Immigration Specialists London

British Citizens Living Abroad 2020: Delve into the experiences and trends of British expatriates around the world in 2020. This guide offers a comprehensive analysis of the reasons British citizens choose to live abroad, the challenges they face, and the support networks available to them. It also examines the demographics and contributions of migrants living in the UK, along with visa-free travel options for British citizens. This exploration provides valuable insights for potential expats, policymakers, and anyone interested in the socio-economic impacts of global migration, highlighting the diverse stories of British citizens and migrants.

British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK

1. Key Insights: British Expats Living Abroad

The trend of British citizens living abroad has been on the rise, with an estimated 5.5 million Brits making their homes outside the UK. This migration highlights the UK’s significant role as a source of international expatriates.

Popular Destinations for British Expats

British expatriates are drawn to various countries, each offering unique appeals from cultural ties to lifestyle improvements. Here are some popular destinations:

  • Australia:
    • Cultural and linguistic similarities draw approximately 1.3 million Brits, enticed by high living standards and a modern healthcare system​ (U.K.ABROAD)​​​.
  • Spain:
    • The warm climate, affordable living conditions, and attractive retirement visas appeal to around 761,000 British expats​ (Global Citizen Solutions)​.
  • United States:
    • Offers diverse opportunities and a shared language, hosting about 678,000 UK expats​.
  • Canada:
    • Known for its high quality of life, common language, and cultural ties, with around 603,000 Brits residing​.
  • France:
    • Popular for its quality of life, family-friendly policies, and work-life balance, although it can be challenging to find jobs​ (Expatra)​.

British expatriates vary in age and reasons for moving, from retirees seeking sunny retreats in Spain and Portugal to younger individuals and families moving for work, study, or adventure in destinations like the US, Canada, and Australia.

Motivations for British Citizens Moving Abroad

The decision for British citizens to relocate internationally is driven by a mix of personal, professional, and lifestyle factors. Key motivations include:

  • Employment and Career Opportunities:
    • Enhanced job prospects and career growth are significant drivers for relocation globally.
  • Retirement and Quality of Life:
    • Many are attracted to better climates, lower costs of living, and relaxed lifestyles in destinations like Spain, Portugal, and France​​.
  • Education and Family Reasons:
    • Educational pursuits or supporting family members in their overseas opportunities often lead to long-term settlement​ (CRS)​​.
  • Adventure and Lifestyle Choices:
    • The desire to experience new cultures and lifestyles motivates moves to countries like New Zealand, Japan, and Thailand​​.

These motivations underscore the diverse aspirations behind British citizens’ decisions to live abroad. From seeking better employment opportunities to desiring a change in lifestyle or climate, understanding these factors is crucial for grasping the broader trends of British emigration and the evolving demographics of expatriates worldwide.

British Citizens Living Abroad
Brits Abroad: Embracing Global Lives

2. Migrants in the UK: Demographics and Contributions

The UK is home to a diverse population of migrants, whose demographics and contributions significantly impact the country’s cultural and economic landscape. This section explores the population overview, the contributions of migrants, and their reasons for moving to the UK.

Migrants in the UK: Statistics and Key Points

Population Overview

Migrants in the UK represent a substantial portion of the population, with distinct age demographics and countries of origin.

NumberApproximately 9.5 million, making up 14% of the total population
Age Median35 years for migrants vs. 42 years for UK-born individuals
Top Countries of OriginIndia, Poland, Pakistan, Romania, Ireland, Germany, Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Africa, China
Population Overview

Migrant Contributions

Migrants enrich the UK in various ways, from cultural diversity to economic participation.

Cultural DiversityMigrants introduce varied cultural backgrounds, enriching the UK’s social fabric.
Workforce ParticipationThey bring diverse skills and educational backgrounds, contributing significantly to various sectors of the economy.
Migrant Contributions

Reasons for Migrants Moving to the UK

Migrants come to the UK for a range of reasons, from seeking economic opportunities to joining family members.

Reason for MigrationDetails
Economic Opportunities & Skilled Worker VisasAttracted by job prospects and higher wages, skilled workers utilize the Skilled Worker Visa pathway.
Education & Student VisasThe UK’s renowned universities attract international students, with the Tier 4 Student Visa enabling study and part-time work.
Family Reunification & Spouse VisasVarious visas facilitate migrants joining family members in the UK, including spouse/partner, child, and parent visas.
Asylum and Humanitarian ProtectionProvides refuge for those escaping persecution or humanitarian crises, with avenues for temporary or permanent residency.
Reasons for Migrants Moving to the UK

Migrants in the UK: Key Motivations and Visa Pathways

This overview highlights the demographics and invaluable contributions of migrants to the UK, alongside the primary motivations driving migration to the country. Understanding these elements is crucial for addressing the needs of this population and leveraging their potential benefits to enrich the societal and economic fabric of the UK.

3. Exploring Visa-Free Travel Options for British Citizens

British citizens enjoy the privilege of visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a multitude of destinations globally, making their passport one of the most advantageous for international travel. This overview sheds light on key destinations where British citizens can travel without a visa, including the duration of stay permitted and any notable restrictions.

Visa-Free Accessible Regions for British Citizens

A wide range of regions and countries welcome British citizens without the need for a visa for short stays.

Region/ContinentNotable Countries
EuropeSchengen Area countries
AsiaJapan, Singapore
South AmericaVarious countries
AfricaSelected countries
OceaniaAustralia, New Zealand
Visa-Free Accessible Regions for British Citizens

Stay Limitations and Restrictions

While visa-free access provides convenience, there are limitations and restrictions on the duration of stay.

DestinationStay Limitation
Schengen AreaUp to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism, business, or family visits.
Australia/New ZealandUp to three months for tourism.
General RuleVisa-free entry typically allows for short-term visits; longer stays may require a visa or residence permit.
Stay Limitations and Restrictions

Popular Destinations for Temporary Living

Certain destinations stand out for temporary stays, offering rich cultural experiences, job opportunities, and high living standards.

RegionPopular Picks
EuropeSpain, France, Portugal, Italy
GlobalAustralia, New Zealand, Canada
Popular Destinations for Temporary Living

Important Considerations for Visa-Free Travel

Traveling visa-free necessitates thorough preparation and understanding of the destination’s entry requirements.

Research RequiredInvestigate specific visa requirements and entry restrictions for your destination.
Long-Term StayFor stays extending beyond the visa-free limit, research the process for obtaining a residence permit or appropriate visa.
Important Considerations for Visa-Free Travel

This guide aims to inform British citizens about the possibilities and considerations of visa-free travel, highlighting popular countries and the limitations of such travel arrangements. Proper research and planning are essential to ensure compliance with entry requirements and to maximize the benefits of visa-free access.

Both British citizens living abroad and migrants in the UK face a myriad of challenges while adapting to new environments. This section delves into the specific challenges they encounter, the support services available, and future trends affecting migration.

Challenges Faced by British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK

Adapting to a new country involves overcoming various hurdles, from cultural integration to navigating legal systems.

Cultural Adaptation & LanguageAdjusting to new cultures and overcoming language barriers.
Healthcare & Social ServicesAccessing healthcare and navigating social services in a foreign system.
Employment & HousingFinding employment and affordable housing; dealing with the recognition of qualifications.
Legal & Administrative ProcessesNavigating complex immigration laws, visa procedures, and local regulations.
Challenges Faced by British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK

Support Services for British Citizens Abroad and Migrants in the UK

A variety of support services are in place to assist both British citizens abroad and migrants in the UK.

Support TypeResources
British Consulates & EmbassiesAssistance with legal matters, emergencies, and general advice.
UK-Based Organizations & CharitiesHousing, employment, and legal assistance for migrants.
Online Resources & CommunitiesForums and social media groups for advice and shared experiences.
Support Services for British Citizens Abroad and Migrants in the UK

Future Trends in British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK

The landscape of migration is evolving, influenced by several key factors:

BrexitChanges to the rights and preferences of British expats and EU migrants.
Global Economy & Job MarketInfluences on opportunities and decisions on where to live and work.
Role of TechnologyEnhancing communication and simplifying migration processes.
Future Trends in British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK


Exploring the experiences of British citizens living abroad and migrants in the UK reveals insights into the motivations for migration, the challenges encountered, support mechanisms in place, and future trends that may shape these dynamics. By understanding these aspects, we can facilitate a more informed discussion on migration’s effects, assisting individuals and policymakers in navigating the complexities of adaptation and policy formulation.

5. FAQs: British Citizens Living Abroad and Migrants in the UK

  1. How many British citizens currently live abroad?

    Approximately 5.5 million British nationals reside outside the UK, contributing to a significant expatriate community worldwide.

  2. What are the most popular destinations for British expats?

    Popular destinations include Australia, Spain, the United States, and Canada, each offering unique appeals from cultural ties to lifestyle and climate benefits.

  3. What are the main reasons British citizens choose to live abroad?

    Key reasons include seeking employment and career opportunities, desiring a better quality of life or retirement conditions, educational purposes, family reasons, and the allure of new adventures and lifestyles.

  4. Do British expats face challenges when living abroad?

    Yes, challenges can include cultural adaptation, language barriers, accessing healthcare and social services, finding employment and housing, and navigating legal and administrative processes in a new country.

  5. Are there support services available for British citizens living abroad?

    British consulates and embassies provide assistance with legal matters and emergencies. Additionally, various UK-based organizations, charities, and online communities offer support and advice.

  6. How has Brexit affected British citizens living in the EU?

    Brexit has altered the rights and residency requirements for British expats in the EU, making it essential for them to check the specific regulations in their country of residence regarding stay, work, and access to services.

  7. Can British citizens living abroad vote in UK elections?

    Yes, British citizens living abroad can register as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after leaving the UK, allowing them to vote in general elections and referendums.

  8. What are future trends for British citizens living abroad?

    Trends are influenced by global factors such as changes in international job markets, lifestyle preferences, and geopolitical events like Brexit. Technology also plays a crucial role in facilitating mobility and communication.

  9. How can British expats maintain their legal status abroad?

    It’s vital to comply with the residency and visa requirements of the host country, including renewals and registrations as required, and to stay informed about any changes in immigration laws.

  10. Where can British expats find information about living abroad?

    The UK government’s website, British consulates and embassies, expatriate forums, and social media groups are valuable resources for information on legal requirements, local culture, and support services.

This FAQ section aims to address common queries regarding the experiences of British citizens living abroad and migrants in the UK, offering insights into their motivations, challenges, support systems, and the impacts of broader geopolitical changes. For further details on international migration to and from the UK, please refer to International Migration Statistics.