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Thomas Wilkinson, former CEO, AXA - Global Healthcare

Expats in the UK worry about domestic politics

PUBLISHED: 10 April 2019 | LAST UPDATED: 17 May 2022

New research reveals that 14% of expats in the UK would consider returning to their home country for political reasons

Research* from AXA – Global Healthcare has revealed that a third (31%) of expats living in the UK are concerned about domestic politics. It proved to be such a concern, that expats currently living and working in the UK reported feeling more worried by domestic politics than those in any other country surveyed; France (22%),  Canada (11%), the UAE (10%) and Hong Kong (7%). 

By comparison, with just a fifth (18%) claiming to feel worried about global politics, UK-based expats seemed to be considerably more concerned about domestic politics than those on the world stage. They were also more worried by domestic politics than terrorism (18%).

Those expats who were most concerned by the local political landscape were aged 41-50 (36%), with residents aged 24-30 (29%) and 31-40 (28%) much less worried. 

Tom Wilkinson, CEO, AXA – Global Healthcare commented: “There’s no denying that, with Brexit looming, we are in the midst of an incredibly turbulent political period. For months now, it has felt almost impossible to read or listen to the news without the UK’s political situation making the headlines. It’s understandable, therefore, that the impact of the local political landscape on their daily lives would worry expats who have made their home in the UK more than those in other parts of the world.”

Looking to the future, the research also found that expats living in the UK are more likely than any other surveyed to consider returning to their home countries for political reasons. The research revealed that 14% would consider leaving, compared with 12% in France, 6% in Hong Kong, 5% in the UAE and 3% in Canada.

Despite the current political uncertainty, it seems expats have more reason to come to the UK than they do to leave. While 14% would consider leaving for political reasons, a third (32%) of expats have moved to the UK for career opportunities and a fifth (20%) did so for better pay and benefits.

Tom Wilkinson concluded: “Speculation is rife over how Brexit will affect both British citizens who are living abroad and expats who have chosen to make their home here, in the UK. Whatever the future holds though, the skills, experience and investment that expats from all corners of the globe bring to the UK cannot be underestimated. It’s hugely encouraging, therefore, to see that large numbers of expats are still choosing to make their home here, in the UK. Likewise, it’s reassuring that the number of expats who would consider returning to their home country for political reasons remains relatively low.”

*Research conducted in February 2019 by Vitreous World. A total of 1,352 expats were surveyed (250 in the UK, France, UAE, Canada and China respectively, and 100 in Hong Kong)

The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing.