Top 100 Most Popular Expat Destinations
Over 5 million Brits live abroad or about 1 in 10 of the entire British population. Many are posted abroad by their companies. Most are looking for sunnier climates.
Outside of the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories, the largest proportions of people of self-identified ethnic British descent in the world are found in New Zealand (59%), Australia (46%) and Canada (31%), followed by a considerably smaller minority in the United States (12%) and parts of the Caribbean.
The estimate of Bristish Americans is a serious undercount as almost 50 million Americans (25% of the population in the 1980 US census) claimed English or part-English ancestry; 20-35 million have Scots, Scots-Irish and Welsh ancestry.[ The British ancestry is most often hidden within the category ‘American.’
Hong Kong has the highest proportion of British citizens outside of the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories, with 47% of Hong Kong residents holding a British National (Overseas) citizenship or a British citizenship.
Top 100 Destinations for Brits Abroad
In 2006, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a British think tank, published a report on the British diaspora, entitled Brits Abroad. The following table lists the estimated number of British people (defined as people who are British Subjects, such as British citizen, British National Overseas or British Overseas Citizen) living overseas in countries with more than 100 British people, according to the IPPR’s report .
Australia was the clear winner with over 1 million Brits choosing Australia as its home.
In Europe, Spain is the clear winner with three quarters of a million people claiming Spain as their new home.
In North America, it is split evenly, with over 600,00 Brits living in Canada & another 670,000 in the USA.
In Africa, over 200,000 Brits call South Africa home whilst over 55,000 Brits live in Dubai in the Middle East.
Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand & China are fighting for the top spot for British expats living in Asia.
Barbados & Jamaica are the two favourite spots in the Caribbean, followed by Trinidad & Tobago.
South America is not a well travelled spot for Brits with only 11,000 Brits living in Brazil. Argentina & Venezuela take the 2nd & 3rd spots.
|Rank||Country||Number of British residents, 2006||Region(s)|
|3||United States||678,000||North America|
|6||New Zealand||215,000||Asia Pacific|
|19||China (including Hong Kong)||36,000note||Asia Pacific|
|25||Saudi Arabia||26,000||Mid East|
|36||Trinidad and Tobago||11,000||Caribbean|
|39||Gaza & West Bank||11,000||Mid East|
|66||Costa Rica||4,800||North America|
|76||South Korea||3,400||Asia Pacific|
What is a Typical British Expat?
Internations did a survey on British expats and here is what they found:
The average British expat doesn’t shy away from new beginnings: from length of stay to friendships with local residents and ease in feeling at home, results are generally far above average.
- 51% are not likely to return to the UK
- British expats are on average 53 years old
- 3% of British expats are independently wealthy
- A quarter of British expats are retirees
- 24% are mostly friends with local residents
- 72% are in a relationship
- 43% earn more abroad than at home
- 8 out of 10 Brits are happier living abroad
Brits Love Living Abroad
Perhaps most impressive is that 37% of British expats from the have been living abroad in their host country for more than ten years — more than ten percentage points above the global average of 24%.
Brits are also more than ten percentage points more likely to feel at home in their new country: three-quarters say they feel at home, compared to only 64% of all survey respondents.
Since so many British expats report feeling at home, it seems hardly surprising that exactly half plan to stay forever (vs. 32% globally). Likewise, more than half (51%) say that it’s not likely they will ever return home to the UK. The British expat is also more satisfied than the average expat: nearly one in five (19%) even say that moving for a better quality of life was a main priority (vs. only 10% globally).
British Expats in Europe
Top 20 Destinations for British Expats in Europe
Spain takes the top spot followed by Ireland, France, Germany & Portugal.
|Rank||Country||Number of British residents, 2006||Region(s)|
How Many British Expats Live in the EU?
1.3 million people born in the UK live in other EU countries, according to 2017 estimates from the United Nations (UN). Around 900,000 UK citizens were long-term residents in other EU countries in 2010 and 2011, according to census data across the EU collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In 2013/14 the UK spent £1.4 billion on state pension payments to recipients living elsewhere in the European Union.
Concerns for British expats living in EU countries
For them, healthcare, pensions, work permit, and free travel in the EU will probably be affected. These issues are currently regulated by EU laws, all based on the fact that EU citizens have the right to reside in any EU country of their choice. Once British expats cease to be EU citizens, their rights will need to be renegotiated.
Currently, EU partners charge the NHS for the costs of treating British pensioners. In 2013/14 the UK paid £580 million to other EEA countries for the treatment of British pensioners resident in the EEA while it received just £12 million from other EEA countries in the same year for the treatment of EEA pensioners in the UK
What Do Europeans Think of Britain Leaving the EU
In the picture below, you can see Europeans’ opinions of whether Britain should leave the EU… it is a resounding no, with the notable exception being the French.
What will happen to British expats living in EU countries?
Thanks to the Vienna Convention of 1969, which states that the termination of a treaty “does not affect any right, obligation or legal situation of the parties created through the execution of the treaty prior to its termination”, British expats already residing in other EU member countries will probably retain their right to do so.
British people who want to move to, work or retire in EU countries after Brexit actually happens will probably also be able to do so. However, as they will already be third-country citizens, administrative procedures for this might become more complicated for them than it is now. For example, obtaining visas will become a lot more troublesome.
The same might be true for EU citizens currently living in, or planning to move to the UK.
Financial Planning for British Expats
Whether you are trying to move to Europe before Brexit or moving elsewhere in the wold, you will need help with financial planning.
Some of the things you will need to think about:
- Setting up a new bank account in your new country
- Transferring money abroad and getting the best exchange rates
- Selling your house in the UK or renting it out
- Keeping your state pension up-to-date with direct debit
- Click here to find out about paying National Insurance Contributions (NICs) whilst abroad
- Moving your pension out of a regulated UK pension scheme and into a regulated pension scheme in Europe
- Moving your pensions and other assets from pounds sterling to euros
- Getting expat health insurance, as many policies do not cover permanent residency overseas
- Getting expat life insurance
- Reorganising your investments into a more tax efficient environment
- Protecting your wealth with trusts or insurance wrappers
Please contact us if you want more information.