The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there was a decline in the numbers of Britons emigrating from the UK’s shores in 2007, compared to in 2006 when a record 400,000 of us decided to ship out and go in search of a new life abroad.

However, do these figures and findings tell us anything about what we can expect for the next few years?  Well no, we certainly don’t think so – and we’re not the only ones who believe that 2007 was perhaps the lull before the expat exodus storm!

New findings from 2 lots of independent insurers show that there is actually increased interest in the UK amongst certain age groups and individuals relating to living overseas.  So we thought we’d do a bit of an update on the numbers of Britons searching for a new life abroad.

As stated, the Office for National Statistics has released its findings about how many of us Brits escaped UK last year.  Apparently there was a 15% decline in the numbers of expats compared to 2006.  Many are jumping on this figure in the media today to create headlines from the findings.  For example, we have commentary on the fact that last year there were more immigrants than emigrants, we have comment suggesting that perhaps fewer of us will leave because of the recession.  But where does the actual truth lie?

Well, we’ll have to wait until this time next year to see of course!  But what we can tell you is that AXA, a global leader in financial protection, believes that in 2008 up to 500,000 more Britons may leave the UK permanently.  They base their findings on the numbers of enquiries they’re receiving at the moment from would-be expats.  Comparing the number of enquiries with the numbers from previous years and then looking at how many of those enquiries turned into actual stories of people expatriating has led them to suggest that yes, 2008 could be another record year for emigration.

A second insurer, RIAS, which specialises in insurance products for the over 50s, have also released their own survey findings and predictions.  According to RIAS up to 400,000 over 50s are seriously thinking about starting a brand new life abroad.  Apparently, the fact that the European Commission is predicting that the UK will be one of the hardest hit nations in the whole world by the global recession is making those approaching retirement actively contemplate escaping the doom and gloom by starting a new life abroad.

We can completely understand the way such pre and post retirees are thinking.  It’s all well and good for employed Britons to have to weather the storm and suffer the recession and stay in their jobs and mortgaged homes in the UK for the duration of these troubled times.  But if you’re about to start your retirement a) you want to be living somewhere where the general sentiment is more positive, b) the standard of living is not set to decline and c) where it is perhaps cheaper as well.

Apparently Australia is still the number one choice with us emigrating Britons.  The Office for National Statistics has revealed that even though fewer of us left the UK in 2007, we still favoured the fantastic weather, laid back lifestyle and high standard of living that Australia offers us.  Following Australia in popularity were Spain, New Zealand, America and then France.

Whilst we can accept that many who want to leave UK will be unable to do so as they are unable to sell their homes or finance the move perhaps, we are still of one mind and we still believe – judging by the amount of emails and feedback we receive daily – that there is currently an increased appetite for emigration.