It may be a few months after Brexit when “freedom of movement” officially ended, but many Britons are still yearning to move abroad and experience life outside the UK.
With millions still working from home, employees are wondering if they can relocate far beyond UK shores without too many restrictions.
Countries like Spain, France, Australia and New Zealand continue to be top choice for a move later in 2021 or early 2022, but for differing reasons, these are not the easiest places to put down roots.
However, the more adventurous are looking at destinations providing an alternative to the usual expat experience, according to financial specialist Smart Currency Exchange.
These are the most popular places for those looking to relocate and large expat populations.
It’s a bit of a mystery why Turkey isn’t more popular with expats, especially now that the weakened Turkish lira means you get four times more local money in exchange for sterling than five years ago.
That makes both property and the cost of living exceptionally affordable. Turkey is a great option for those seeking a good lifestyle in the sun on a UK pension.
Being outside the EU has other advantages. Residency procedures are simpler than for most countries, yet you’re only a four-hour flight from the UK, with plenty of budget airlines in summer.
Turkey is three times the size of the UK and varies considerably from the western, “turquoise coast” on the Mediterranean, which looks and feels very like Greece or Italy, to Istanbul, the Black Sea coast and eastern border with Georgia, with a more eastern European appearance. You will find very few British expats outside of areas like Cesme, Bodrum and Fethiye on the Mediterranean.
The border area with Syria and Iran is undoubtedly best avoided, tempting though it is to move to a town called Batman.
Some of the islands such as Crete and Corfu do have many residents from the UK – but there are so many islands where it is possible to reside.
The appeal of life in Greece has been immortalised for 3,000 years from Homer to The Durrells. And what a lifestyle it can be, set around nearly 230 inhabited islands or in vibrant and exciting cities like Athens and Thessaloniki. It’s the epitome of relaxed island life, where the best things in life are free and the people are kind and friendly.
The most popular islands for Britons are the furthest apart – Corfu on the Italian side, Crete down south almost closer to Africa than Europe, and Rhodes, sitting off the coast of Turkey. To avoid UK residents, consider less famous but equally beautiful islands like Syros in the Cyclades, or the wild interior.
The weather is sensational in the spring and summer, a little on the wet side in the autumn and surprisingly chilly in winter. But Greece basks in roughly twice the sunshine per year of the UK.
Greece has low tax schemes for retirees and a golden visa scheme for property investors.
Move away from the Algarve, which only covers the most southern 50 kilometres, to get away from the favourite places for UK residents.
The cities of Lisbon and Porto are also expat hubs, but they’re attracting a high-tech elite from all over the world, not just Britain.
Smaller cities like Braga or Guimaraes are close enough to Porto airport but with more of a traditional flavour. Close too, to Portugal’s Peneda-Geres National Park or the fabulous Atlantic beaches
As for the legalities, it couldn’t be easier. There are both temporary and permanent visas for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, allowing you to stay in the country for 12 months or longer. There are also “golden visas” for those buying a property over €500,000.
Just remember though, when you agree a price of €500,000 for a property in euros, if by the time you come to pay the pound has weakened by as little as two per cent, so you’ll need to find an extra £10,000 in sterling.
As one of the most popular countries in the world for expats, Singapore has developed into a truly multicultural society, with four official languages including English.
While there is a longstanding connection with the UK, people come to Singapore from all over the world. After all, it was named by one major survey as the best place to be an expat in the world.
There is little crime as well as no litter. It has low taxation and a can-do business environment, which has led to some of the world’s highest incomes. It’s also the ideal connection between East and West.
Singapore can be hot and humid, averaging 25-30C all year.
Among the most popular areas to move to are Tiong Bahru, popular for its artsy shops and hip cafes, and Holland Village, popular with families. Tanjong Pagar is more traditionally Singaporean but is also close to the central business district.
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The UK has extensive links to Sweden, and some 30,000 Britons reside in the country, but to avoid the expat population stay away from the more cosmopolitan areas of Stockholm.
Most Swedes speak some English but you will have more chance finding a job if you can speak a little Swedish.
Post-Brexit, unless prospective residents possess dual nationality with an Irish or other EU passport, they will need a work permit. Towards the top of the government’s skills shortage list are construction jobs such as architects, engineers and building workers.