Financial planning / News / Tax

British expats still choose Europe for work, life and retirement

The majority of British expats would still choose Europe as their preferred destination according to a recent poll of our clients. Peter Webb, our Head of Tax Advisory, explores the appeal of Europe, and other factors which are important when planning to live, work or retire in an overseas location.

Europe has long been the destination of choice for British expats. The proximity to the UK coupled with good healthcare, warmer climates and an attractive cost of living have always created an appeal. And in the wake of the last 18 months this combination is prompting Britons to even consider residence and citizenship by investment programme options in EU member states too.

Covid has of course fundamentally shifted the global landscape. With people literally grounded for many months, there’s been more than enough time to take stock and consider what the long-term plans in terms of work and home look like. As part of this evaluation many people have had the opportunity to look globally at how different countries responded to the pandemic, and, importantly, how healthcare systems held up both in terms of dealing with the crisis, and in the roll out of vaccines. Remote working has also created much more flexibility for those happy to leave developed, heavily populated regions for a quieter location with better quality of living.

Our recent event with Henley & Partners enabled us to explore some of the thoughts and attitudes of our globally mobile clients, with regards to their preferred choices to live, work and retire.

Notably for many British expats there is now the option of a much more global perspective, with residence and citizenship programmes offering a range of locations from which to be based. Employing this approach can mean that people, their families and their assets ‘live’ in different places, offering a much more fluid and globally mobile lifestyle and the associated benefits such as access to education, freedom to travel and increased rights and privacy status. Investment plays its part here allowing expats to gain citizenship or residence rights by investing or buying property in their chosen country.

After asking over 200 of our clients about their ideal destination to retire or settle in, our webinar poll showed that more than half would opt for a European location. Certainly, the most popular results for Henley & Partners’ British clients, since the end of the Brexit transition period, include Portugal, Spain and Greece. Outside of Europe both Asia and some Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes are in high demand too. Those polled also confirmed that the most significant issue in determining their long-term plans was tax, with healthcare considerations also high on the list.

If you are considering a move overseas, then there are some important tax considerations. Don’t forget to research any taxes you’ll face in your overseas destination, your ongoing liability to UK tax, how your residence status affects things and whether there are friendly tax agreements between the UK and the country in which you’re living. You should also think through the impact on any UK property you own.

Important too is your investment strategy, which needs to take account of any tax implications in your overseas destination. Taking action to reduce Inheritance Tax should also be high on the agenda.

If you are considering an overseas move, and want to discuss your tax and financial position, or explore the residence and citizenship options open to you, please contact your nearest office.