Why are Expats Returning Home?

Imy Clarke - On behalf of Alchemy Recruitment, May 14, 2015

For expats, the shock of coming home can be quite significant with some often regretting the decision. Yet, they still return to their home countries, all for many different reasons.

There are the obvious reasons for a return: family, friends, visa expiration, education systems or even another career advancement. But this isn’t all there is to it. Some find the language differences or the culture too much to deal with. In middle Eastern countries in particular, women hold far fewer rights and privileges than men, for example being able to drive. While this may be bearable in the short term, for many, in the long term, it’s too difficult. For some homesickness doesn’t get any easier.

For many the economy plays a crucial role. A sudden dip in currency values can make expatriate life seem much less than paradise. The 2008 Credit Crunch left many UK expats ready to return home, especially once their properties decreased significantly in value. For those that lost their jobs, they were forced to sell their homes at a significant loss and some even had homes repossessed. This is less of an issue for those who have retired abroad however.

Countries showing the highest rates of expat returns are countries such as South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. The immediate observation here is the distance from the UK; for many expats being so many expensive hours of travel away from their family and friends at home is too much. For many natives of these countries, their move home was more focused on “ditching economic doom and gloom in Europe for better job opportunities back home.” Yet with the UK economy improving, it’s possible we could see many of these expats returning once more.

Whatever way you analyze repatriation, it tends to fall into two categories: money and personal connections. Both of these place significant limitations on expatriates and often govern when they return home, if ever.

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