Online technology is helping British expats to shun close-to-home destinations to move further afield to many new destinations.
Australia is still the favourite place to go, with Canada second – but new places like Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and China are gaining momentum with expats.
New Zealand has dropped out of the top three in favour of the United Arab Emirates – Dubai and Abu Dhabi, says the latest NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Report.
Expats in Australia find buying a home and keeping healthy cheap and easy.
More than 80% say the country’s natural environment and quality of life influenced their decision to move, while 73% say their health has improved since emigrating.
Old favourites shunned
On average 71% of expats own their home – compared with just a third worldwide.
Looking at the UAE, 75% move for their careers, with more than 90% considering their move as temporary.
Many expats (96%) working in UAE, Hong Kong, China and Singapore confess they have a large disposable income.
“The emergence of the UAE as an expat destination is one of the major surprises from this year’s survey,” said Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking. “Many expats told us they will trade in their lifestyle for better career and financial options.
“The old favourites of France, Spain and Portugal are less desirable as the once admired lifestyle falls away due to economic difficulties.”
The study also uncovered that two-thirds of expats are considering a return to the UK because of economic problems in Europe.
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The jobless rate is running at 20% in Spain, property prices are falling in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus and austerity budgets are biting across the continent.
Singapore is a rising star for British expats, the research confirmed, offering a high standard of living and good salaries.
Many expats find they feel less isolated from family and friends thanks to online video services that help them keep in touch with home.
Video technology is making a big difference to the lives of expats,” said Isley. “Simple to use technologies like Skype and Facetime let people speak to their loved ones cheaply and easily – with international video calls costing nothing over broadband.”
Favourite British expat destinations:
3 United Arab Emirates
4 South Africa
5 New Zealand
12 Hong Kong
Source: NatWest International