more than five million brits now live abroad

There are almost five million British expatriates living and working abroad, according to research from NatWest International, more than a fifth of which are based in Australia.

more than five million brits now live abroad

The figures come from NatWest International Personal Banking’s fifth annual quality of life index and reveal that, while Spain is also a highly popular destination for Brits, with 940,000 estimated to be living there, Australia has a staggering 1.4 million population of Brits. Meanwhile, the US comes in a close third, with 794,000 resident Brits.

The rise in the number of expatriates choosing Australia as their preferred destination has been steady since it overtook New Zealand in July 2010. Canada meanwhile, which was in the second spot in 2010, has now been superseded by both Spain and the US, although those living in Canada were recently revealed to be the happiest.

In the second release from this year’s survey, NatWest International highlights the importance of the prevalence of the English language in business, saying it is now an “industrial tool as common as the screwdriver”.

NatWest also suggests that British expatriates have become unofficial ambassadors of the UK, “shaping the global knowledge economy by promoting values to their host countries”.

“Either by design or accident, British expats are our ambassadors abroad and are playing a pivotal role in promoting values and best practices,” said Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking.

“Their contribution to local economies and communities -- either financially or socially -- cannot be underestimated.

“The common glue is the English language which has proved to be a vital tool and has played a leading role in the globalised world. It has provided a common platform for international drive; driven global collaboration and thinking; and opened the doors to opportunities around the world.”

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