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The alternative emigration – going elsewhere than the EU

As Britain seems to be struggling to recover from a never-ending winter and ever increasing national debt, more people are looking to emigrate abroad.

Visa applications increased by 15% in the first 4 months of 2013, when compared to the same period in the previous year. Global Visas handled a staggering 257,389 requests from those who want to leave the UK this year. One of the main reasons that hopeful emigrants gave for wanting to up sticks and leave was the especially poor climate that Britain has experienced of late.

Photo courtesy of Masuru Kamikura

Where is everyone fleeing to?

So where are these hundreds of thousands of expats planning on emigrating to? It is easy to assume that Britons are heading to sunnier skies where they can still enjoy a few home comforts and direct flights, but figures show that the previously popular EU destinations such as Spain are taking a backseat in favour of more far-flung locations.

Canada has proven to be a popular but perhaps unexpected location for many expats, with 27% of those leaving the UK for Mounties and maple leaves. The laid back lifestyle in Australia also attracts a large group of Britons who seek sun over snow, with 22% of those leaving behind the drizzle to head down under.

The recent Eurozone crisis could be a contributing reason as to why so many people are choosing to relocate further afield; the relative familiarity of what we know is no longer comforting when gripped by recession. With the rest of the world suddenly a realistic possibility for so many aspiring expats, where do you choose to make your new home, and why?


Asia is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst expats seeking a more exotic emigration destination. Matthew Montagu-Pollock runs, and emigrated to Asia himself. Matthew lived in the Philippines for 15 years, and rented out a tiny and rather grimy ex-council flat in London and was able to use solely the income from that to rent a 300sqm house with a swimming pool in a luxurious gated community in Manila.

Due to a boom in economy and popularity, the same can’t be done for the same sort of money in the Philippines, but is this standard of living is available if Brits relocate to neighbouring countries such as Thailand. Due to foreign currency exchange rates you are suddenly rich on what would seem like a rather average wage in Britain. As these countries are still developing, they have a fantastic period for potential growth ahead which expats could really reap the benefits of if they choose to relocate there now.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


Australia has remained the most popular destination for emigrating Brits, with numbers relocating down under steadily increasing from 48,000 to 64,000 in the twenty years since 1991. As a country with the same love for beer and good natured British banter but with weather regularly reaching the high 30C’s there’s no surprise why so many people from the UK are packing their bags and jumping on the next long haul flight to Australia.

For those choosing to migrate down under, there are subject to a rigorous screening process and points based application system – this is to ensure that Australia attracts the most skilled migrants who will be an asset to their country. However expats may be more than willing to endure this lengthy procedure to hopefully exploit the promising career paths available in Australia that are perhaps out of reach in budget-stricken Britain. Thanks to a boom in the mining industry in Perth, the Australian economy has expanded and the demand for a skilled workforce has increased, therefore opening up more career opportunities. Due to the demand for diverse Australian resources, the country only experienced one quarter of negative growth during the global financial meltdown. This is certainly an attractive and refreshing change for expats looking to bid farewell to a debt-riddled Britain!

United Arab Emirates

The UAE is a nation of emigrants – 2010 records showed that only 16.5% of the population were born and bred Emiratis. There are seven regions within the United Arab Emirates, the most popular for emigrants being Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Since 2007, more than 10,000 Britons have chosen to make the move to the UAE each year.

A huge attraction with moving to the UAE is that you do not pay tax in any earned income. This therefore balances out any higher living costs as you have more of your wages coming back to yourself. Just looking at the glittering metropolis’ that have been constructed across UAE show the wealth and luxury social life that is to be had – what more could an expat want?

Rosie Percy writes for a diverse range of topics and industries including travel, finance and health. Rosie has previously written for the Guardian and lifestyle blogs, and currently lives in Brighton.

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