While international relocations were slow and steady in 2021, a recent survey suggests that by February of 2022, we should begin to see an uptick in global relocations. Based on employee feedback, this is due to pent up demand. Motivation for moving to a new country remains largely driven by work and job opportunities. Top countries most favorable for relocation were cited as the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Japan, and Spain.
Reasons for continuing with a postponed planned move include: lifted travel restrictions or border openings; personal desire to proceed with the move; plans had changed; a delay was fixed (visa, other requirements met, etc.); and some had no choice but to move.
Based on the survey data, key factors that will influence the timing of a return to global mobility include:
COVID-19: Host country reaching herd immunity.
Vaccine passport: Agreement of a standardized passport and vaccination of children.
Shipping Costs: Costs of global shipping are extremely expensive and need to be reduced.
Container Freight Rates: Lowering of container rates which have more than quadrupled since the start of the pandemic.
Regional overviews from respondents:
Australia – The Aussie way of life is a huge plus for international moves. For those choosing to relocate to Australia, 47% of respondents would do so for a better lifestyle.
Hong Kong – Survey results showed an increased desire to move due to COCID-19 related issues. The most popular relocation destinations cited were United Kingdom (21.7%), Japan (15.6%), and Australia (14.2%).
South Africa – The pandemic was also cited as a reason to relocation. Almost fifty percent indicated they were in search of a better lifestyle and about twenty percent stated they wanted to experience a new culture.
United Kingdom – While the U.K. was the most popular global destination according to the survey, those who wanted to leave the U.K. focused on other countries with lots of sunshine and/or also spoke English.
United States – Those respondents from California and New York were happy to stay in their respective states.
Key points from the survey:
- Reasons to relocate vary across countries.
- Protocols for Covid-19 around the globe affect relocation, but the key consideration for moving remains the same worldwide: job opportunity.
- Some respondents are undeterred in moving abroad, but the pandemic created complacency for others.
- There is more than one reason that people are motivated to move abroad.
- The U.K. is the top relocation destination.
It’s clear that even though career opportunities are still driving an international relocation, remote work is becoming more common. What this means for global mobility remains to be seen. Physical offices are no longer a requirement for productivity. While companies can save money on office space, employees can work and pursue a lifestyle of their dreams.