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  1. #1
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    Brit expats all heading home !

    Expats' exodus as Brits give up on la dolce vita

    For many, the weak pound, rising costs and a scarcity of work have soured the dream of a better life in Europe
    By Alasdair Fotheringham

    Sunday, 14 February 2010


    STEPHEN SHEPHERD
    Steve Farrand, a writer who has reluctantly returned to Britain after 19 years of living in Italy


    On Monday evening, after 19 years in Italy, the British writer Steve Farrand walked out of his flat in the city of Livorno, Tuscany, for the last time. Having spent one final night on Italian soil in a local hotel, Farrand then headed for Pisa airport: destination Stansted, and a permanent return to the UK.
    It had been nearly two decades since Farrand drove the 1,200 miles from Oldham to Livorno in a battered Volkswagen Golf, fell in love with Italy, and decided to try to carve out a life there. But while his writing for UK publications provided a fairly steady income, the combination of a weak pound, the recession and the rising cost of living made his Italian life increasingly precarious. When the offer of a job in Bath came up last month, he took it.
    Farrand is far from alone in ending his expat dream. According to research by the UK foreign exchange specialists Moneycorp, 70 per cent of Brits living in mainland Europe are now thinking of moving back. The biggest factor is the drop in sterling's value against the euro, by roughly 30 per cent over the past three years. Compare that with 2006, when it was estimated that more than 200,000 Britons emigrated


    For long-haul removal companies, business is flourishing in one direction at least. "Since the start of last year, we've had an increase of nearly 50 per cent in people coming back to the UK," said Vince Robinson of removalstofrance.com, a Kent company specialising in European destinations. "Some of the smaller UK removal companies are struggling to get enough vehicles out there to cope with the demand because there's not so much of an outbound market."
    Mr Robinson dates the start of the "comeback boom" to early 2009. "An awful lot of people began saying the cost of living had increased in Europe. It's been mainly retired couples [one in five of all British expats worldwide], who've seen the value of their pensions fall by over 30 per cent because of the exchange rate... And if people still want to go to Italy, they are buying much further south where it's a lot cheaper."
    The recession has left some Brits trapped abroad because their foreign property has lost value at the same time as their British savings have become worth less abroad. "Some people have been hit badly from both sides," says John Goldie of Moneycorp. "On one hand, their pensions have dropped because of the exchange rate, and, on the other, they've sold their UK properties."
    Although Germany is the European country that expats are apparently keenest to return from, Mr Goldie believes the considerable presence there of British armed forces around 50,000 may have distorted the figures. He thinks Spain, second on Moneycorp's survey, is the country that has the most expats thinking about packing up.
    On the ground, Mr Goldie's impression is easily confirmed. "Everybody's feeling the pinch," says Silvia, who moved with her husband, Ken, to southern Spain in 2002. "It's the young British couples with children who've had it worst the ones who sold their businesses and properties in the UK, burned their boats, and now can't get work out here. They're living hand to mouth."
    Many expats, Silvia says, supplemented their British income with local work. But as the Spanish economy is suffering its worst recession in decades, some parts of the unofficial job market available to Britons have shuddered to a halt. "All the odd jobs, the plastering and teaching private English classes, which used to bring in a few euros here and there, that's all drying up. We're scraping along, but if this situation continues, we'll have to make some serious recalculations."
    Mick is a former Anfield taxi driver whose El Rebujito bar in the Spanish village of Fuente de Piedra caters largely as his weekly curry and quiz nights suggest for the 300-strong British community. "Older people on pensions are suffering so much," he says. "That third of the money they've lost, that's their going-out money. Just in Fuente de Piedra next month three couples are going back; one for health reasons, another because they can't get a job. It's something people are talking about all the time." Trade, he says, has been affected by the exchange rate, "particularly in the last two summers, and bills keep going up. It's hitting everybody really hard. Having no money puts a strain on relationships, too that's why one couple I know are leaving for the UK".
    In nearby Mollina, which has two huge, largely British-owned mobile home colonies, Mick claims "things are even worse; quite a few people are going back. If you're just keeping your head above water, you're doing well."
    In Spain, 85 per cent of British expats say the weak pound has hit them financially, according to Moneycorp's survey. In Germany, it is 67 per cent, in Italy, 66 per cent. Small wonder, then, that in Spain the only G20 nation to remain in recession, according to the International Monetary Fund where an estimated one million Britons have permanent or semi-permanent residence, 37 per cent of expats are reported to be contemplating a one-way ticket back.
    As for Italy, where up to a third of expats are now said to be thinking of a return, some Brits' financial woes stretch back further. "Life suddenly got a lot more expensive with the introduction of the euro [in 2002]," Steve Farrand says. "There weren't any real checks on the prices when they swapped them over from the lira. Since then it's got worse. And on top of that, with the economic recession, it's been tougher finding work."
    Any kind of mass return or economic doom and gloom, though, is by no means Europe-wide. In the Dordogne, France's most British region, business owners are adamant that the English-speaking community continues to flourish. "It's true that six years ago, when I moved here, just to talk to an estate agent you had to make an appointment there was so much demand from Brits, and that's no longer the case," says Tony Martin, who runs Aquitaine Computers in Eymet, a tiny Dordogne village where almost a third of the population is British.
    "The differences are minor. Estate agents tell me the middle-priced properties are not selling as well as before, while renting's becoming more popular; and some people want to move on from the Dordogne to different parts of France which are cheaper. However, the lifestyle out here is still too good, compared with the UK, for most Brits to want to return."
    "Yes, there is a problem, and some people have panicked," says Marzi Fiske, who moved to Brittany with her husband, Tony, in June 2007. "But in our part of Brittany, at least, there's no major rush back; we have a wide circle of British friends and we know of just three couples who are returning."
    Returning, of course, is as drastic a decision as leaving in the first place, and remains very much a last resort. According to one recent survey by a British website specialising in life in France, frenchentree.com, 9 per cent of Brits who were living in France in 2009 returned although five times that number said they had said goodbye to family or friends returning, or knew somebody who had gone back.
    The return voyage, if made, is not easy. For Farrand, "it's a massive, massive end to it all so big I couldn't face staying with friends my last night in Italy and opted for a hotel instead". Others are more phlegmatic. Jan Shepherd, who left Spain in 2007 after a year without work, says she "ended up seeing it as an extended holiday".
    In her case, perhaps it was. Neither she nor her husband, Roger, spoke Spanish and their decision to live in an isolated inland village while looking for an advertising job or bar work proved more complicated than they had expected. Within 12 months they were back in Britain, perhaps wondering why they had left in the first place. Should current trends continue, they will not be the last "ex-expats" to do so.


    Expats' exodus as Brits give up on la dolce vita - Europe, World - The Independent
    i'd rather have a phlebotomy than a full frontal lobotomy

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    How many are leaving Thailand?

  3. #3
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    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.
    Uh...Lady Thatcher closed the mines a while back...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.
    Uh...Lady Thatcher closed the mines a while back...
    Coals becoming economical once again we've still got plenty easy enough to open up a hole in the ground again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.
    Unfortunately there also still appears to be plenty of opportunities for a new generation of parasites to take advantage of the governments unceasing ability to ensure that having a load of rug rats and doing naff all pays more than a lot of the jobs on offer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by graym View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.
    Unfortunately there also still appears to be plenty of opportunities for a new generation of parasites to take advantage of the governments unceasing ability to ensure that having a load of rug rats and doing naff all pays more than a lot of the jobs on offer.
    Don't be fooled by all that bollox you read in The Sun

  8. #8
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    Depends on what paper you choose to read though doesn't it.
    Treat the UK like all the immigrants and you won't go far wrong, work hard, save your money, mind your own business, enjoy the good things and look forward to a life outside the UK in the future.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsRobsLife View Post
    Treat the UK like all the immigrants and you won't go far wrong, work hard, save your money, mind your own business, enjoy the good things and look forward to a life outside the UK in the future.
    That's what i do.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by graym View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.
    Unfortunately there also still appears to be plenty of opportunities for a new generation of parasites to take advantage of the governments unceasing ability to ensure that having a load of rug rats and doing naff all pays more than a lot of the jobs on offer.
    Don't be fooled by all that bollox you read in The Sun
    I'm from Woolwich Dave, I don't need to read it in the Sun...
    de gustibus non est disputandum

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsRobsLife
    Treat the UK like all the immigrants and you won't go far wrong, work hard, save your money, mind your own business, enjoy the good things and look forward to a life outside the UK in the future.
    A good friend of mine worked in and out of Asia for a good part of his later life, and was planning on retiring in Thailand.

    He was a company man, made a small fortune, and was due a massive package from the company as he worked there all his life.

    He never made it. Died just weeks before his dream came true.

    RIP Archie.

  12. #12
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    Me to North Woolwich plenty of people doing well around theses parts. There's a Rockmount estate in every town mate don't tar everyone with the same brush.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by graym View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.
    Unfortunately there also still appears to be plenty of opportunities for a new generation of parasites to take advantage of the governments unceasing ability to ensure that having a load of rug rats and doing naff all pays more than a lot of the jobs on offer.
    Have to agree with both of these. A bloke I used to
    work with got caught doing something naughty, lost his jo, did. 6 months, got out now has 5 kids, doesn't work has 2 council houses knocked together and is takng the family on holiday to Greece as he gets more money than he would if he worked.
    Its a pisstake when you work every day yet someone who
    doesn't can afford the time and cash to take his whole family abroad
    Last edited by melvbot; 18-02-2010 at 01:42 AM.
    The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

  14. #14
    Banned Muadib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beadle View Post
    A good friend of mine worked in and out of Asia for a good part of his later life, and was planning on retiring in Thailand.

    He was a company man, made a small fortune, and was due a massive package from the company as he worked there all his life.

    He never made it. Died just weeks before his dream came true.

    RIP Archie.
    Valid point... I have a friend who went through something similar, although he didn't die... He had a massive stroke and is more a less a veg today living in managed care... Worth millions when it happened, but never took time to enjoy the fruits of his labor...

    How much is enough??? No matter how much you have, you can't take it with you... Work smart and save, then retire early while you can still enjoy your health and appreciate the good parts of the world around you...

    RIP to you friend...
    Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  15. #15
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muadib View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Beadle View Post
    A good friend of mine worked in and out of Asia for a good part of his later life, and was planning on retiring in Thailand.

    He was a company man, made a small fortune, and was due a massive package from the company as he worked there all his life.

    He never made it. Died just weeks before his dream came true.

    RIP Archie.
    Valid point... I have a friend who went through something similar, although he didn't die... He had a massive stroke and is more a less a veg today living in managed care... Worth millions when it happened, but never took time to enjoy the fruits of his labor...

    How much is enough??? No matter how much you have, you can't take it with you... Work smart and save, then retire early while you can still enjoy your health and appreciate the good parts of the world around you...

    RIP to you friend...
    Spot-on.

    We don't know how long we've got.

    If you want to do something, try to do it sooner than later (within reason).

    So many people I know that I grew up with in the West "live for the future."

    Planning ahead is important. But so is, balance.
    ............

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by melvbot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by graym View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by daveboy View Post
    Makes sense the Uk's still got plenty of oppotunities for the hard working.
    Unfortunately there also still appears to be plenty of opportunities for a new generation of parasites to take advantage of the governments unceasing ability to ensure that having a load of rug rats and doing naff all pays more than a lot of the jobs on offer.
    Have to agree with both of these. A bloke I used to
    work with got caught doing something naughty, lost his jo, did. 6 months, got out now has 5 kids, doesn't work has 2 council houses knocked together and is takng the family on holiday to Greece as he gets more money than he would if he worked.
    Its a pisstake when you work every day yet someone who
    doesn't can afford the time and cash to take his whole family abroad
    With you 100%
    Betty Winsors' pension to us mortals who have paid into the NHS and the pension fund for 40+years are now second class citizens !

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee View Post
    How many are leaving Thailand?
    ....not enough?

  18. #18
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    It is better to have sufficient wealth to survive than to make riches, only to be wealthy in the graveyard.
    6 heart attacks I am staying put

  19. #19
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    another example of the EURO foolishness,

    Spain and Italy currencies would have adjusted to the new equilibrium since

  20. #20
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee
    How many are leaving Thailand?
    Many it seems. Have a couple of Thai friends who own luxury apartments catering to expats. Both say many expats have been recalled to their home countries by employers. High expat costs and poor global economy the reason. Occupancy of apartments is down from near 100% to 50%.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    another example of the EURO foolishness,

    Spain and Italy currencies would have adjusted to the new equilibrium since
    Isn't Italy a member of the G-8 {G-20}?

  22. #22
    Member Cenovis's Avatar
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    Looking forward to have Soi Buakaow to myself then. Blackpool however will be crowded as hell

  23. #23
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    hard to reduce your living expenses in europe, much easier to go native and downgrade ones lifestyle here in thailand.

    cant see so many leaving.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee View Post
    How many are leaving Thailand?
    ....not enough?
    Ouch


  25. #25
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    There are good and bad sides to both Thailand and UK. Ideally I would like 6 months in both each year when I retire to keep me from getting bored. UK is not so bad in the summer months but hell through the winters.

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