Emigrating could be the best choice you’ll ever make.
There are currently over five million British people living abroad, and this number has risen since the EU referendum in 2016.
While countries like Spain, Australia and Canada are some of the most popular for Brits to move to, there are Brits living all over the world. In this article, we will explore the reasons for moving abroad from the UK, and what you will need to know before you make the move!
Why Do People Emigrate from the UK?
There are many reasons that Brits decide to emigrate abroad to live in a new country. The most common reasons for British citizens to emigrate to other countries around the world include, increased employment opportunities (Australia, in particular, is very popular for Brits seeking work), education (many schools in the UK are overcrowded), and climate (Spain, Australia and Portugal are particularly sought after by Brits for their warmer weather).
Cultural reasons are also cited. Many Brits seek the more relaxed work-life balance offered by other countries in comparison to the UK’s culture, whilst others may be in search of thrills and adventure. Of course, some decide to move to be closer to family who live abroad or to a long-distance partner.
Make Sure That You Research Where to Move to
Although countries like Spain and Australia are famous for attracting a large number of British ex-pats, it is worth exploring all of the options that may be available to you before making a decision. There may be places that you have never even considered before that may actually be ideal for you!
It is usually best to take into consideration factors such as employment opportunities. Make sure that your skills are in demand and that you have good employment prospects before you make a choice. If you are retired, you will have an even greater number of choices!
Make sure to research the culture of the country that you are considering moving to. You most likely do not want to move somewhere that has drastically different cultural values to your own. If you are moving to a non-English-speaking country, make sure that you know, or are willing to learn, the language!
The climate is also very important to take into consideration. If you struggle with the heat of a British summer, you are probably not the best suited to a tropical climate. And if you can’t stand the cold, then Scandinavia will probably not be ideal.
It is also often a good idea to contact the embassy of the country that you are considering moving to for more information.
Research Legal Aspects
Different countries will have different legal processes for migration and visa applications, and you should make sure that you are up-to-date with all of this information. There may be different types of visas available. For example, Australia and New Zealand offer skilled migrant visas that streamline the application process and protect against any potential future changes in policy. This is largely because these countries aim to provide incentives for workers with certain skill-sets to live and work there. It is also important to be aware that different states or provinces within a country may have different laws and regulations.
It may be worth consulting a legal professional to help you through the emigration process, as it can be notoriously long and difficult.
Work Out a Budget
The cost of living can vary hugely around the world, as can the average wage. In addition to ensuring that your skills and work experience are likely to help you find employment in your country of choice, make sure that your new job pays a wage that will allow you to live comfortably in that country. Research what kind of rent or mortgage payments you should expect to pay, as well as the cost of groceries, utilities, insurance and all other lifestyle costs.
Remember that the emigration process itself contains numerous costs, such as visa fees, currency exchanges and palletised shipping costs. Once you arrive in your country of choice, you will also most likely need to pay a deposit or down payment on a property.
The best thing to do is to make sure that you have sufficient savings before you move and prepare a sustainable weekly or monthly budget for once you have moved.
How to Sort Out Admin in the UK
It is important that you inform your local council in the UK that you are moving abroad, as well as HM Revenue and Customs. They will require you to provide a forwarding address. If you are receiving benefits, you will need to inform your local benefits office (for example, your local Jobcentre Plus if you are receiving Universal Credit). You may still be entitled to receive benefits while abroad.
If you have student loans to pay, you will need to inform the Student Loans Company, and if you are receiving a pension, you will need to inform the International Pension Centre. For more information on everything that you need to do before emigrating, check out the gov.uk website.
The good news is that your status as a UK citizen is not affected by moving abroad, even permanently! Most of the time, you will also be able to continue to vote in UK general elections from abroad.
Living abroad is not for everyone — but for many, it can be a thoroughly fulfilling experience that broadens the mind. Exposing yourself to different cultures and lifestyles is often an important educational experience and, in some cases, may even increase your appreciation of where you grew up! Some things cannot be experienced in your home country, and the majority of British ex-pats report that living abroad was a good decision.
The process of moving abroad to live in a new country is not usually easy or straightforward, but it is often well worth it. With international transport and communication making the world smaller than ever, a new life could be closer than ever before!