Gallup poll indicates net gains and losses caused by voluntary expatriation

Gallup poll indicates net gains and losses caused by voluntary expatriation

Gallup poll indicates net gains and losses caused by voluntary expatriation

As emigration for work, leisure or retirement becomes ever more common across the world, which countries are the winners and which the losers?

In some ways, patterns of emigration resemble those of lemmings searching for a convenient cliff – with certain countries attractive to particular nationalities and disliked by others. For example, British expats are traditionally expected to turn up in Spain for a fast transition between working and retirement, and their more selective equivalents head off to New Zealand or Australia. American expats formed huge colonies in Mexico and Central America, perhaps because it was straightforward to get back to the home country should revolutions or an increase in drug wars threaten their new lives.

However, over the past several decades or so, indiscriminate expatriation became an exodus focused on expat professionals and their career ambitions, fuelled by the modernisation of the Arab States and their need for oil and gas experts. Huge salaries and luxurious lifestyles funded by perks became the norm, and it didn’t matter which emirate was the chosen destination as they were all pretty much the same. During this period, male expat retirees searching for younger, more subservient wives discovered Southeast Asia, colonising cites willing and able to provide safe sex, great weather and an economic lifestyle.

The new wave of expats now arriving just about anywhere in the world is driven by the takeover of tech as a motivation, with expat start-ups springing up in both likely and unlikely places. Who would have though that Communist China would welcome techies with open arms, or that almost unheard of European destinations such as Estonia would do the same? Of course, this mass migration is affecting the expat demographic as never before, begging the question of what might happen if all those with a wish to leave their home countries could arrive in a dream destination in which they actually wanted to live.

Becoming an expat is all about choice, but would countries suffering from an ageing demographic be overrun with millennials, or states suffering from skill shortages actually get the workers they need rather than finding the skilled professionals they’d valued had upped and left? King of the pollsters Gallup has attempted to answer these questions, gauging the outcome by marking potential gains and losses predicted by the potential net migration index. The aim was to identify countries whose leaders want to retain their skilled workers as against those which need to attract expat professionals in order to grow.

Gallup’s results confirm that, should every would-be expat end up where he or she wanted to be, world growth areas would concentrate on Europe, Australia, North America, Oceania and New Zealand, whilst the populations of all other world regions would decline. Developed countries, however small, would attract the highly educated whilst countries in, for example, Africa and Southeast Asia, would lose a huge majority of their talented young people, suffering economically as a result. The survey took place between 2015 and 2017, with some 450,000 millennial adults taking part either by phone or via an interview.

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