With globalisation, mobility is made so much easier, and many people and companies are exploring the option of working abroad or sending staff overseas.
The United Kingdom is a popular country to work and live in. With a great connectivity to the rest of the world and a high quality of life, it is no surprise that expatriates are a fan of working in the UK.
In 2020, HSBC’s expat survey listed London as second in the world when it comes to job opportunities, something that 49 per cent of the responding expatriates agree with.
What is an Expat?
An expatriate, or expat, is an individual living and working in a country other that his or her country of citizenship. It is usually a temporary arrangement, and usually for work reasons.
According to Dr Yvonne McNulty, an expat researcher and senior lecturer at the school of human development and social science at SIM University in Singapore, an expat refers to a legally working individual who resides temporarily in a country of which they are not a citizen, in order to accomplish a career-related goal.
Since expats in the UK are from all the corners of the world, they will definitely have different behaviours from the British. It is thus important to understand their behaviour before being able to reach out and engage them successfully.
Behaviours of Expats in the UK
Understanding expat behaviours will allow businesses to better target expats. Let’s find out what some of these behaviours are.
Housing is one of the most important considerations when moving to a new country.
There are no legal restrictions on expats buying property in the UK, and both foreigners and non-residents can get a mortgage.
However, those with less than two years of residency in the UK may face more stringent requirements and a bigger deposit.
While many British own a home, renting in the UK may be a better choice for expats intending to stay only a few years.
Renting also allows newcomers to get a feel for different neighborhoods and be in a position to put a quick offer. As of April 2021, the average rental per month for housing was estimated to be about £996.
For expatriate families, education for their children is always the top priority. Parents of expat children may apply for a place in a private school even if they’re not living in London yet. Private Schools include both Public & Independent School. The term “Public schools” are perceived as the most exclusive and prestigious Private schools in the UK, as well-known examples include Eton College, Harrow School and Wellington College.
Apart from public schools, the other two forms of fee-paying schools in the UK include Private schools and independent schools.On the contrary, government-funded schools are labelled as state schools, as most provide education free of charge.
International schools are the most popular choice amongst the expat community, their children are allowed to resume studying the same syllabus from back home. This really accommodates for expat families who are not down for a long-term stay and ensures a seamless transition for their children’s education. The current international schools in the UK encompass the American, French, Japanese, Canadian and Australian national curricula.
Of course, leisure also plays a large part in the lives expats in the UK. However, leisure activities differ based cities. For example, Manchester has a better food scene than London, and expats there associate the city with great restaurants and high quality food. On the other hand, Iconic landmarks such as Big Ben and the London Eye are also a hit with expats living in London.
Channels used by expats in UK
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are widely popular amongst expats. Since expats are generally far away from their family and friends back home, these platforms provide them with an avenue to stay updated and in touch with those in their home countries.
Learning about the experiences of others in the same shoes as you is a great way to get acquainted with life in a new country. Blogs are a popular way to get such information.
There are also many expats who have started their own blogs and channels to share information with those who want to know about what life is like as an expat in UK.
For example, The Navigatio Blog follows the journey of Nele, a Dutch 22 year old who moved to the UK.
Expat-focused media sites and magazines such as The Finder provide subscribers and readers with crucial information about UK to help them navigate life in UK easily as an expat.
There are many forums offering a range of services to help expatriates, navigate the issues they encounter when moving to a new country. One such example is InterNations.
For those who wish to make new friends, citysocializer is a platform that enables expats for meet new people.
Expat Communities in the UK
At first glance, the British like to keep to themselves, but the moment one enters the pub, everything changes. Pubs are some of the best places to engage in social interactions in the UK, and many expats can be found at bars and pubs.
Since most expats move to the UK for work, the workplace is also a good option to when trying to build a community there.
Marketing to Expats in the UK
Companies might make the mistake of targeting expats as a singular group. However, they can be extremely diverse. For example, they can be young professionals, middle-aged senior executives, or pensioners.
As an expatriate service provider, it is important for the company to recognise its specific target group and adapt advertising campaigns accordingly.
Social media is a key way to market to expats, especially in the time of the pandemic where more people are online for longer periods of time.
It is also important to produce content that is informational and will bring value to expats. Sharing insights, tips, experiences, and examples on how to better adapt to the UK is one great way to connect with the expat community.
Furthermore, as more people are spending more time online, informational and entertaining content is more likely to pique their interest.
It is also important to adequately understand the native language of the expat target group your company is trying to engage. Not all expats are native English speakers, and it might be worthwhile to tweak campaigns to suit this need.
Lastly, one of the key priorities of expats is looking for a group of like-minded individuals. Thus, companies can consider hosting virtual or physical events to bring these people together, while at the same time marketing a product or service.
Expat communities differ throughout the UK, and it is important to correctly identify your target audience. Once the right expat community is identifies, companies can then create more efficient and effective marketing campaigns.
With growing opportunities in the expat market, enhancing customer experience and understanding the customer is more important than ever.
Moovaz is an end-to-end relocation platform that serves expats around the world. Partner with Moovaz today to promote your business to the expat community.