at the top of their list with Argentina (56% / 44%), Russia (52% / 48%), Spain (51% / 49%), Greece (48% / 52%) and China (44% / 56%) towards the bottom.

NatWest has the following countries in its top 12 (2012 ranking in brackets):

  1. Australia (2)
  2. Canada (1)
  3. UAE (6)
  4. South Africa (4)
  5. New Zealand (3)
  6. USA (5)
  7. Singapore (10)
  8. France (7)
  9. Spain (8)
  10. Portugal (9)
  11. China (12)
  12. Hong Kong (11)

Liam Clifford of GlobalVisas.com said: “There’s often a cultural shock when moving abroad, but in the majority of cases this fades over time and things get easier.

“However, in some instances, it might be the case that the lack of assimilation in a new life can cause loneliness, which can only lead to further problems.”

The recent financial crisis has lead to a knock-on effect on the quality of life that expatriates are experiencing with causing some European countries going out of fashion. A third of the respondents in the NatWest survey living in Europe stated they were already looking at returning to the UK.

Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking commented: “The most notable shifts in our Quality of Life results this year is the rise of the UAE as an expat destination. The once loved traditional expat communities of France, Spain & Portugal are diminishing, with quality of life drastically reducing for expats living there, making way for newcomers such as UAE and Singapore. It seems expats are willing to adjust their lifestyle in exchange for a stronger economy and better job opportunities.”