According to figures compiled by the British Home office the demographic most likely to abandon the UK in favour of a life overseas isn’t – as is often assumed, – 60+ retirees looking for a place in the sun.
In fact, UK residents of working age are far more likely to up sticks and cross the seas than their pension-drawing counterparts.
The Home Office has recently released the results of their official ‘Emigration from the UK’ report. Although many similar reports have been collated in the past they have often tended to focus mainly on overseas retiring.
As stated in ‘Emigration from the UK’: ‘much research on UK emigration has focused on those retiring overseas, particularly within Europe. There was a sharp increase in British people over retirement age moving abroad in 2005 and 2006, reaching a peak of 22,000 in 2006. This has since fallen back to previous levels of around 4,000 to 8,000 retired British people emigrating each year.’
In this account other purposes of migration are explored and the statistics outlined show that of all countries in the world the UK ranks eighth highest in terms of the amount of its citizens living in foreign nations.
Last year in the region of 350,000 people left the UK to reside in another country for a minimum twelve month period, 146,000 of which were British citizens.
Over three quarters (76 per cent) of the total amount of those moving overseas did so for work whilst a whopping 89 per cent of British people expatriating between 2008 and 2010 were of working age. Many left professional/managerial positions in the UK to begin their new lives abroad.
The most popular destination for these working British expats is still Australia, as has been the case for the last two decades, but the US, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Spain and France were also noted as popular destinations.
However, although the report commented that; ‘The growth in house values in the UK compared with elsewhere in Europe may have enabled British property owners to sell up and live more cheaply abroad, while enjoying a better quality life’ it then stated that ‘this may have changed during the recession.’
Unusually, it seems that the current economic downturn and higher levels of UK unemployment are not responsible for workers seeking employment overseas. The figures also revealed that the amount of UK citizens moving to foreign countries actually drops when UK unemployment is higher, rising again once the job sector improves. Although this may seem ‘counter-intuitive’ the authors of the report cite that the circumstance may partially result from unemployed people ‘having fewer resources to fund a move abroad, and also due to simultaneous downturns in the economies of some of the key destinations for British emigrants [...] The association varies depending on where people are emigrating to [...] It might imply that economic recovery both in the UK and in key destination countries would lead to more British citizens emigrating for work.’