According to the new Quality of Life Index by NatWest International Personal Banking, British expats have been attracted by booming economies in Far Eastern nations such as Singapore and China in recent years. The survey also reveals that the main reasons for the increasing attractiveness of the Far East are the stronger economic prospects, the higher salaries and a less burdensome tax regime.
The number of British expats moving to the Far East has increased by 20% over the last few years. In 2006/7 there were 31,160 British expats working in China, which rose to 38,000 in 2010/11, while the number of expats in Singapore has increased from 40,180 to 49,000 over the same period.
The same cannot be said of the US and Western Europe. There has been a 9.9% fall in the number of expats
working in the USA
, from 881,340 in 2006/07 to 794,000 in 2010/11. Western European countries are also declining in popularity among expats
, with the number of British expats
working in France
falling by 27%, from 285,750 in 2008/09 to 208,590 in 2011/12.
The Index shows a significant increase in the number of expats working on temporary assignments. The number of expats working on this basis has risen from 576 in 2007/08 to 774 in 2011/12, which is an increase of 34.4%.
Expats’ typical profiles have also been analysed by the survey, which divided them into the categories of lifers, professionals, globetrotters, commuters and silver expats. Lifers have decided to work and live abroad permanently, professionals are only temporarily out of the UK, globetrotters move around the world working on various projects, commuters spend a few months a year in a foreign country, and silver expats have decided to retire abroad.
Reasons and Prospects
Recent economic growth in China has resulted in many multinational companies setting up new businesses there, while demand for British professional skills is also growing in these areas. A lot of Western multinationals are sending many of their most ambitious executives to the country.
According to David Isley, director of Natwest International Personal Banking, this shift in the number of expats choosing Singapore and China as opposed to the USA reveals the “changing global environment we live in”.
The number of expats moving to the Far East and other overseas locations in the next few years is expected to increase. The economic crisis from which Europe and the USA have not yet managed to fully recover will also affect relocation trends.