Popular Destinations For UK Expats


It is estimated that more than five million Brits live overseas, with the majority of these expatriates (expats) currently living in Australia, the US and Canada.

While fewer Brits appear to be moving abroad each year, it still remains a popular choice for many. More than 149,000 Britons left for a new life last year, a decline from the peak of 207,000 in 2006. The majority of these people were of working age, and were moving to start a previously offered job, or to pursue employment.

It is estimated that of the 1.2m British expats living within the EU, around 800,000 are workers or those dependent on workers in the family. This figure represents the high number of work opportunities available to British people looking to live overseas, eliminating one of the major worries that some may have in deciding to make the change.

Where Are British Expats Living?

Country Number of Britsh expats (2015)
Australia 1,277,474
USA 758,919
Canada 674,371
Spain 381,025
New Zealand 313,850
South Africa 305,660
Republic of Ireland 253,605
France 172,806
Germany 96,938
Channel Islands 73,030

Rather unsurprisingly, countries, where English is the national language, are among the most popular destinations. Out of the top five countries, the only exception to this is Spain. However, with many expats already living in Spain, and its closeness to the UK, it could be a much easier transition for those looking to live abroad.

The most popular nations for expats has remained rather consistent in the last 25 years, with steady rates of emigration. However, for other nations, their popularity rises and falls more noticeably. In the early 2000s, Japan and the Netherlands were popular destinations, while a decade later Belgium and Switzerland were featuring in the top 10 instead.

So, why do people emigrate?

People emigrate for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are looking to enjoy their retirement in a relaxed environment, in a nicer climate than back home; it could be that expats have moved in order to pursue employment prospects, whether moving to be a specialist needed in a particular country or to live in the hub of their occupation; some move for personal reasons, looking for a chance for a new life.

A high number of the British expat populations are made up of over 65s, with around 25 per cent of emigration to Australia being made by this demographic; over 65s also account for around 15 per cent of the British population in the USA and Spain.


Expatriates guide to Australia

Australia – the sixth biggest country in the world and a very popular destination to relocate to. Ranked one of the happiest and safest countries to live in, expatriates would be expecting a great lifestyle of multiculturalism experiencing different traditions and cuisines. Read our Expat’s help guidance for Australia.

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Expatriates guide to Canada

Canada’s population is nearly 36 million with the immigrants and refugees moving to the country, with each of the territories and provinces in Canada having its own government which creates its own laws.

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Expatriates guide to South Africa

The country which is found on the southernmost tip of Africa and the most developed country on the continent is South Africa. It possesses a diverse, welcoming and friendly population of 54 million with eleven official languages spoken in and around the country. Origins, languages and beliefs are from African, White and Asian people who have come from all around the world.

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Expatriates guide to USA

The United States of America is a country which is very diverse and has a multicultural society with a variety of different religions and faiths. Expats moving here will discover that is has found a success through immigration and is a country of 50 different states with each star on the American flag being represented.  United States continues to be a popular expat destination which people relocate to offering a safe and child friendly environment with the best education and healthcare plans.

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Expatriates guide to New Zealand

A country which consists of two main islands in the South-western Pacific Ocean with a number of smaller islands around the coastline and has a natural beauty is New Zealand. With many different cultures and nationalities the residents have a welcoming laidback approach to new expats and this is why many choose to relocate in this country even though it is a small country spread over islands.

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Expatriates guide to Ireland

Ireland is a popular expat destination which offers cultural experiences to people relocating with a population of around 4.8 million. It is situated in the Atlantic Ocean and is separated by the Irish Sea from Great Britain. The standards of living and the scenic views attract many expats to move to the country and settle here with great jobs and accommodation available.

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Expatriates guide to France

France is a very popular tourist destination which attracts millions of visitors each year and is home to many expats who either live here or have a second home. Many people choose to stay for a couple of months and some may choose to visit on the odd weekends.Expats who choose to relocate here will enjoy the pace of life as well as lower costs and those with children.

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Expatriates guide to Spain

Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula in South Western Europe and has two island groups, the Canary Islands off the North African Atlantic and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Long-ago the country was ruled by the Romans, the Catholics and the Moors; this is seen today by many. Expats moving to the country will find that it is known for its food, fashion, art, music and architecture with it offering a life in a modern country and a modern lifestyle.

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Expatriates guide to Germany

Germany – located in central Europe with borders with nine countries and a population of around 82 million.  Most of the population is formed of German residents along with foreigners, guest workers and refugees. Expats moving to Germany will find that it is straight forward relocating with it being a pioneering country with an influential economy which makes it a popular expat destination with the high living standards.  The country has rural and urban landscapes which include the big cities, small towns, and forests, the foothills of the Alps and the beautiful scenic regions of the Bavarian Alps.

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Expatriates guide to Channel Islands

Jersey, Alderney, Guernsey, Herm and Sark make up the Channel Islands which is located in the English Channel between the South English coasts along with the North French coast. The Channel Islands are British dependencies which are not part of the UK or the EU, but the foreign affairs and islands defence are represented by the British governments.  Expats will be able to explore the small towns and villages which has many local attractions, museums, galleries and castles. As well as this, the Channel Islands hold many festivals, fairs and concerts in the year.

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