Drunks, sarcasm and the rain: why expats hate Britain


tourist in the snow

A survey of expats living in Britain has identified the worst things about living in this country. The weather has topped the list, with 38% of people saying it's the most miserable thing about the UK.

A large minority of expats concluded that they weren't huge fans of Britain and the British, so should we be worried?


The survey, conducted by GlobalVisas.com, was fairly damning of the British. Overall 68% said they liked living in the country, but most of them found fault - and a third said they hated living here.

After the weather, the drinking culture was the next biggest bugbear - disliked by half of expats. This was followed by sarcasm - listed by almost a third. Meanwhile a fifth said they hated British food.

Liam Clifford, from GlobalVisas.com said: "The majority of nationalities have stereotypes fitted around them and Brits don't escape this. With our imperialist past, Brits have influenced many countries worldwide, which means our stereotypes are, if anything, more entrenched than those of other countries. People probably come here with a stereotype-based preconception of what to expect."

So should we be worried?

Research points overwhelmingly to the fact that immigrants contribute an enormous amount to the UK economy. The OECD has concluded that overall, immigrants tend to contribute to the country they move to, adding roughly 0.5% to the GDP. In the UK this trend is even more marked, with immigrants adding 1.02% to GDP: that's around £16.3 billion.

The question is whether the most skilled and mobile migrants will stay in the UK, continuing to make a significant contribution to the economy, if the UK isn't offering them the quality of life they expected.

The good news is that not every survey has Britain marked as a drizzly, sarcastic drunk tank. HSBC does one of the biggest pieces of research into expats. Its picture of the UK certainly has plenty of negatives. Most notably, a third of expats in the UK think the economy is heading in the wrong direction, and two thirds are dissatisfied with the state of the economy.

However, on the plus side, the country is ranked 18th out of 31 in terms of the best new homes for expats. Half said they made friends easily, 65% felt welcome at work, and half had found a life partner. In contrast to the other study, 65% said the UK was culturally interesting, and 58% said they enjoyed the local entertainment. This survey showed that 71% of expats intended to stay.

But what do you think? Is Britain welcoming, attractive, and full of opportunity, or are we doomed by our drinking and our drizzle?

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