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Thinking of living in a new country? These places are popular with British expats

Posted: 6th February 2024 by Courtney Evans
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The BBC reports that there are approximately 5.5 million British people permanently living abroad. It seems more people are thinking about leaving their British homes and setting up elsewhere to improve their quality of life. There are many reasons people move abroad, job opportunities, family, and education and recently we have seen these reasons increase as the unhappiness grow for the British people. With the rise of inflation and the cost of living crisis, many people are looking outside of England for their new home.

With other countries such as Australia, offering sun, sea and being known for a laid-back culture and friendly people, the Brits are being drawn away from their homes.

If you are thinking of making the move but don't know where, these destinations are some of the most popular for British expats and whilst many places would be great to live, one of these could be calling your name.

Australia

It’s no surprise that Australia is the most popular destination to set up a new life. With its warm and sunny climate, relaxed culture, and the possibility of staying active and being outdoors, Australia boasts a great quality of life. A survey done by Total Jobs found that around 1.2 million British people are living in Australia. With the highest concentration being in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Perth.

The work/life balance is said to be much better in Australia with an importance on balance. With their higher wages and more chances to stay active, there's no wonder that people seem happier. It is easy to adjust in Australia with their primary language being English.

Australia has some strict immigration policies and it will be easier if you have a sought-after skill or experience in the industries that Australia are short of such as nurses, teachers, electricians and more. Look for your job on the skilled occupation list.

USA

There are approximately more than 716,000 British expats living in the US. Each state in the US can offer something different so there are lots of options when moving here. The coastal sunny areas to busting exciting cities with the weather varying North or South too.

The British people flock to the US and find it easy to settle in as it is another English-speaking country with not such a vastly different culture.

Florida is home to a high influx of British people looking to retire in a warm haven with many retirement communities on offer. California offers the perfect warm climate and the idea of glamour and career opportunities. The next most popular is New York City, with many Brits being drawn in by the vibrant city and the many opportunities along with the fast-paced and diverse lifestyle.

The US is a great place to move if you are career and goal-orientated as their work life is as pressured and busy as in England. With an average working week of 40 hours or more, the working culture will be similar.

There are many different visa options when moving to the US, most people start on a temporary visa before obtaining their green card.

Canada

In Canada, there are over 531,584 British expats living here permanently. The friendly people, the outdoor adventures, the quality education, safety, and an overall high quality of life make Canada an ideal place to live. Despite their summers being short, this is also a main attraction with so much of Canada being a beautiful place to explore. The long and icy winters offer amazing crystal views and a whole new area of sports to explore but you may need to invest in some quality thermals.

Canada has taken a pro-immigration stance with targets to increase their population making it easier for people to move there. Canada is often ranked as one of the safest places to live and takes diversity progress as a serious priority.

Express entry is the most popular and the quickest way to move and you can receive permanent residence status within 6 months. You have to be eligible for this entrance, take a language test and submit a form about your work history and qualifications to be considered.

Spain

A popular destination with over 302,020 British expats finding their homes here. Barcelona and Madrid are popular areas as they offer a vibrant city feel and it is easy to feel at home in their social culture. Alicante and Malaga are popular for a more laid-back lifestyle as well as the cost of living being much lower here. Malaga offers many international schools so moving as a family becomes easier. Chasing the sun makes Spain a popular place to move to and their work/life balance is something to admire.

You will have to apply for a visa to live and work in Spain, you must apply with proof of being a paid employee of a Spanish company, a self-employed person with a monthly income of at least £2000, a student, a person of a Spanish family or to retire.

Ireland

Ireland is popular among British expats with 293,061 calling it home as it is easy to immigrate here for UK citizens. Citizens from England and Ireland can move freely between the two. Dublin and Cork have the highest concentration of British expats with bustling cities and access to the rolling hills, Ireland has an active society.

People move to Ireland for higher salaries, the ease of the move and job opportunities as Ireland has a small population. British nationals living in Ireland are not expected to pay taxes for both areas whilst living in Ireland. You do not need a work visa when working in Ireland either.

New Zealand

At 11,500 miles away, New Zealand is a popular spot with 272,446 British expats residing here. You will always be within 128km from the sea wherever you are in the country which explains the appeal. Home to bustling cities, native parks, beaches, forests, rivers, and lakes there is a great outdoor adventure possible every day and this adds to the quality of life. If you want to stay here for more than 6 months then you will need a resident visa which will allow you to live and work in New Zealand as well as access to most public services.

New Zealand welcomes newcomers based on a points system, awarded on work skills, experience and qualifications. You will be more likely to be accepted if you are under 55 and meet the health requirements. If you are between 18 -30 you can stay up to 23 months with a working holiday visa.

Aukland and Wellington are the most popular areas but you will have a cheaper cost of living if you reside on the outsides. Cost of living can vary, buying a car is much cheaper but imported groceries are known to be costly. The lifestyle in New Zealand is much more relaxed than the UK and the past times here will be much more rewarding with the weather being clearer and summers longer.

Guides on how to obtain visas, open a bank account and more for these countries will be coming soon to Finance Monthly so you can be informed on what your next steps should be.

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