Eight out of ten British expatriates believe they enjoy a better quality of life living abroad, according to the sixth annual NatWest International Personal Banking (Natwest IPB) Quality of Life Report.
Australia is the favorite destination for British expats as it is judged to have all that's needed for a healthier, wealthier, and happier life, the report said. 82 percent of British expats in Australia cite the natural environment and quality of life for their children as the number one reason for moving there.
British expats in Australia are financially confident and, whilst some restrictions exist, they find buying a property attractive and relatively easy, according to the report. The majority (71 percent) own a property (compared with the global expat average of only 33 percent). While the majority of people say that the improved quality of life is their main motivation for staying, the lower cost of living is a factor too with the majority rating their cost of living as very good. In July 2012, Australia marked 21 years without a recession, an achievement unmatched by almost any other developed country.
Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking, commented: "It seems life Down Under really is the cream of the crop according to this year's NatWest IPB Quality of Life Index. Continual sunshine coupled with a strong economic stability make Australia the perfect destination for Brits to set up home. Factors such as an efficient health care system, low crime rates, a clean environment, good education, civic engagement, and a longer-than-average life expectancy also factored in the high scoring."
Over the past five years, Australia, Canada and New Zealand topped the Quality of Life Index. This year sees New Zealand fall out of the top three to fifth position with the third ranking being taken by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Career opportunities are the key driver for expats heading to UAE (75 percent). A large disposable income is enjoyed by 96 percent of those living in the UAE, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore on a temporary basis.
Dave Isley continued: "The once loved traditional expat communities of France, Spain, and Portugal are diminishing, with quality of life drastically reducing for expats living there, making way for newcomers such as UAE and Singapore. It seems expats are willing to adjust their lifestyle in exchange for a stronger economy and better job opportunities."
Falling property prices, austerity measures, and fears over job security are prompting 63 percent of expats in Europe to consider returning to the UK, the report said. Expats living in Spain are feeling the pinch the most where unemployment stands at almost 20 percent. A third of respondents in Europe said they were already looking into returning to the UK.
Singapore is increasingly attractive for expats, particularly those from the UK and Europe. Singapore has built a reputation for offering a good quality of life, as well as a range of interesting career opportunities. Expats living in Singapore have higher average incomes and greater wealth than expats living anywhere else in the world, the report said.