UK emigration has remained broadly stable

A report conducted by Lloyds Private Banking found that between 2006-2016, 1.65 million people left Britain for a new life abroad. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of Brits leaving the UK averaged 162,667 people per year.

However, the number of  Brits emigrating abroad post-2016 appears to have remained relatively stable despite Brexit and COVID-19 concerns.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), UK emigration figures for the past five years have been as follows:

  • Year ending March 2016 – 306,000
  • Year ending March 2017 – 342,000
  • Year ending March 2018 – 340,000
  • Year ending March 2019 – 385,000
  • Year ending March 2020 – 403,000

The most recent estimates suggest there are 5.5 million British citizens living abroad in total, which is the equivalent to around one in ten of the current national population.

Emigrating abroad

Most popular UK emigration destinations

Figures indicate that Australia, Spain, USA, Canada and Ireland are the top five most popular destinations for Brits looking to live abroad.

Other countries within the top 10 UK emigration destinations include South Africa, Italy, Germany, France and New Zealand.

Australia has consistently been the most popular destination for the British expats, with its beautiful climate a more active way of life. Research shows that a total of 1.3 million British people have headed for a new life Down Under.

Unsurprisingly, Spain has attracted a total of 761,000 people thanks to its easy-going culture and yearlong warm temperatures.

Meanwhile, the USA has attracted 678,000 Brits, Canada 603,000, Ireland 291,000, New Zealand 215,000, South Africa 212,000 and France 200,000.

Main drivers for British emigration

Over half of British citizens who emigrated from the UK in the past decade have done so mainly for work-related reasons. Three-quarters (74%) of these had a definite job offer whilst a quarter (26%) were still looking for a job.

Lloyd’s research also found that around two-thirds (65%) of British citizens who emigrated since 2006 have indicated they intend to live abroad for more than four years. One in five intend to be away for up to two years and 8% for between two and four years. The remaining 7% were unsure about their intended length of stay.

The UK’s gloomy weather is another key factor for Brits looking to move abroad. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey found that the idea of moving abroad is highest around the summertime.  Internet searches and posts about moving abroad tend to peak between June and July. For this reason, Many UK expats choose to retire to countries like Spain to spend their golden years in a sunny and relaxed atmosphere.

UK emigration forecast 2021

The high number of UK internet searches for holiday homes abroad suggests that the UK’s desire to move abroad shows no signs of slowing down in 2021. Despite the new post-Brexit rule that prevents UK citizens from spending more than 90 days in the EU, Taylor Wimpey Espana reported a 39% increase in UK Spanish property searches in January 2021.

Despite a healthy appetite for moving abroad, global travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19 look to remain in place until at least the summer. Continued travel restrictions will put a halt on UK emigration plans for the time being and will have undoubtedly caused 2020 emigration figures to have taken a hit.

The impacts and restrictions of COVID-19 appear to have created a shift in perspective for many Brits. With the nation unable to leave the house other than for essential purposes, many are now craving for their ‘place in the sun’, with the aim of living life to the full.

With this in mind, if you’re thinking of moving abroad in the near future, you could do worse than making a visit to as your first step.

How can Halo Financial help with my move abroad?

There are many things to consider when planning a move abroad, from finding a property to setting up a new bank account. However, many people often leave managing their finances and foreign exchange to the last minute. Whether transferring a pension payment abroad or a deposit for a house, securing the best exchange rate is crucial to ensure you aren’t financially impacted. This is where advice from a foreign exchange specialist like Halo Financial comes in handy.

Halo Financial is a leading UK foreign exchange brokerage, offering a comprehensive range of services to individuals and businesses since its inception in 2005. The business prides itself on offering a flexible and personalised approach for each of its clients, simplifying the seemingly complex foreign exchange market to maximise savings in currency transactions, protect against currency risk and make money go further.

Staffed by qualified technical analysts, the company is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Revenue and Customs.

“Excellent”, “Reliable”, “Professional”, “Knowledgeable”, and “Helpful”– just some of the great feedback received as a Platinum Trusted Service Provider for The team at Halo are proud that customers rate their services so highly and are happy to recommend to others. The company is always striving to provide the best possible service and to innovate services and products in line with customers’ ever-evolving needs.

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