Expats cancel return to Britain

They say their quality of life is better abroad, their finances are healthier, their cost of living lower and their neighbourhoods safer, in a study commissioned by Lloyds TSB International.

Furthermore, expats are increasingly shelving plans to return to the UK at all – the proportion of expats who now plan to live away from the UK indefinitely has leapt 13 per cent in 12 months, to 69 per cent.

Expats say they have a better quality of life abroad – 74 per cent hold this view against just seven per cent who say it was better in the UK. They claim they are financially better-off – 64 per cent, against just 12 per cent who say they were wealthier in the UK. And some 52 per cent say their cost of living is lower abroad, while only 24 per cent say it is now more expensive.

“Expats have an enlightening view of the UK, having experienced life both home and away,” said Tony Wilcox, Managing Director – Expatriate Banking, Lloyds TSB International. “So it’s worrying that life in Britain appears so bleak when viewed through their eyes.

“From economic woes to August’s riots, the UK has faced a catalogue of bad news in recent months. Coupled with expats’ view that the quality of life is higher and they are financially better-off abroad, it’s not surprising that so many have cancelled their plans to return to the UK.”

Expats also think their country of residence is a better place to raise children – 51 per cent hold this view against only 11 per cent who disagree. The schools are better, their neighbourhoods are safer, there are more places for children to play and activities to do.¹ And many expats appreciate the chance that living abroad gives their children to experience another society and culture, while also learning a foreign language in most countries.²

Ultimately, 68 per cent say they are happier living abroad than they were in the UK and only 7 per cent say they are less happy overseas.

Tony Wilcox continued: “Considering longer-term trends, I think expats’ increasing happiness with life overseas also reflects that large groups of people in the UK are gradually becoming more outward-looking with increased global travel, more international business and many people generally coming into more contact with other cultures. It has become easier and a more natural transition for some people to settle in and enjoy life overseas than it would have been 20, even ten, years ago.”

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