Best Countries to Migrate to from UK in 2024

Searching for the best countries to migrate to from the UK? Look no further. With a pragmatic approach, this guide distills the top destinations for UK.
April 27, 2024
Best Countries to Migrate to from UK in 2024
Ana Fankhauser
April 27, 2024

Searching for the best countries to migrate to from the UK? Look no further. With a pragmatic approach, this guide distills the top destinations for UK expats seeking better employment, superior quality of life, and a smooth cultural transition in the “best countries to migrate to from UK” category. From Australia’s familiarity for English speakers to Canada’s embrace of diversity, you’ll get succinct comparisons to make your choice clearer—because finding your ideal overseas home should be straightforward, not overwhelming.

Key Takeaways

  • Australia, Canada, the USA, and Spain are preferred migration destinations for UK expats due to factors like shared language, quality of life, job opportunities, and healthcare systems.
  • Financial considerations for UK migrants encompass cost of living, taxation, property investment, and the impact of Brexit, with some countries offering financial benefits such as territorial tax systems or low income tax rates.
  • Employment opportunities, securing a steady income abroad, and understanding healthcare and education systems are essential components for UK expats to sustain their lifestyle and integrate into a new society.

Exploring the Globe: Top Picks for UK Migrants

Exploring the Globe: Top Picks for UK Migrants

The world is a big place, and UK citizens considering life overseas have a plethora of destinations to choose from. But where are the best countries to migrate to? Where do most UK expats find their new homes?

Australia, Canada, the USA, and Spain are among the top picks for UK migrants. They offer a variety of lifestyle benefits, job opportunities, cultural experiences, and retirement options, making them popular choices among Brits looking to start a new life abroad. But what makes these countries particularly enticing? It’s a mix of factors, such as:

  • Quality of education
  • Cost of living
  • Cultural richness
  • Healthcare systems

Let’s delve deeper into what each of these countries has to offer.

The Allure of Australia: A Continual Favorite

Sydney Opera House

When it comes to the most popular country for UK expats, Australia takes the crown. With around 1.5 million British citizens residing here, it’s clear that the allure of this beautiful country is irresistible to many. But what makes Australia such a popular destination?

One major factor is the shared language and close historical ties between the UK and Australia. This commonality makes the migration process significantly easier for UK expats, as they don’t have to overcome a language barrier or adjust to a vastly different culture.

Australia’s natural beauty and excellent quality of life are also significant attractions. From the beautiful beaches to the diverse cities, there’s something for everyone. Young professionals often gravitate towards vibrant cities like Sydney and Melbourne, while those seeking a slower pace of life prefer Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and the Gold Coast.

In essence, Australia offers a blend of familiarity and novelty—a place where UK expats can feel at home while still exploring the unique aspects of a new country. It’s no wonder that Australia continues to be a chosen country for many Brits seeking life abroad.

Canada's Call: Space, Safety, and Shared Heritage

Canada's Call: Space, Safety, and Shared Heritage

Another top pick for UK migrants is Canada, a country known for its vast spaces, safety, and shared heritage with the UK. As a member of the Commonwealth, Canada shares historical ties and a language with the United Kingdom, making it an appealing choice for British citizens.

Canada’s strong advocacy of multiculturalism and diversity is another factor that makes it an attractive destination for UK nationals. The country’s welcoming immigration policies are designed to uphold its reputation as an inclusive society that values the cultural contributions of immigrants. This openness, coupled with the cultural similarities and widespread use of English, offers a sense of familiarity for many UK expats.

But it’s not just the cultural aspects that draw Brits to Canada. The country’s natural landscapes, including iconic locations like the Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls, and the Great Lakes, provide a scenic backdrop for UK migrants. Canada’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty, which includes protected areas like Banff and Jasper National Parks, is a major draw for nature-loving UK nationals.

When it comes to urban living, Canada doesn’t disappoint either. Cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Quebec are consistently ranked high for safety and livability, attracting UK nationals looking for quality urban environments. In essence, Canada offers:

  • A rich history
  • Safety
  • Space
  • A welcoming environment

All the ingredients for a fulfilling life abroad.

The American Dream: Opportunities Abound

The USA, often referred to as the land of opportunities, is another popular destination for UK expats. The country offers a thriving job market with opportunities across various sectors such as technology, healthcare, and finance, attracting professionals from around the world, including the UK.

Aside from the abundant job opportunities, the cultural familiarity, including the English-speaking environment, makes adjusting to life in the USA relatively straightforward compared to other non-English-speaking destinations. This aspect, coupled with the vast array of lifestyle and entertainment options, makes the USA an attractive choice for UK migrants.

The American way of life, characterized by its rich diversity, offers multiple lifestyle and entertainment options. Whether it’s the arts and dining, outdoor sports, or leisure activities, the USA caters to expatriates from all walks of life.

In a nutshell, the USA provides a vibrant and diverse environment brimming with opportunities. For UK expats seeking a better life overseas, the American Dream is still very much alive and within reach.

Embracing the Mediterranean Lifestyle in Spain

Embracing the Mediterranean Lifestyle in Spain

Spain, with its rich culture, excellent weather, and affordable living, is a favorite destination for UK expats looking for a Mediterranean lifestyle. The country offers a cheaper cost of living than the UK, making it an attractive option for those seeking to retire abroad or simply enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.

Retiring in Spain is also relatively straightforward, requiring a permiso de residencia, which proves sufficient financial support. This permit allows UK retirees to still receive their UK state pension while enjoying the sunny beaches and relaxed pace of life that Spain has to offer.

Cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, and Malaga offer unique attractions, such as:

  • entrepreneurial opportunities
  • job prospects
  • cultural events
  • a low cost of living

These cities are particularly appealing to retirees, who can enjoy a laid-back lifestyle without compromising on modern amenities and conveniences.

The considerable British expat community in Spain also provides a sense of familiarity and ease of integration for new arrivals. This, along with the appealing Mediterranean lifestyle, makes Spain a prime destination for many British expats.

Financial Considerations for Moving Abroad

While the lure of living in a new country and experiencing a different culture is appealing, financial considerations play a crucial role in the decision to move abroad. Whether you’re considering retiring abroad or setting up a new life overseas, understanding the financial implications is vital.

Some countries that offer English-speaking environments with favorable tax laws for UK expats include:

  • Mauritius
  • Bermuda
  • Gibraltar
  • Jersey
  • The Bahamas

These countries offer a territorial tax system or low flat income tax rates, making them attractive destinations for many UK expats. Other countries like Ireland, Singapore, and Malta also attract expats with business-friendly tax policies.

There are also practical considerations to take into account. For instance, the process of opening a bank account in your destination country can vary, with some processes starting from the UK and others requiring a local address. Additionally, transferring money to an overseas account can be more efficient and cost-effective through specialist money transfer companies compared to traditional banks.

Property investment is another significant factor. Buying property in a foreign country entails additional costs such as purchase tax and property registry fees. Plus, with Brexit, rental income may be subject to higher taxes for non-EU residents. However, it’s worth noting that many UK expats find increased earnings potential abroad due to more favorable working conditions, fewer working hours, and lower taxes.

Budgeting for a New Life: Cost of Living Abroad

When planning a move abroad, budgeting for your new life is essential. The cost of living can vary greatly between countries; some destinations may be cheaper on the surface but have hidden costs that can affect your budget.

Rent is one of the major costs to consider. For a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, you could be looking at $1,200 in Sydney, $1,000 in Toronto, and $700 in Barcelona. Then there are utility costs, which average around $160 in Sydney, $145 in Toronto, and $110 in Barcelona per month.

Another important factor is the average monthly disposable salary. After tax, this stands at approximately $3,500 in Sydney, $3,000 in Toronto, and $2,200 in Barcelona. It’s also worth noting that taxation systems can influence net income, with some countries offering tax breaks for expatriates that can significantly reduce the cost of living.

Ultimately, understanding and budgeting for the cost of living in your chosen country is a crucial step in planning a successful move abroad.

Investing in Your Future: Property Investment Overseas

For many expats, buying property overseas is not only a way to secure a home in their new country but also a sound investment for their future. However, purchasing property in a foreign country entails additional costs such as purchase tax and property registry fees.

Despite the potential additional costs, certain countries, like Greece and Cyprus, are considered highly attractive options for UK migrants due to their cost-effective property prices in Europe. When moving abroad, expats often face the choice between renting and buying. This decision hinges on the local housing market conditions and the individual’s long-term plans.

To support their international living, expatriates should ensure a reliable income through investments, pensions, or remote work, especially in cases where local employment is not permitted. In essence, property investment can be a fruitful venture for UK expats, but it requires careful planning and consideration.

Employment and Income Abroad: Sustaining Your Lifestyle

Securing a job or ensuring a steady income abroad is essential for a British citizen to sustain their lifestyle in a new country. With a British passport, people are motivated to move abroad by factors such as:

  • Improved lifestyle benefits
  • Higher standards of living
  • Job opportunities
  • Educational prospects for their children
  • Economic stability

However, one challenge is that professional qualifications of UK citizens are not automatically recognized in EU countries, and individuals need to seek formal recognition of their qualifications in the destination country.

Securing Work: Job Opportunities in Developed Countries

The employment landscape for UK expats can vary significantly by country. Certain nations have an abundance of job opportunities in specific industries, while others impose more restrictions on foreign workers and have tighter job markets. For instance, Brazil is known for its vast opportunities within the tourism industry, whereas Botswana’s growing economy is notable for jobs in the finance sector.

Countries like New Zealand and Australia offer favorable options for seasonal and short-term work, South Korea is a prime location for teaching English, and Denmark offers a strong work-life balance, including positions for English speakers. Australia’s thriving employment and educational options make it a sought-after destination for young UK professionals and students.

When considering employment abroad, UK migrants must pay attention to the legal requirements, which may vary by country. These often include securing appropriate work visas that could be dependent on specialized skills or demand within certain industries. Understanding the local job market and legal requirements is essential for securing work and sustaining your lifestyle abroad.

Retiring with Ease: Countries Offering Attractive Retirement Visas

For those looking to retire abroad, certain countries offer attractive retirement visa options. Around 20% of Britons living in Europe are retirees, and some countries offer residency visas based on monthly income to attract them.

Retirement visas in popular European destinations have varying minimum income requirements, which provide a range of options depending on individual circumstances. For example:

If they are receiving a UK state pension, UK citizens who retire in the EU or Switzerland may use an S1 form to access UK-funded state healthcare. Australia is considered an appealing retirement destination for Brits due to its high-quality healthcare system and tranquil lifestyle, while Portugal also boasts popular areas for British retirees such as the Algarve, Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, and Madeira.

In essence, retiring abroad can be a fulfilling experience, offering a more relaxed pace of life, better weather, and potentially lower living costs. However, it’s important to research and understand the requirements of retiring in different countries to ensure a smooth transition.

Health and Well-being: Global Health Insurance and Local Care

Healthcare is a vital consideration when moving abroad. Healthcare systems greatly differ around the world, with some countries providing free healthcare to residents while others necessitate private health insurance coverage. In many countries, expatriates may be required to contribute to patient costs or enroll in a national health insurance plan.

Therefore, understanding the healthcare system in your destination country is crucial for your health and well-being.

Ensuring Health Coverage: Navigating Global Health Insurance

Global health insurance is a key consideration for UK expats. The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) enables UK residents to access necessary state healthcare in the EU under similar conditions to local residents. However, the UK GHIC does not offer coverage for private medical care or repatriation, highlighting the importance for UK residents to also obtain private travel and medical insurance.

The UK GHIC or an existing EHIC provides coverage, typically for up to 90 days, similar to that which locals enjoy in the EU and Switzerland. UK expats can also benefit from global health insurance plans that provide comprehensive and flexible coverage across various countries, allowing for continued medical care while abroad.

Understanding the health coverage options available to you and ensuring that you have adequate coverage is essential when moving abroad. It’s important to remember that healthcare systems and insurance coverage can vary greatly from country to country, so it’s essential to thoroughly research and understand the healthcare system in your destination country.

Accessing Healthcare Services: From Private Healthcare to Free Education

Accessing healthcare services abroad can range from entirely privately funded systems to those with a mix of public and private options. Countries like Japan and Switzerland require residents to have health insurance, with private companies providing compulsory coverage.

Singapore offers a national health insurance plan, Medishield Life, but also has a thriving private healthcare sector for those who prefer more immediate and diverse service options. Nordic countries, notably Sweden, offer high-standard state-funded healthcare services as well as free education to residents, including expatriates.

Understanding the healthcare services available in your destination country is crucial to ensuring you and your family have access to high-quality healthcare when you need it. It’s also important to consider education services if you are moving with children.

Culture and Language: Integrating into a New Society

Moving to a new country is not just about practical considerations; it’s also about integrating into a new society and embracing a new culture. This involves overcoming language barriers and adapting to different cultural norms and values.

Language Barriers: Where English is Widely Spoken

One of the challenges UK expats may face when moving abroad is the language barrier. However, there are many countries where English is widely spoken, easing the transition for UK expats. Some of these countries include:

  • Norway
  • The Netherlands
  • The Balkans
  • The Baltic states

These countries offer environments with a wide prevalence of English speakers.

In Malaysia, English serves as the de facto official language, particularly in urban centers such as Kuala Lumpur. Other countries like Dominica provide a Caribbean living experience with English widely spoken, and Malaysia is noted for its use of English in everyday communication.

Younger generations in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are predominantly English-speaking, creating an expat-friendly atmosphere. Finding a home in a country where English is widely spoken can make the process of integration much easier, allowing UK expats to adapt more quickly to their new surroundings.

Cultural Adaptation: Finding a Home in a Multicultural Society

Adjusting to a new culture can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Countries like Portugal and Italy offer vibrant cultures and welcoming environments for UK expats, with growing expat communities in these countries.

Mediterranean countries, which are part of European countries, tend to offer more flexible working hours and a lower cost of daily living compared to a typical European country like the UK, contributing to a smoother cultural adaptation for British expatriates. The expat communities in these countries are growing, providing a sense of familiarity and ease of integration for new arrivals.

Culture and language are key aspects of integration into a new society. By embracing the local culture and learning the language, UK expats can fully immerse themselves in their new home and truly become a part of the local community.

Legal Pathways: Understanding Immigration Process and Requirements

Moving to a new country involves navigating the legal pathways of immigration. Understanding the immigration process and requirements in your destination country is crucial. It involves understanding visas, residency permits, and investment schemes.

Navigating the Immigration Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Understanding the immigration process is crucial when planning to move to a new country. Various visas are available to British applicants aiming to emigrate, tailored to their reasons for moving, including work, entrepreneurship, and retirement.

Portugal offers a Digital Nomad Visa for British citizens who work remotely for companies or clients based outside of Portugal. Retirement visas in certain countries can eventually lead to permanent residency and citizenship, demonstrating the long-term immigration potential for retirees, with the process taking anywhere from five to ten years.

Understanding the different types of visas available and the requirements for each is a crucial part of the immigration process. By doing so, UK expats can ensure a smoother transition and avoid potential legal issues in their new home country.

Investment for Residency: Minimum Investment Schemes

Investment for residency is another pathway to immigration. UK citizens can qualify for ‘golden visas’ which grant residency in return for significant property investments in countries such as Spain, Greece, and Malta. The Greece Golden Visa Program offers an affordable means to obtain residence by investment in Europe, providing visa-free access to Schengen Area countries. Malta’s Global Residence Programme requires the purchase or rental of property in specified locations, and although there’s no minimum income requirement, applicants must have comprehensive health insurance.

Investment for residency can be a viable option for those who have the means to do so. However, it’s important to understand the requirements and obligations associated with such schemes to ensure a successful immigration process.


In conclusion, moving to a new country is a significant decision that involves careful planning and consideration. Whether it’s the allure of Australia, the safety of Canada, the opportunities in the USA, or the Mediterranean lifestyle in Spain, each destination offers unique benefits for UK expats. Understanding financial considerations, securing employment or ensuring income, navigating healthcare systems, overcoming language barriers, and understanding immigration processes are all essential steps in preparing for a successful move abroad. By considering all these factors, UK expats can make a well-informed decision and embark on an exciting new chapter of their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most popular countries for UK migrants?

Australia, Canada, the USA, and Spain are some of the most popular countries for UK migrants. Each of these countries offers different opportunities and attractions.

What are some important financial considerations when moving abroad?

When moving abroad, it's important to understand tax laws, open a bank account, transfer money, and consider property investment, especially for UK expats.

How does healthcare work for UK expats moving abroad?

Healthcare for UK expats moving abroad varies by country, with some offering free healthcare to residents and others requiring private health insurance. Research the healthcare system in your destination country to understand the coverage options available.

What are some countries where English is widely spoken?

English is widely spoken in countries such as Norway, the Netherlands, the Balkans, the Baltic States, and Malaysia. It is a dominant language in these regions.

What are the legal pathways to immigration for UK citizens?

UK citizens can explore legal pathways to immigration through understanding visas, residency permits, and investment schemes tailored to their reasons for moving, such as work, entrepreneurship, and retirement. Whether for work, study, or other purposes, there are different options to consider.

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