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All Expat Migration Leads to the USA

Munich, 2 June 2016
The United States is the most common destination for expats around the world, beating Germany, the UK, and the UAE

Munich, 2. June 2016 — Data from more than 2.1 million members of InterNations (, the world’s largest network for expats, shows that in May 2016 the USA was the most frequent country of residence for people who live and work abroad. Apart from the United States, the most common destinations were Germany, the UAE, and the UK. While the main reason for moving to the USA was being sent there by an employer, according to the InterNations Expat Insider 2015 survey, an above-average number of expats who are currently residing in one of the other countries found a job on their own.

Countries That Send the Most Expats into the World

InterNations member data shows that those countries that send the most expats are spread far apart — with the USA, the UK, India, France and Germany leading the field. With about 149,000 persons or ten percent of all expats on InterNations, Americans make up the largest share of those who leave their home country. The UK and India follow up close with eight and six percent respectively. Both France and Germany each contribute another five percent of expats moving abroad.

Countries That Expats Head To

With 124,600 expats from the InterNations network now calling the USA their home, the destination also dominates as the primary country of residence. While the USA thus hosts eight percent of the expat population on InterNations, seven, six and another six percent have found a new home in Germany, the UAE, and the UK, respectively. About eight out of ten expats living in one of these countries consider themselves generally satisfied with their life abroad.

Britons Setting Off for New Adventures in the UAE

While English-speaking as well as South American InterNations members clearly prefer the USA as their new destination, the European nations are evenly split between the American and the European continent. For example, Belgians and Dutch expatriates tend to migrate to the USA, whereas Italian expats mostly move to the UK. Expats from the two Eastern European nations Poland and Romania, as well as Spanish nationals, prefer Germany. There is one exeption, though: British members of InterNations are the most likely to move to the UAE. Interestingly, the InterNations Expat Insider 2015 survey shows that apart from moving in order to pursue a new job opportunity (29 percent), moving for a better quality of life (29 percent) and looking for a personal challenge (27 percent) are the most common reasons for relocating among the British.

Dalia Gamali, a British national who has been living in Dubai for almost six years, confirms: “Having moved here from Singapore, Dubai turned out to be my personal dream destination: The proximity to the UK, the sunny weather, tax free salaries and the safe environment all lured me in.” Anna Hazlett, a Private Wealth Manager who is also located in Dubai adds: “It is a highly diverse and dynamic region with great career opportunities.”

Turkey: Host and Origin At Once

While Turkey has received a lot of public attention for becoming the main destination for refugees from Syria according to latest numbers from the United Nations, it is also a major consignor of expats: the international member base of InterNations included almost 30,000 Turkish nationals living abroad in May 2016, about two percent of the global community. The main motivation for Turkish citizens leaving their home country is to pursue an international career: 31 percent of Turkish respondents from the Expat Insider 2015 survey moved, among other reasons, because they found a job abroad on their own. Another 29 percent were sent abroad by their employer, which is considerably higher than the global average of 18 percent. The most popular country of residence for Turkish expats is the USA, with about seven percent of the Turkish InterNations members having moved to the States.

Expat Job Satisfaction Around the World

While 64 percent of the worldwide expat population are satisfied with their work and career abroad, expats in the United States and Germany are even more content with 68 percent and 69 percent, respectively. The UK and the UAE, on the other hand, are below the global average with 63 percent and 60 percent of respondents being satisfied with their professional life. These variations might be related to the business sectors residents work in: the top industry for expats in the USA is education, research, and translation, whereas Germany’s foreign workforce is mainly employed in IT and technology. In the UK, most expats work for financial or education services while every eighth expat in the UAE is employed in the construction sector, closely followed by retail and trade.

About InterNations

With more than 5.3 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations is the largest global community and a source of information for people who live and work abroad. InterNations offers global and local networking and socializing, both online and face to face. At around 6,000 events and activities per month, expatriates have the opportunity to meet other global minds. Online services include discussion forums and helpful articles with personal expat experiences, tips, and information about life abroad. Membership is by approval only to ensure we remain a community of trust. InterNations is part of the New Work SE, a group of brands that offer products and services for a better working life.

Find more information about InterNations on our press page or in our magazine.

Press Contact

InterNations GmbH
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80335 Munich, Germany
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