Brits still happy to move abroad despite pandemic ​

Sep 08 | 2021

Seven Seas Worldwide in the UK has issued a new report that looks at relocation trends following a comprehensive global survey.

Most Brits seeking to relocate are in search of a better climate‘The Global Movement Report’, identified the UK as the most popular destination for global respondents considering a move abroad. The UK (17%) was followed by the US (12%) and Australia (9%).

What Brits want from relocation

The most popular reason for Brits planning to relocate to a different country was that they were in search of ‘a better climate’ (31%), while the most popular place for UK respondents looking to move abroad was Spain. After that, Brits were most likely to seek out fellow English-speaking countries: the USA (13%) was second preference, followed by Australia (11%) as the third choice.

When it came to reasons for having relocated in the past, Brits were most likely to have done so for a job or due to other economic prospects (32%). A fifth (20%) did so to broaden their horizons and experience a new culture, while nearly a quarter (24%) relocated in search of a better lifestyle or quality of living. Another quarter proved that absence doesn’t necessarily make the heart grow fonder and made a move for love: relocating to be with their family or a partner.

Among those who haven’t yet relocated but are planning to do so, education and upskilling was key. A fifth of Brits want to make the move to undertake an internship, study or to take a second degree, while just under a fifth (19%), would like to do so to broaden their horizons and learn a new language.

Pandemic not deterring moves

The research did find that the pandemic hasn’t put Brits off relocating in the near future: nearly half (46%) say they’re going to continue with their plans to move abroad when international travel resumes, compared to only a fifth (22%) who have cancelled their plans in the wake of COVID-19. Over a third (35%) of expats, meanwhile, say they’re considering a move back to Britain in light of the pandemic.

“The UK clearly still continues to be a hub of both incoming and outgoing expats – and is as an alluring destination for people from other countries looking to relocate as ever,” said John Henderson, Co-Founder, Seven Seas Worldwide. “It’s fascinating to see that more healthcare professionals have returned back to the UK than professionals from any other industry, especially in light of the pandemic.”

He continued: “As a family-owned business, we’ve seen many changes over the past 25 years, and we believe the insights from the Global Movement Report – the first of its kind - will be beneficial for anyone who is either considering a move, or has an interest in understanding the motivations and preferences of those who are moving – particularly the emotional and practical considerations. As the report points out, making a decision about where to live is a big challenge at any time, let alone such a time as now.”

Seven Seas worked with Censuswide to survey over 5,000 people across five countries for its inaugural report, including 1,000 from the UK.