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February 5, 2014

Living abroad is a challenge that only the toughest take up, but new research rubbishes that idea.

New research has revealed that Britain is only just behind China and India when it comes to the numbers of its citizens who expatriate to live abroad every single year.  And in terms of the EU, Britain is by far the biggest exporter of people…so why do so many Brits choose to live abroad and become expats?

Well, after a night like last night when once again the UK was battered senseless by horrendous storms, and after a day like today when London is crippled by Tube strikes, is it any wonder that any of us dream about starting a new life in a new country?

However, turning a dream into reality requires a massive amount of effort and commitment, not to mention time and money; so what drivers consistently push Brits abroad?  Let’s take a closer look.

Well, according to the research referenced above, which was undertaken by a market research company called Finnaccord: “…ease of moving overseas due to historical ties and Britain’s links with multinational employers are the key reasons why so many Britons choose to become expats…”

At Shelter Offshore we beg to differ! 

From our collective experiences, and from the information we receive daily from our readers, moving abroad is nothing if not tough.  It doesn’t matter that a British passport opens doors to many nations…and it certainly doesn’t open them to some of the most desirable!

It requires research, commitment, tenacity, financial outlay, a leap of faith and hard work to move abroad and make a new life from scratch.

However, according to Finnaccord’s representative: “British expatriates share a common language with some of the countries with most successful economies such as Australia, Canada, Singapore and the US.  This makes it considerably easier for them to find employment in these countries.  Britain is also home to a large number of internationally-active companies, which creates opportunities for workers to transfer to other countries within the company.”

This suggests that it really is no big deal for any Brit to expatriate.  How far from the truth is that?

Whilst there are no language barriers in Australia, New Zealand, (parts of) Canada or America for example, each has an exceptionally restrictive immigration policy, where being British counts for virtually nothing.

You have to have skills and/or money to gain residency in any of those countries…suggesting that far from the life of an expat being easily accessible for any Briton, it’s only those willing to work for it who will be able to achieve it.  Which is certainly our opinion at Shelter Offshore.

Becoming a successful expat is not easy.  The rewards certainly make every effort worthwhile, but to imply that it’s really a simple path for any British citizen to make a new life in an unknown country is naïve and simplistic at best.

Ultimately Britons move abroad to improve their life. 

What that means to the individual is wholly subjective.  But what it does mean collectively is that Britons who choose to live abroad as expats do share a number of common traits – resilience, ambition, tenacity, vision, strength of character, curiosity and courage.  Nowhere is that mentioned in Finnaccord’s research!

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