CS4 - Emigration from the UK
Is the UK still a country of emigration?

1. The case of re-emigration
• Students, the major trend
Student migrants accepted in prestigious Oxford or Cambridge universities and schools like the London School of Economics are a major contribution to the UK economy due to their spending (expensive tuitions fees & living expenses) Their number increased until 2010 with a rise in Asian students now nearly equal to EU students. Most of them go back to their country, only a minority apply for and get a work visa to stay in the UK
• The case of the A8 workers
Since 2004, A8 workers, especially from Poland, emigrated to the UK attracted by the economic growth, high employment and strong currency of a more developed country, creating the “Polish builder” scare (“invasion” by cheaper labour taking the jobs of honest British workers). However, the 2008 global financial crisis weakened UK economy while Polish economy and employment improved, so many Polish workers went back to Poland.

2. A long-established British tradition
- Until the middle of the 1980s British emigration outnumbered immigration to the UK. In a globalised world, Britain is consequently a major migration hub both attracting inflows and generating worldwide outflows of migrants
=> British expat communities form a worldwide diaspora located in the Commonwealth (Australia or India) or other former colonies such as the USA or Hong Kong (retroceded to emerging China in 1998).
British emigrants are mostly skilled workers dissatisfied with their work or quality of life looking for new challenges and seize the opportunity for a better standard of living and a new life abroad.

3. A new trend: amenity migration
• The democratisation of lifestyle migration
- More and more Britons are emigrating to France. At first, it involved affluent elites retiring on the continent but middle-class families progressively arrived, working mostly in rural areas.
- Democratization is boosted by hard facts : a better connectivity (Ryan Air effect), economic reasons (lower housing prices) and a better Welfare State. British lifestyle magazines and TV series also give an idyllic image of France focusing on natural assets (climate, landscape) and perceived cultural (gastronomy, French way of life) benefits, presenting an ideal high quality of life.
• Its impact in France
So integration tends to be difficult, especially when not speaking French (‘Everybody speaks English’). British expats concentrate in the same areas (the Dordogne) sometimes forming closed communities and many disappointed Britons re-emigrate to the UK. Those who stay revitalize small towns and villages boosting their population and economy.