Brexit is killing the expat’s dream of moving to Britain

Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Image: Reuters/Luke MacGregor
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Expats are losing their love for living and working in Britain as Brexit is crippling the quality of life.

That’s according to one of the world’s most comprehensive reports—Expat Insider 2017—on expats, defined “in the classical sense of employees on a corporate assignment,” by InterNations. The networking group had 13,000 respondents to the survey, which represents 166 nationalities. They were asked to rate and provide information on what it’s like to live and work in 65 countries that are considered key destinations for expats. Scores were calculated on 43 factors, including quality of life, ease of settling in, cost of living, and healthcare.

Britain is the third most common country of residence, behind Germany, and the US. But expat approval of the UK is sinking. Britain’s ranking fell a massive 21 places year-on-year, reaching 54th place. And the survey was taken before the 2017 General Election and the country’s most recent terrorist attacks took place:

The survey showed a 30 percentage point drop in expats’ satisfaction with political stability. Expats cited the political uncertainty over Brexit as the reason for why they’ve rated the UK so low, compared to others. For example, prime minister Theresa May is planning to stop the nation participating in the free movement of EU citizens into the UK after the nation leaves the bloc, which will naturally have an impact of how onerous it will be to move to the UK.

EU expats are also concerned about what this will mean for those still living here. One Danish expat said in the survey, “we are very uncertain about our future. Brexit has made life very difficult.” Expats aren’t finding Britain too friendly either.

Foreign residents do not always feel at home in Britain as over half (54%) report they have felt unwelcome at times due to their nationality.

On top of that, Brexit is making Britain even more expensive to live in. Immediately following the EU referendum, sterling crashed to a 31-year low. It has slightly recovered but remains chronically low against the euro, reaching 0.86 euro to the pound at some bureaux de change:

The weak pound against the euro, as well as other currencies like the US dollar, harms the purchasing power if you’re getting paid in pounds. Out of the sub-index on personal finances, expats ranked Britain 59th out of 65 countries. Nearly a third of expats living in the UK said their salary was not enough to cover their expenses. All in all, Britain is not in its best shape to lure in expats; Brexit is making it too expensive, unfriendly, and too unstable when it comes to knowing whether immigration laws will mean you’ll have to leave the country, shortly.