Brits are on the move – heading away from their home country to relocate abroad. Why? With UK inflation on the rise and better salaries awaiting them in foreign countries, more and more Brits are making the move, taking advantage of more lucrative career opportunities and offering their families a better life. According to statistics, as of 2013, almost 1/3 of Brits are earning a living abroad, compared to only 27% in 2012. Other UK residents head abroad to study and attend college and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.
According to a 2013 study, a growing number of Brits are dissatisfied with the UK’s stagnant economy, where unemployment levels have remained constant, where inflation rates have not budged from 2.7% for months in a row, and where the average earnings growth is a mere 1.5%. The fact is the British employees working abroad earn more than they do in the UK, and according to surveys, consider their financial situation better off.
Considering that English is their mother tongue, it is not surprising that the recent wave of British expats has largely relocated to countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The majority work in the technology industry (with Germany boasting the greatest number of jobs in the field), followed by expats working in the manufacturing industry (with the highest concentration in South Africa), as well as in the financial services sector. Other popular destinations for British expats include Channel Islands, Isle of Man, France, Gibraltar, South Africa, Switzerland, Spain, and the UAE.
The relocation of Brits to foreign countries is not an isolated phenomenon. In fact, it reflects a global trend wherein more and more employees are moving overseas to cash in on foreign employment opportunities, to be introduced to a new culture, and to enjoy a new life experience or better climate. In fact, today’s employers seek out individuals with foreign work experience, which is thought to enhance communication and people skills, improve adaptability and flexibility, and increase overall marketability.
However, as many British expats will attest to, relocating abroad, for work purposes or otherwise, is riddled with challenges. From the very cost of flights, to finding
affordable housing, to settling the family in, to acclimatizing to a new culture, to understanding taxes and pension plans, and to learning a foreign language, it is essential that expats be provided with the right guidance and support from their respective employers. The fact is that the global employment market is on the move; hence financial assistance, special incentives, and expert relocation advice are keys to a successful expat experience.
When it comes to relocating abroad – whether permanently or temporarily and whether you are a student, employee, or already retired – keep in mind that you need a valid visa in order to live lawfully in all countries. Since the rules and regulations vary with each destination, be sure to get advice from a relocation expert or from government websites which feature updated immigration information. For example, there are actually more than eight categories of U.S. visas that Brits are eligible to live and work under, while there are four principal types of visas allowing people to work in Australia.
Moreover, visa application processes can take anywhere from six weeks to over a year, hence do your homework carefully and plan ahead. The good news is that your employer will often make the application for you.
Finally, if you planning to join the wave of British expats living in a new country, don’t forget to find out about medical coverage, taxes, car insurance, the cost of gas, groceries and clothing, as well as the type of weather you can expect year round and upon your arrival!
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.