The impact of covid-19 has led to a shift in core financial values for expats, with 62% saying their future plans have been impacted as a result of the pandemic, according to new research published today.
The study, conducted by Ipsos MRBI, on behalf of Allianz Care, the international health brand of Allianz Partners, found that of the 52% that had changed their priorities with more than half (53%) claiming that health and well-being is now a greater priority for them than it was before.
48% say that family is a bigger priority now than it was before covid-19, with 73% saying that the health and well-being of their family is now a 'crucial consideration' in deciding whether to stay abroad or move back home.
Massive lifestyle changes have been forced on us almost overnight, which in turn have forced us to re-assess how we live our lives and re-evaluate what's truly important," Paula Covey, chief marketing officer for health, Allianz Partners
When it comes to the reasons for originally moving abroad, almost half (49%) say financial gain is a primary driver for moving abroad, however it's the pursuit of a better quality of life, health and well-being that's key for the majority. 46% moved abroad for personal development, while 40% made the move in search of a better work/life balance.
The research was carried out amongst people living and working in the UK, France, Canada, UAE and Singapore, having been born and educated elsewhere. It explored the impact that covid-19 has had on them and their families, who the ‘expat' of 2020 is and what challenges they're facing.
Another major finding has been the shift towards longer term International living rather than the previously perceived quick in and out 'cash grab' of overseas working in the past.
Paula Covey, chief marketing officer for health, Allianz Partners, said: "2020 has been a life-changing year for many of us across the world as we deal with the implications of covid-19. Massive lifestyle changes have been forced on us almost overnight, which in turn have forced us to re-assess how we live our lives and re-evaluate what's truly important.
"The same is absolutely true for the ‘expat' community who are living and working across the globe. This comes across strongly in the increasing prioritisation of health and family".
Most (71%) of those surveyed had moved abroad with their family, with half (51%) of all respondents living in their new country with their children. The pursuit of a good work-life balance is a key influencing factor for 70% of expats in terms of deciding whether to stay abroad or move home.
Among that number, three in five respondents (60%) say they have a better work-life balance living abroad than they had at home. That figure rises to 72% in Canada and 71% in the UAE, although over a quarter (26%) of those living in Singapore found the work-life balance to be worse there.
Covey points to a shift in terms of the life plans where in the past, ‘expat' assignments tended to be highly paid and were often short-term, but the research has shown that this community is now taking a more long-term view of life abroad.
"76% said they had changed job since moving to their new country, 59% have bought a home and 58% said they plan to stay in their adopted country long-term," she said. "It's an interesting trend to watch for employers, who are starting to move away from the traditional expat assignment model and towards more local recruitment in each market.
Covey called the research "extremely useful" for Allianz Care, to understand the challenges and considerations facing this global community in a post-COVID world.
While most of those surveyed felt that they had access to better quality health-care and services while living abroad, contributing to the positive impact on overall health, there were regional disparities. While 72% in Singapore, 67% in UAE, 62% in France and 58% in Canada found services better than in their home country, 23% of those living in the UK said they found the quality of health and well-being services there worse than in their native country.
"Listening to our customers means we can constantly adapt our services and offerings to meet ever-evolving healthcare needs. The pandemic has shown all of us just how fast things can change," Covey added.