Nearly 5 million (4.6 million) British expats are now living and working abroad, helping to shape the communities they live in, according the fifth annual NatWest International Personal Banking (NatWest IPB) Quality of Life Index. Australia, Spain and the US are the top three most popular destinations for British expats. The global NatWest IPB Quality of Life report, in conjunction with the Centre of Future Studies, reveals that overall, 41 countries each have a British expat population of at least 10,000 and 112 countries have at least 1,000. British expats have become ‘unofficial expat ambassadors' shaping the global knowledge economy by promoting values to their host countries. Whether they are international civil servants, English language teachers, foreign correspondents of British newspapers, businessmen and businesswomen, English governesses, they all project an image of their Britishness around them. Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking, comments: "Either by design or accident, British expats are our ambassadors abroad and are playing a pivotal role in promoting values and best practices.
Their contribution to local economies and communities - either financially or socially - cannot be underestimated. "The common glue is the English language which has proved to be a vital tool and has played a leading role in the globalised world. It has provided a common platform for international drive; driven global collaboration and thinking; and opened the doors to opportunities around the world. The English language is an industrial tool now as basic as the screwdriver."
Better for business
The reputation of British business men and women is globally renowned. They are known for not only their expertise but also their ethical and transparent approach to conducting business. British expats are exerting their influence on how business is conducted and a significant proportion of British expats live and work in the world's top business centres. Technology and management consultancy jointly followed by manufacturing and financial services are the top three industries that British expats operate in.
Beijing and Shanghai are two of the top business centres in China which is home to over 38,000 British expats. Beijing is among five Asian cities that make the top business centre lists and a high concentration of mining, construction and agricultural companies.
In Beijing, British expats (approx. 19,000) are mainly employed in the information technology, telecommunication, education and finance sectors in researching, management and marketing positions. Shanghai is home to China's major financial institutions and mainland stock exchange, receiving significant capital inflows from Hong Kong. It is estimated that 400,000 expats live in Shanghai, of which approximately two per cent are British. (8,000).
Singapore is the highest ranked Asian city on the list. It has become a gateway for businesses and investors trying to access to world's fastest growing consumer markets in China.
Singapore has a population of 4.7 million of which about 24% are foreigners. (1 Million). Of these, it is estimated that 45,000 are British. British expats in the United Arab Emirates number approximately 100,000 (both permanent and temporary residents), and represent the largest western community. The main localities where British nationals are based include Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Dubai is the top business hub in the Middle East and African region. British expats working in the UAE are high-salary white-collar professionals.
New generations of expats are moving away from the ‘old Commonwealth' countries to new destinations and the buoyant economies in the East.
In the world of teaching and learning
There are now 74,264 teachers from the UK working in British international schools. That number is equal to almost 14% of teachers in UK state schools. It is predicted that by 2013 the number will have risen by a further 54% to nearly 115,000. In the last year alone, over 500 new English-speaking international schools were opened across the world, with most development happening in Dubai and elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates, in Qatar, Spain and in China, employing a total of 192,000 teachers. British education still has considerable cachet overseas. Many parents strongly believe that they are securing their children's future by sending them to a school that teaches in English. By 2013, Asia will have more than 1,600 British international schools.
Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking, comments: "There is a vast number of teachers living abroad, teaching and sharing the English language, passing an invaluable tool on to children across the globe. The increase in the number of English speaking international schools means that the skills offered and the role teachers play in the community will continue to be in demand. "The English language is a highly valued tool which is still held in high esteem by many parents across the globe. Our British teachers are continuing to spread the English language across the globe and, in doing so, are securing the future and opening doors for many." Even with the present worldwide economic decline, the 2009-2010 recruitment wave proved to be the largest demand on the British teaching market ever. The skills of British teachers are particularly highly prized throughout the international school system.