New research launched by leading foreign exchange provider, Moneycorp, reveals that nearly three quarters (70%) of Brits living in Europe are now thinking about moving back to the UK. The survey uncovers that job security is the biggest fear for UK expats living in Europe, with one in three (35%) worrying about losing their job.
The declining value of overseas property prices came second in the top list of worries for Brits living in Europe, followed closely by the weakening pound. As countries feel the effects of the global downturn, Brits living in Spain topped the poll as the most worried about losing their job. The poll revealed 41% of expats in Spain fear for their job in the future and nearly four in ten (37%) are now considering a move back to the UK.
Brits living in Spain are particularly worried as the country is lagging behind the rest of the eurozone in its rate of economic recovery. The country's current unemployment rate of 17.9% is impacting expats in the country, especially as many of the jobs that have disappeared have been in the property market a key sector for UK émigrés.
Expats living in Germany top the poll (38%) of those seeking a move back to the UK, followed by expats in Spain (37%), Italy (34%) and France (33%). The main reason for expats in Germany moving back home is for their career. This could be due to the large population of military personnel based there over 54,000 Brits comprise the 'British Forces Germany' military community.
David Kerns, Head of Private Clients at Moneycorp, comments: "Our research findings highlight the real impact of the downturn for Brits living abroad. As businesses across Europe continue to cut costs, we could see a surge of expats return to the UK. Unemployment in Spain is evident with many jobs tied to the struggling property sector and new job prospects for younger Brits in the country have all but vanished.
In light of the worsening economic conditions, Brits living abroad should take immediate steps to obtain a clear overview of where their financial risks lie. If relying on income from the UK, British expats should consult a currency specialist to understand how to guard their finances against currency risks. Of course if British expats are coming home, they should be wary of the effects that the weak pound will have on them and should seek guidance from a currency expert to make the most of the money they take back to the UK."
Rest of the world
Respondents in the USA are also extremely worried about their current financial situation, with a fifth (20%) claiming to feel this way. The downturn in the US has been longer and deeper than many other countries with a rising unemployment rate of 9.5% (from 4.8% in April 2008), and expats are feeling the effects. Expats in the US are more likely to have relocated here because of their career compared to Brits living in other countries (35% claimed that this was the case).
Brits living in Australia are the least likely to move back to the UK (2%) a reflection of how much they have severed ties with their homeland. British expats here also have most confidence when it comes to their finances, with the largest proportion (37%) claiming that they have no concerns about current climate.
Almost half of respondents (48%) in Canada reported that family and friends would be the main reason for moving back to the UK, although the main reason for relocating from the UK was their job. A relatively small proportion (11%), respondents in Canada appear most likely to consider moving back to the UK.
The weak pound has hit pensions hard and the research reveals that one in five (20%) expats claim a sterling pension. Over a quarter of Brits living in Spain (28%) and over a third of British expats in Germany (33%) rely on this as a core source of income. Yet, the research reveals that nearly a quarter (22%) do not monitor the currency markets to avoid losing out money when making overseas payments.
David Kerns, Head of Private Clients at Moneycorp, comments: "Our research findings are