Every year, thousands of people from all around the world pack up and leave their home countries in search of a new life abroad. In 2009 – 2010 alone,The Guardian estimates that hundreds of thousands of British Citizens emigrated, with roughly 64,000 Brits leaving for Australia, 26,000 leaving for the U.S, and 14,000 leaving for Canada. So, it’s fair to say that living abroad is more popular than ever, at least among Brits. However, if you’ve been thinking of living abroad, you’ll lively have realised that there’s a lot of things to consider before making your move. You need to figure out where you’re going to move to, whether it will be temporary or permanent, how much travel money you should take and also, what life as an expatriate will be like. Luckily, we’ve created this guide to help answer these common questions.
WHAT IS AN EXPATRIATE?
An expatriate (or “expat”) is the name given to anyone who is temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than his or her country of origin (i.e. the country in which they were “brought-up” in). The word is derived from two Latin terms: ex meaning “out of”, and patria meaning “country” or “fatherland”. When most people refer to someone as an expatriate, they will be referring to professionals, skilled workers or those who are sent to another country to work by the company for whom they are employed. It is rarely used as a descriptive term for immigrants or migrant workers, even though the actual definition of the word does fit that use. The term is also widely used to describe those who permanently relocate to another country following their retirement. In fact, this is arguably the most common scenario in which the word is used to describe an expatriate.
BECOMING AN EXPATRIATE
According to the BBC, it is estimated that 5.5 million British people live abroad on a permanent basis. This makes approximately one in ten of the UK population expats. If you’re thinking of moving abroad and becoming an expat, there are a lot of things that you need to think about before making your decision. It’s important that you think about whether you plan to move abroad permanently or temporarily, as this will usually affect the commitments and ties you choose to keep in your country of origin.
For example, assuming that you’re planning to live abroad permanently, you’ll likely wish to sell the home you own in your country of origin, move all of your belongings, close your existing bank account in your home country, open a new bank account in the country you’re planning to relocate to and essentially, cut all or most ties to your home country (aside from friends and family, of course). Alternatively, if you’re only thinking of living abroad on a temporary basis, you may wish to keep your existing bank accounts for future use, rent (rather than sell) your existing home and also, you may wish to simply take a set amount of travel money rather than shifting all aspects of your finances to your chosen expat location. Whether you’re thinking of becoming a permanent or temporarily expatriate, it’s also important that you carefully consider your expatriate location, as there are a lot of options (all with different benefits and disadvantages) to choose from.
THE BEST (AND MOST POPULAR) EXPATRIATE LOCATIONS
According to an InterNations.org survey, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Mexico, Switzerland and Singapore are just a few of the top expat destinations for 2014. Of those who relocated to Ecuador, 91% reported being satisfied with their life in general, with 44% saying that they are “very happy”. However, those who relocated to Greece, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait all reported issues with their choice ranging from fears of job security to a lack of leisure activities.