Brits abroad near 5 million, despite emigration slowdown

Almost 5 million British citizens are now living abroad – equivalent to 7.5% of the current national population – according to the latest statistics, despite a general slowdown in emigration.

More than 1.6 million Brits have moved abroad in the past decade with Australia, Spain, USA, France and New Zealand the five most popular destinations, according to new research undertaken by Lloyds Private Banking.

Since 2006 emigration from Britain is estimated to have reached 1.65 million, however, the number of Britons moving abroad has slowed over the past decade.

Between 2006 and 2011, the number of Britons leaving the country averaged 162,667 per year. Since 2012, this average has dropped by nearly a fifth (17.5%) to 134,400 per year, Lloyds said.

The annual level of emigration has fallen by over a third (35%) from 207,000 in 2006 to 134,000 in 2016 – the second lowest annual total in the past decade (see table below).

The most recent estimates suggest there are 4.92m British citizens living abroad – equivalent to 7.5% of the current national population, according to Lloyds statistics.

Australia, Spain, USA, France and New Zealand have attracted a combined 900,000 since 2005.

Australia has consistently been the most popular destination for the British with 385,000 heading Down Under for a new life. The next most popular are Spain (144,000), the USA (132,000), France (129,000) and New Zealand (94,000).

Employment is the key factor for expats – with three out of four moving for a definite job, the survey found.

Over half of British citizens who emigrated from the UK in the past decade have done so mainly for work-related reasons. Three-quarters (74%) of these had a definite job offer, while a quarter (26%) were still looking for a job.

In 2015, the USA, Australia, France, Italy, India and Spain were the leading destinations for British citizens emigrating for a “definite job”, accounting for 43% of total jobs.

Around two-thirds (65%) of British citizens emigrating since 2006 have indicated they intend to live abroad for more than four years. One in five (20%) intend to be away for up to two years and eight per cent for between two and four years. The remaining seven per cent were unsure about their intended length of stay, .

Summer interest

Perhaps unsurprisingly interest in moving abroad is greatest in the summer, Lloyds said. Internet searches and posts about moving abroad peak in the summer months (June – July) followed by the New Year (January). The majority of searches and posts relate to the cultural change of moving abroad – what’s it like to live and work there – followed by questions about finances.

Peter Reid, expatriate banking director at Lloyds Private Banking, said: “Moving abroad can be a daunting prospect, but more than 1.6 million British citizens have moved overseas in the past decade.

“A new life abroad is likely to be one of the most exciting and life changing decisions you’ll ever make, but there’s also a lot to think about. Ensuring your finances are in order is one of the most important.

“There are a lot of considerations, including an international bank account, tax liabilities and transferring money overseas and it’s important to seek professional advice if you’re thinking of making the move.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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