Recent figures suggest that an estimated 4.7 million Brits live abroad. We may assume that the majority of those emigrating are retired and looking to relax during their work-free years in the sun, but in fact 93% of those who have moved away from the UK are of working age.
Do those of us packing up and planning a new life overseas have the formula for a satisfying life sussed? When comparing what Great Britain has to offer compared to locations across the world, you can certainly see where the attraction lies.
Photo courtesy of Iris Goldstein on Flickr
Getting on the property ladder
Even hoping to get a foot on the bottom rung of the property ladder in Great Britain may feel impossible at the moment, as our economy continues to climb and fall with enough velocity to rival any rollercoaster. Money doesn’t seem to stretch too far either, with £125,000 perhaps enough to buy you something modest in the Midlands but nothing better than a hovel in London.
However, the same amount could buy you a four bedroomed house in the Orange County region of Orlando, USA. This bargain price for a dream home is only available thanks to the bursting of Florida’s property bubble in 2006 as the global recession began to take its toll. This therefore means that you can benefit from a low price and hope that a recovery economy results in a gradual climb of property prices which you can then reap the rewards of later, if you wish to sell in the future.
Of course a fabulously inexpensive and incredible piece of property must be subject to at least one catch along the way – all home purchases are subject to an additional 5% tax in Florida. Applying this to a budget of £125,000 means that you would have £119,048 available to spend after tax deductions. There are several companies that offer deals on foreign currency exchange who could help you to negotiate a good deal when exchanging money to purchase a property, therefore making the most of your money.
However, despite offering a great exchange on property for your money, the USA doesn’t offer certain things important to some expats such as sarcasm, sausages and mash or the humble pint. During a poll, 44% of people cited cultural differences as reason enough to return to the UK after emigrating. It all depends on what’s more important to you – a home by the beach and blue skies, or British banter and home comforts such as Cadbury’s.
Progressive career prospects
72% of emigrants leaving the UK said they were doing so for work-related reasons; it’s hardly surprising with unemployment continuing to rise. In the three months leading up to March 2013, the number of those out of work rose by 15,000 to a grand total of 2.52 million. If it seems increasingly difficult to find and retain work in your native UK, emigration would seem almost a choice of necessity rather than one of luxury.
Australia is a country suffering a shortage in specific skills, so actively recruit migrants with skills that will benefit the industries and economy of Australia. Some occupational areas with gaps that need filling range from nurses, IT specialists and mining engineers.
An oil boom experienced in Perth has also created lucrative job opportunities – those working in these blue-collar labour roles are remunerated handsomely. For example, the average full-time wage in Australia is $66,594, but the average full-time mining wage is $108,009, therefore making it the highest paid sector in the country. It was also recently reported that a 24 year old rigger earned a whopping $220,000 annually.
With unemployment in those aged 16-24 standing at 21.1% in the UK and the promise of well-paid employment elsewhere, its understandable why more people are choosing to emigrate. After all, would you rather stay in grey Great Britain on minimum wage or chasing the potential of earning megabucks in sun-drenched Australia?
Rain, rain; go away
It’s no secret that the weather in the UK is less than desirable. In fact, the majority of expats gave the poor weather as a factor in their decision to leave the country in search of sunnier skies elsewhere. 2012 was a year for floods of biblical proportions and a non-existent summer – statistics show that it was the second wettest year since records began.
Spain has continued to be a popular destination for those looking to flee the sodden plains of England and head to sunnier skies. The promising climate has the temperatures of UK residents rising, and the ease of access via the “EasyJet” corridor makes it an even more appealing option.
Thanks to the diverse range of resorts across the Costas and Balearics, there is something to suit the needs of every expat. For example, glitz and glamour can be found in Mallorca and inspiring tranquil beauty in the Andalucía mountains.
However other than pondering what factor sun lotion to pack, expats do have the concern of how the EU financial crisis is affecting Spain. Like Great Britain, it is too locked in recession which although does raise concerns over economic stability, it does mean that house prices are being slashed. Repossessed homes can even be re-sold at prices 60-70% less than their original price, making it a paradise for sun-seeking bargain hunters.
As summer approaches and we’re yet to see sustained hints of sunshine, could emigrating be worth considering so that you can top up on Vitamin D and explore new territory?
If you are considering emigrating, there are plenty of options available each with their own pros and cons. Whether you’re a sun seeker or career go-getter, the world is quite literally your oyster.
Amy Fry is a joyful stay at home mum who writes about different topics and industries including health, lifestyle and travel.