News and Views
Top 12 countries where British expats say they are healthiest and wealthiest
A study by the Centre for Future Studies points to nation’s where Britons are living the high life
Australia remains the most successful destination for British expats but the Far East has soared up the rankings for overall quality of life, a survey has found.
Nine out of 10 Britons (89pc) living in Australia reported an improved quality of life, according to the seventh annual NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life index, undertaken by the Centre for Future Studies.
Some 82pc said the main reason for living in Australia was a better environment and quality of life for their children and 73pc said their health had improved.
More than two-thirds (68pc) said they were wealthier in terms of having an increased disposable income, and 88pc rated the state of Australia’s economy highly.
More than eight in 10 (84pc) said the Australian sunshine was one of their top five reasons for living there, with 87pc saying they would remain indefinitely and 28pc saying they had already retired.
But China, Singapore and Hong Kong have risen sharply in the rankings since 2008, with China jumping the most from 11th place to fifth.
Among British expats in China, 71pc moved there for better job prospects and 87pc said they earned more than they did in the UK.
Half (49pc) said their work-life balance had improved, citing a friendly local culture, good food and good fitness opportunities.
Almost half (48pc) said the quality of public transport in China was a draw, citing the bullet trains, city subway systems and vast bus networks.
Expats in Singapore, which has risen from ninth place in 2008 to fourth place, gave it a low score for work-life balance but rated it highly for raising children because of its “excellent” albeit expensive childcare and education.
But 53pc said they worried about job security.
British expats in Hong Kong, which has risen to eighth place after failing to rank in 2008, said they were attracted by low taxes (74pc), efficient public transport (58pc) and the widespread use of English (92pc).
The downsides were a shortage of international schools (34pc), overcrowding (73pc) and air pollution (94pc).
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) took third place in the index for the second year running, with 92pc of British expats there reporting a high disposable income, 84pc enjoying a good working environment and 82pc saying they had excellent career prospects.
But almost three-quarters (71pc) reported they had found it difficult to make friends and integrate into the community.
Austerity measures and fears over job security were prompting 63pc of British expats in Europe to consider returning to the UK, according to the index, while a third of expats in France (31pc) said they would move back to the UK permanently.
NatWest head of international personal banking, Dave Isley, said: “Our seven year Quality of Life Index has shown Australia to be consistently popular with British expats and who can blame the many Brits who have decided to make their home in this sunny country which has fared reasonably well during the financial crisis.
“But the survey has revealed some interesting shifts.
“With the heyday of Europe seemingly forgotten, the Far East has tempted many expats to dip their toes into a different life, one they appear to be reaping the benefits of.
“Better career prospects and higher wages are enjoyed by many in China, Singapore and Hong Kong, which has lifted these countries up the league table.”
The top 12 countries, as ranked by the index, are:
3. United Arab Emirates
6. New Zealand
7. South Africa
8. Hong Kong