POLITICS

UK Falls Below Kazakhstan In Top Expat Destination Survey

Political instability is one of the main reasons for the drop.

06/09/2017 08:01 BST | Updated 07/09/2017 10:34 BST
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The UK has fallen below Kazakhstan in a list of top expat destinations thanks to a rise in the cost of living and ongoing political instability.

A survey of 13,000 expats across the world placed the UK at number 54 - based on factors such as quality of life, friendliness and security.

In 2016, the survey – carried out by expat organisation InterNations – had the UK ranked 33rd, but the Brexit vote and weak pound have damaged the country’s attractiveness in the eyes of migrants.

The UK is now ranked below Kazakhstan (35), Kenya (37) and Russia (50), while Bahrain, Costa Rica and Mexico topped the list.

InterNation

InterNations co-CEO Malte Zeeck said: “The UK’s drop in the overall ranking cannot be ignored; it has lost 21 places compared to last year. This decline has been heavily influenced by rising political and financial concerns. Changes in British politics have left foreign residents with much uncertainty.”

“Even though the survey took place before the 2017 general election, it looks like expats in the UK were already concerned with what the future might bring after last year’s referendum. This might have been one of the reasons why the country lost 30 percentage points when it comes to satisfaction with political stability.”

“The fluctuation of the pound has probably increased expats’ concerns about their personal finances. The UK finds itself among the bottom 10 of the Personal Finance Index this year. However, the financial situation has not been favorable for expats for a while, as the UK has been stuck among the 20 worst-rated countries since 2014.”

Internation
Internation

In 2016 more than three-quarters of respondents (77%) regarded the UK as politically stable, yet just 47% share that opinion one year later. 

The UK is also below average when it comes to how welcome migrants are made to feel, with just 50% believing the attitude towards foreign residents is generally good - 67% worldwide - and a just 12% consider it very good (global average: 26%).

Over a quarter say they have felt unwelcome due to their nationality at least sometimes (18%), frequently (6%), or even all the time (2%).

When it comes to the making new friends, the UK ranks 49th out of 65 countries.

Labour MP Chris Bryant MP,  a backer of the anti-Brexit Open Britain campaign, told HuffPost UK: “Nobody voted in the referendum for Britain to become a less welcoming country for people who have come here to build their lives in our country.

“For Britain to thrive in future we need to be open to talented and hard-working people from across the world. The Government must not allow Brexit to damage Britain’s reputation for openness.

“It would be a disaster for this country if we were to gain a reputation for giving a grudging welcome to doctors, nurses and others who have come to this country to make a difference and help build a strong and prosperous country.

“Ministers should start by guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens already resident in Britain, rather than sending them letters threatening deportation.”

The UK is still seen as having benefits for families moving abroad, with nearly eight in ten expat parents (78%) saying they are impressed with the leisure activities available for kids.

The British education is also seen as a plus, with two-thirds of respondents regarding it favourably.

When it comes to Brits overseas, 81% were generally satisfied with life abroad, and 52% say they are unlikely to return to the UK.

InterNations asked about 13,000 expatriates representing 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries or territories to rate and provide information on various aspects of expat life. The survey report covers topics relating to the quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance and the cost of living.

The full survey can be found here.