Skip to main content

Where To Live Abroad - 6 Of The Best Nations For Expats

With news that 10% more people expatriated and left the British Isles for a better life abroad in 2007 than in 2006 and that 2007 was a record year for emigration from the UK, we thought we’d give you a breakdown of where to live abroad if you’re thinking of joining the ever growing ranks of British expats seeking a new life overseas.

We will profile 6 of the best, most popular nations with British emigrants so that you can pick the nation that most fits your lifestyle requirements.  We’ll look at visa requirements, the best cities for jobs and mention any emerging parts of the nation in question that might be worth closer inspection if you want cheaper property prices or perhaps a more laid back way of life.

1) Australia – Britons emigrating to live in Australia require a visa for residency.  There are a number of different classes of visa that one can apply for depending on whether you have family already ‘down under’, whether you want to work in Australia or whether you have money to invest in the nation.  Visas are awarded on a points system and for more information visit the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

The most popular destinations with Brits heading for Oz have traditionally been Sydney and Melbourne, but with overheated housing markets in these locations why not consider Perth or stunning North Queensland as alternative locations?  Mandurah in the Peel Region south of Perth is proving more popular with Brits who want the lifestyle benefits of living in such a stunning location coupled with the economic benefits and job prospects of being within reach of Perth for example.

2) New Zealand – New Zealand is one of the most popular overseas destinations with would-be expats, but because you have to apply and be accepted for a residency visa, not all Brits get to achieve the dream of moving to New Zealand.  One way to better your chances of acceptance is to get a job offer before you move or apply for your visa – and to enable you to do so there are currently job opportunity expos happening around the UK.  See our article about the expos for more information.

Auckland and Christchurch are by far the most popular locations with Britons moving to New Zealand.  This is because they are the cities with the jobs, the cities that are accessible and the most dynamic cities too.  However, if city living is not for you, what about exploring the Bay of Plenty.  It has its own happening city if you need employment or decent educational facilities for example, check out Tauranga.

Other areas where there are jobs and stunning lifestyle benefits include The Bay of Islands, Queenstown and Wanaka.

3) Canada – Again you have to have a visa to relocate permanently to Canada, but the application process is straightforward and you can find more information on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

Whilst the likes of Vancouver and Toronto are popular initial destinations for relocating Britons, you get far more for your property pound in the likes of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec.  And each region has its own great city locations where you can find employment opportunities for example.  If you don’t fancy the extremes of the Canadian climate however, then stay in and around British Columbia.

4) America – Getting a Green Card to live in America is a labour of love.  You really have to have your heart set on a new life in the United States to bother with the process.  However, if you have family or ties with America, a job offer or perhaps you score very highly as a skilled immigrant under their points system, it can be worth making the effort.

The most popular destinations with emigrating Britons are New York, Boston, Chicago, Florida and Miami.  The latter two are more suitable for those seeking the lifestyle!  The former three options are employment hubs.

Alternative and up and coming destinations popular with expats include Philadelphia and also Santa Fe in New Mexico.

5) France – thankfully, as an EU passport holder you don’t need to jump through hoops to emigrate to France and what’s more, the nation is on our doorstep and now even more accessible thanks to the upgrading and development of the Eurostar service.

The most popular destinations with Brits buying property in France are Brittany, Dordogne, Gascony, Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillon…but if you want alternatives what about the Euro commute towns such as Hesdin and Montreuil.

Cheaper regional alternatives to the popular ones mentioned include Pays de la Loire and Limosin.

6) Spain – finally we come to Spain, the number one summer holiday destination with Britons and high on our list of ideal locations to relocate to.  Again, as EU passport holders you do not have to go through a bureaucratic nightmare to move to Spain, and the good news is the Spanish property market is cooling making it more affordable to buy in.

The most popular locations are the costas such as the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.  Look to the Costa Tropical for cheaper prices and the likes of Murcia if you want an emerging hotspot within Spain.

The whole nation offers an abundance of stunning regions – but there is more employment in Northern Spain.  Barcelona is a popular city destination for Britons seeking the best of all worlds in Spain – i.e., vibrant city feel, lots of jobs, a stone’s throw from the beach but it does have a very expensive housing market.

No matter where in the world you want to relocate to, make sure you do plenty of location research before you commit to a move abroad.  If you are going to be locating to a place which requires you have a residency visa in place first, get your application process underway well in advance of your ideal move date.