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UK expatriates resident overseas numbered around 1.16 million in 2013 while there were around 1.19 million foreign expatriates in the UK – a net difference of just 30,000.
London, 29 January 2014 - According to a new research report published by Finaccord, the UK 'exports' nearly as many expatriates of its own as it 'imports' from other countries. Defining expatriates as individuals who establish their residence in the territory of another country for a temporary period that is, or is expected to be, of at least 12 months and a maximum of five years, Finaccord has calculated that there were around 1.19 million expatriates from other countries living in the UK in 2013 as opposed to around 1.16 million UK expatriates in other countries, a net difference of approximately 30,000.
However, looking in detail at who these expatriates are shows that there are some significant variations between these 'exported' and 'imported' expatriates. 58.3% of UK expatriates residing abroad are classified as individual workers, 23.5% as retired expatriates, 4.6% as students and 4.0% as corporate transferees with the balance of other expatriates (defined as non-employed spouses and children) making up the residual 9.5%. In contrast, foreign expatriates living in the UK break down between individual workers at 46.4%, students at 38.4%, corporate transferees at 5.1%, retired expatriates at 3.1% and others (defined as before) at 7.1%.
Thus, foreign students in the UK greatly outnumber UK students at educational institutions overseas, while retired expatriates from the UK living overseas constitute a much larger group than retired foreigners living as expatriates in the UK.
"Global mobility has increased significantly over the past decade and expatriates constitute a large and diverse market", comments Tobias Schneider, a Consultant at Finaccord. "With regards to the UK, our research establishes a number of facts, some of which often risk getting lost amid politically-motivated debate about immigration. These include: that the UK is probably the most open country in the world in terms of flows both in and out; that the UK is the largest 'exporter' of expatriates in the EU and one of the largest in the world; and that other major western European countries – France, Germany, Italy and Spain – all 'import' a lot more expatriates than they 'export'."
Across outbound countries investigated (i.e. expatriates countries of origin), expatriates from India represented the largest group of expatriate residents in the UK in 2013, followed by those from Poland and China. Note that non-expatriate immigrants in the UK numbered around 6.63 million in 2013 meaning that expatriates accounted for about 15.2% of the UK's total immigrant population in that year. Meanwhile, across inbound countries researched (i.e. destination countries) the largest group of UK expatriates resided in Australia in 2013, followed by those in Spain and the UAE.