According to Finaccord, the international market research and consulting company, the number of expatriates exported by the UK is set to increase over the next three years. As per the research, there were 1.6 million British Nationals living abroad in 2013 and in three years time, this is expected to have increased to 1.21 million.

At the moment the UK is the largest exporter of people in the EU and the third largest in the world after India and China. The majority of expatriates are relocating for work or to retire and a small (but increasing) number are students moving abroad to study. Students are set to be the fastest growing expatriate group over the coming years.


The report also found that the majority of British expats moving abroad for work are doing so on an individual basis, often with their partner and children, rather than as company transferees. Retiring expats are mainly moving to Spain and France to enjoy their retirement.

The main British expat destinations are the USA and commonwealth countries Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa but since 2008, the Middle East and in particular, the United Arab Emirates, has increased in popularity as a British expatriate destination.

It is easier for British expats to relocate as compared to some other developed countries due to the fact that English is spoken in many countries across the world and is also a desired skill in business around the world. In addition, there are many multi-national companies operating out of the UK, allowing employees opportunities to transfer between branches and offices. This is a risk for the UK and a key factor of the much feared ‘brain drain’ in the UK as the country’s talented and skilled professionals relocate and contribute to another economy.

The overall trend reported by Finaccord is increasing global mobility. Bernard Salt, a demographic expert, has also published work on this trend and outlining that over the next 50 years, due to advances in technology and transport, people will move and relocate across the world more freely. He has stated that people will move from overcrowded countries such as the UK to areas with more space and natural resources such as Australia. He has also suggested that Australia will need another large city in order to cope with population increases over the next 50 years. He has suggested developing a new city along the country’s West coast.

In summary, the expat world is growing, Finaccord predicts that by the year 2017, the number of worldwide expats (classed as those moving from 12 months – 5 years to an overseas location) to increase from 50m to 56m.
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