Brexit is sapping expats’ confidence in Britain’s economy and its political stability

Brexit blues.
Brexit blues.
Image: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth
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Britain isn’t leaving the European Union for another 18 months, but expats are starting to freak out about what’s going to happen to the UK economy—and its political stability.

According to HSBC’s 10th annual Expat Explorer survey, Britain fell 13 spots, to number 35, in the rankings for the best places in the world to live as an expat. The bank hired Britain’s YouGov polling agency to survey nearly 28,000 adults expats in 159 countries and territories in March and April.

For a country to be ranked, it had to have a minimum sample of 100 respondents, including at least 30 who were parents. That meant 46 countries and territories qualified, making Britain’s overall ranking even more dismal.

The survey asked 27 questions that included queries on personal finance, work-life balance, and overall cost of raising children.

HSBC said Britain’s ranking was affected by a 20-percentage-point drop in confidence in the economy (43%) and a 22-point fall in confidence in political stability (31%). The survey is the second in a month that has shown how Brexit is affecting expats’ perceptions. One of the world’s most comprehensive reports on the subject—Expat Insider 2017—found that expat approval of the UK is sinking as Brexit brings down confidence in certainty over immigration, economics, and the country’s political landscape.

HSBC’s report showed that expats still see strong points in the UK, which is cited as one of the best places in the world for career progression, with 56% of expats saying their earnings potential is higher in Britain than it was at home.