LONDON - Fed up of the recession and bad weather, large numbers of Britons are moving out to the Middle East and other sunnier regions abroad to find jobs and even settle down, a newspaper said.
With the jobless rate at a 12-year high of 7.2 percent, tens of thousands of Brits are preparing to follow the masses of Aussies and Kiwis going home to economies which have avoided recession, The Guardian reported.
The new outward migration bucks the trend of Britons preferring to stay put at home during uncertain economic times and emigrating in the good years.
More than 165,000 Britons had emigrated last year by September, according to official figures.
Among global jobs hotspots are Adelaide (South Australia), Alberta (Canada), the United Arab Emirates and Hamilton (New Zealand).
A 34-year-old British charity worker recently beat 34,000 applicants to bag what was dubbed the best job in the world - the caretaker of a tropical Australian island with a pay packet of $110,000.
But, the paper said Saturday, only the elite among Britain’s 2.26 million were likely to find jobs abroad, with many countries having put in strict points-based skills-matching criteria for allowing foreigners in.
Quality of life was more important than money for many migrants, the paper said, and many have no intention of returning to Britain.
The paper said Emigration Group, a Britain-based company that manages visa applications for would-be migrants, has reported a surge in enquiries.
“More people are having serious concerns about the future of this country,” Group director Paul Arthur said.
He said applicants increasingly are young, middle-class professionals who cite high taxes, poor weather and poor services as reasons for emigrating.
Older Britons, meanwhile, are seeking to ride out the recession by taking time out to study in Australia and New Zealand for courses that can cost up to 8,000 pounds a year.
The number of Britons who became permanent residents in Canada, which has a list of 38 priority occupations - including auditors and cooks - rose from 5,199 in 2003 to 8,128 in 2007.
The tax-free states of the United Arab Emirates are an even bigger draw.
“There has been a demographic shift. Before it was probably all about the money and the tax but now people are taking a longer-term view,” Matthew Lewis, the Dubai managing director of headhunters Correlate Search, told The Guardian.
“They have a 10-year outlook rather than a two-year one, and come with their minds made up not to return to the UK. The attitude has changed from one of making a quick buck to one which values a fresh and better lifestyle overseas. It’s a ‘what is there to go back to?’ mentality.”
“Remember, Dubai is a country that is trying to achieve a 100-year revolution in 10 years or so. Once it rides out this downturn, it’s going to come back very strongly,” he added.
However, the Institute for Public Policy Research, in a yet-to-be-published report says that advances in remote working means a growing number of Britons are having their cake and eating it - by emigrating and retaining their jobs back in Britain.