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Becoming an Expat

Reasons for leaving UK

Here's a forum to talk about all the ins and outs of leaving the UK and launching yourself into the wide blue yonder - selling up, saying goodbyes, all that sort of thing. NB - this is NOT for country-specific issues; please post those on the appropriate country forum.

Postby Buddyboy » Thu 11 Jan 2007 22:40 GMT

Hey Jester. I must keep an eye on the Canada boards, for sure.

Ann T, I have no disagreement with your observations. There are many wonderful people no matter where you are in the world and the U.K. is absolutely no exception. However, my observations are very much of the rule rather than the exception. You really have to experience the contrast between the aloofness, the distance, of strangers in England and the pleasantness, smiles, courtesy and, at the very least, direct eye contact that I am used to here in Canada. Believe me, it's a stark contrast. I found the hardest thing to do in my visits to England was, with rare exception, to walk by people on a sidewalk without them returning a nod, a smile or saying hi. They just walk by, heads down, oblivious to anyone they don't recognize. Locals don't even know it's an issue; me, it hits in the face.

I told my wife I had left my note on this site. She asked if I had mentioned the many filthy trains now running in England. In our travels there the train windows were so dirty they were hard to see out of. The seats sent up puffs of dust when you sat on them once leaving dirt marks on her pants. Her comment brought to mind my many experiences on London buses. My father was a London bus driver for many, many years. It was a great service, well run and a source of justifiable pride. The service has now degenerated into a slew of separate companies seemingly run in a way only governed by regulations and the bottom line. I was saddened to see elderly people climbing aboard and making their way to their seats with great difficulty due to their advanced years. Often times, and I mean often, the bus driver just hit the gas as soon as they were aboard, obviously trying to adhere to an unreasonable timetable, to get to the next stop as fast as possible causing the old folks to struggle to get down the aisle, hanging on for dear life. More than once I told the driver he was thoughtless in doing such a thing. It would not happen where we live. Here the passengers would all have admonished the driver. If it were to happen here commonly as it obviously does in England, the media here would get on the band wagon and help put a stop to it. That's just an example of a different way of life, a more caring way that seems so long lost on the British that they now don't even know it's gone.

I mentioned restaurants in my earlier post. When visiting England I regularly picked up the condiments on tables to find them dirty and sticky. The tables were almost always wiped but cleanliness was perfunctory. The effort never seemed to extend to the salt and pepper shakers or the vinegar bottle. The English don't seem to notice. I cringe to think what North American visitors to Blighty in particular must think when they are used to sparkling cleanliness in the places they eat back home. Yes, there are many clean and great places to eat in England; I am describing what I found to be the general rule though.

For many years, goods could be bought abroad far more cheaply than they could be at home in Britain. Thanks to increased travel, cheaper communications and the magic of the internet, greater awareness of this fact has caused British prices to become more competitive. Cars now cost only half as much again as they do here. Petrol is now only a little more than double what we pay. Telephone rates are much cheaper than they used to be, but no sign yet of free local calls and the dirt cheap long distance rates that we have here. The cost of British housing seems to be going in the other direction, climbing to heights that any sane person would not want to undertake when there is any reasonable alternative.

Which brings me to why so many Brits are leaving for better lives abroad. The increased awareness of all this is causing so many to ask why they should endure their present circumstances when there is much better to be had elsewhere. I believe I recently read that about two million British residents are moving abroad each year, replaced by about three million immigrants. The loss of so many established achievers to foreign countries must be a source of great concern to those left behind. My wife and my own families thought we were crazy when we up and left for Canada back in '75. Now those same people tell us we did the right thing, in fact many of them have permanently up and moved to places like France, Spain, and Portugal.

One final observation. I don't know how difficult it is to emigrate to countries abroad other than Canada. To get into Canada immigrants have to surpass a threshold in a points system that, unless sponsored by close relatives, seems to exclude all but the very skilled or the very rich. If other countries are similar, then those moving out of Britain must consist of a great proportion of people in those categories, an even greater loss then the simple numbers suggest.
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Postby AnnT » Fri 12 Jan 2007 05:11 GMT

Very instructive Buddyboy and I cannot argue with youabout Canada, I have never been. You see, in '98 we didn't see any of the things you have mentioned and I realise that 8 years is a long time...but we were not watching with rose glasses either. We had heard so many stories about our homes decline and some parts were very grotty. The trains were clean, so were the condiments, people were friendly and we counted more white people on the paltforms and buses (driving them) than black.
They must have gone to Spain all that week?
Poor old England, if she is in such a state, funny htingis your post has made me wish even more that we hadn't come in '69, perhaps we could have made a difference. Still, at least we didn't leave a sinking ship either.
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Postby justajester » Fri 12 Jan 2007 18:22 GMT

I cringe to think what North American visitors to Blighty in particular must think when they are used to sparkling cleanliness in the places they eat back home. Yes, there are many clean and great places to eat in England; I am describing what I found to be the general rule though.

As one who is not a native of the UK, it would be inappropriate for me to initiate a comment. However, as one who lived in the UK for over a year (in the early 80s) I must say I agree, Buddyboy.

However, I am generally known amoungst my friends as "the bleach queen" for my habit of constantly disinfecting things :oops: so maybe it is just me...cranky old woman, that I am.
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Postby GrandMagus » Sat 23 Jun 2007 01:34 GMT

As a young man (20) i have had the good fortune to have lived in Japan for a brief period, and now back in the UK i am planning to move out there permanently as soon as possible. 90% of my reasons for leaving the UK are push factors. I see no future for myself and my brother in a country that places immense pressures, problems, barriers and responsibilities on its younger generations.
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Reasons for leaving UK

Postby louiseb » Sun 16 Mar 2008 23:23 GMT

Hi there
My husband and i really want to get out of the UK as soon as we can, we hate it here! We are both 34 and have 3 children aged 13yrs, 9 yrs and 5 months. I am a qualified nurse and my husband is a self-employed plasterer and we feel that our quality of life here in UK is very poor. Our main reasons for leaving are:
* Immigrants invading this country and having handouts of benefits, houses and whatever else they request at the expense of us taxpayers.
* Rubbish weather.
* High cost of living, extortionate taxation on everything and anything the government can tax us for.
* Rat-race-no time for socialising and chilling out really, just work, work, work to pay the bills and just about get by.
* Lack of patriotism here in UK - nobody anymore is proud to be british really, the country is going downhill fast! The views of the british people count for absolutely nothing, therefore people are fed up of the country and want to flee it!
* If you are a hard-working, honest, respectful taxpayer, you are treated the worst here, if you are a criminal or a foreigner, you get treated with respect because of your "human rights"-its political correctness gone mad!
* Our government looks after the thugs, scumbags, criminals and foreigners yet treats victims of crime with little compassion
* No proper punishment or deterrents for criminals, that is why yobbo's continue to commit crimes-they can and do get away with it!
* Crime is on the increase - very common now to hear of stabbings & shootings fairly local to where we live, very scary!
We are fearful for our children having to grow up in this environment. We want to be somewhere peaceful, pleasant environment, nice people, respect for each other, good quality of life not just living to work etc. We wont get any of this here in the UK. It is sad to say but very true, we are ashamed to say we're british. We are out of here asap!
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Reasons for leaving uk

Postby Mrs A » Thu 17 Apr 2008 10:20 GMT

Having read your post and having 5 small children I have to say that I agree with you! Life is not like it was 10 or 20 years ago its all got a bit scary. It worries me how hard life will be for our children in 10 or so years time!! My friends are of the opinion that all willbe ok if they move to Devon or Cornwall but I think thats even worse really! Its all lovely while the children are young but having a teenager in that sort of location is worse as they are bored as there is nothing for them to do and finding a job when they have left school is really hard going and they end up coming back to the city that you left! We want to get out but are finding the process long and hard going- we are determined to stick with it though! I'll close the door and turn out the light as we go!! :)
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