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Facts, Stats and Tips: International Removals to and from the UK in 2023

posted: 30/11/2023

international removals statistics

Today, people are more mobile than ever before. Millions relocate across borders each year for work, study, or personal reasons. The United Kingdom is no exception, with a booming international community and a steady flow of people relocating to and from the country. So, let’s explore the reasons behind these movements, the most popular destinations and origins, and the impact of global events on migration patterns.

Top Reasons for International Removals to and from the UK in 2023

The specific reasons for international removals will vary from person to person. However, here we will list the most common motivations for people moving to or from the Island.

Work-related reasons (39%)

The UK is a major destination for skilled workers from around the world. The country’s strong economy and diverse job market offer a wide range of opportunities in various sectors. In addition, the government has several policies in place to attract skilled workers, such as the Global Talent Visa scheme. Some of the most popular job sectors include IT, healthcare, and engineering.

Study-related reasons (20%)

The UK is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London. These institutions attract students from all over the world seeking a world-class education. Britain also has a strong reputation for its vocational training and higher education courses, not to mention the variety of scholarships and bursaries for international students.

Family-related reasons (19%)

Reuniting with family members is a common motivation for international migration. The UK has a large and diverse population, with many living far away from their families. In addition, the government has many policies in place to make it easier for family members to join each other in the country.

Other reasons (22%)

People might choose to move to or from the UK for other reasons. For example:

  • Lifestyle – The Island is a popular destination for people seeking a better quality of life. The country has a high standard of living, a strong social safety net, and a wide range of historical areas.
  • Adventure – Some people move to change scenery or experience a new culture.
  • Love – Love is a powerful motivator, so relocating for a relationship is more common than you think.

It is important to note that the reasons for international removals can also be complex and interrelated. For example, someone who moves to the UK for work may also be motivated by a desire to experience a new culture or be closer to family.

UK Migration Facts and Stats for 2023

In 2023, more people moved to the UK than left, resulting in a net increase of 672,000 people. This number is slightly higher than in 2022 but lower than a previous estimate. It is too early to say if this is a new trend. Still, the latest data suggests that immigration is slowing down while emigration is increasing.

The way we measure migration is still being developed, so these estimates are based on assumptions informed by past data. It means the numbers may change as we get more information.

Immigration patterns have changed a lot since the pandemic. In recent years, more people from outside the EU have been coming to the UK, including those arriving on humanitarian visas and for work.

The biggest reason for non-EU immigration is still studying. Yet, more students are staying in the UK after they finish their studies to work.
The number of dependants coming to the UK has also increased, especially for non-EU students and workers.

  • Total long-term immigration for year ending (YE) June 2023 – 1,200,000 ppl
  • Emigration in YE June 2023 – 508,000 ppl
  • Net migration in YE June 2023 – 692,000
  • Percentage of immigrants from non-EU countries – 80.67%
  • Percentage of immigrants from EU countries – 10.75%
  • Percentage of immigrants from British nationals – 7.00%

official stats 2023

Source: International Passenger Survey from the Office for National Statistics, Home Office Borders and Immigration data from the Home Office, Registration and Population Interactions Database from the Department for Work and Pensions

Top 5 Destinations for UK Emigrants

The decision to emigrate is not an easy one. The top destinations for UK emigrants offer a diverse array of experiences, from the sun-soaked shores of Spain to the vibrant cities of the United States. Whether seeking adventure, economic prospects, or cultural immersion, they provide a unique chance to start anew and welcome the possibilities that life has to offer.

Spain: A Symphony of Sun, Sand, and Culture

With its sun-kissed beaches, vibrant cities, and captivating cultural heritage, Spain has long been a siren call for UK emigrants. The allure of the Mediterranean lifestyle, emphasising relaxation, enjoyment, and social connections, resonates deeply with many Britons seeking a change of pace. In addition, Spain has a large English-speaking community, which can make it easier for UK emigrants to settle in. We have a detailed, well-written guide on how to move to Spain that can help you organise your relocation.
Sydney, AU

Australia: A Land of Adventure, Opportunities, and Familiar Comforts

Australia, the land of vast landscapes, diverse cities, and laid-back attitudes, has also captured the hearts of UK emigrants. The country’s strong economy, generous natural beauty and outdoor activities offer a unique blend of adventure and prosperity. Moreover, the presence of a large British expat community provides a sense of familiarity and support for those venturing into a new life down under.

United States: The Land of Dreams and Endless Possibilities

The United States continues to attract UK emigrants seeking job opportunities and a higher standard of living. The country’s dynamic economy, diverse cultural tapestry, and global influence provide a fertile ground for personal and professional growth. Not to mention that, similar to Australia, Brits won’t struggle with the language.

Germany: A Fusion of Efficiency, Culture, and Economic Strength

Germany is well-known for efficiency, technological prowess, and cultural richness and, as such, is a preferred destination for UK emigrants. The country’s strong economy, coupled with its excellent healthcare and education systems, offers a stable and rewarding environment for individuals seeking a new beginning.

France: A Rendezvous with Romance, Culinary Delights, and Cultural Immersion

France, with its romantic allure, culinary delights, and rich cultural heritage, continues to enchant UK emigrants who are looking for a change of pace and a more relaxed lifestyle. The country’s offers a unique blend of sophistication and joie de vivre, not to mention how close it is to the UK.

The decision to emigrate is often driven by multiple factors, from personal aspirations to economic considerations. According to research, for UK emigrants, the primary motivations include:

  • Lifestyle – The desire for a warmer climate, a more relaxed pace of life, and greater access to outdoor activities often drive individuals towards destinations like Spain and Australia.
  • Economic Opportunities – Pursuing better job prospects, higher salaries, and a more favourable tax environment attracts individuals to countries like the United States and Germany.
  • Cultural Immersion – The wish to experience new cultures, languages, and traditions often motivates individuals to choose destinations like France and Germany.
  • Language – English is widely spoken in Spain, Australia, the United States, and parts of France. So it is easier for UK emigrants to communicate and find work.
  • Cost of living – The cost of living in Spain, Australia, and the United States is relatively high, but it is still lower than in the UK. Germany and France are also relatively affordable countries to live in.
  • Job opportunities – There are many job opportunities available for UK emigrants in all of these countries.
    International Moving to the Top Destinations in 2023

Relocating to a new country can be an exciting and daunting experience. There are many things to consider and plan for before making the move. Here is a checklist of some of the most important things to know and do before moving to one of the top 5 destinations for UK emigrants:


pounds, UKThe cost of moving from the UK to one of the top 5 destinations (Spain, Australia, United States, Germany, France) can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the size of your move, the distance to your destination, and the shipping company you choose. However, here is a general estimate of the average costs:

  • Spain: £1,500 – £3,000
  • Australia: £3,000 – £5,000
  • United States: £4,000 – £6,000
  • Germany: £2,000 – £4,000
  • France: £2,500 – £4,500

In addition to the cost of shipping your belongings, you will also need to factor in the following extra expenses:

  • Packing and unpacking: £200 – £500
  • Insurance: £50 – £200
  • Customs duties and taxes: This will depend on the value of your belongings and the destination country.
  • Travel: The costs can vary, as they depend on the destination, means of transportation, etc.
  • Shipping: Shipping your belongings overseas is not cheap, and you need to do thorough research on international moving companies.


One of the most important factors you need to consider is the documents you need to obtain to be allowed to move into these countries. And of course, the paperwork you have to prepare so you can restore your daily life.

  • Obtain a visa – All of the top 5 destinations require UK citizens to obtain a visa before moving. The type of visa you need will depend on your reason for moving, such as work, study, or retirement.
  • Register with local authorities – Once you arrive in your new country, you will need to register with the local authorities. It will usually involve registering with the police and getting a local tax number.
  • Open a bank account – It is important to open a bank account in your new country as soon as possible, as it will make it easier to manage your finances and pay bills. Not to mention that in some countries, you must have a local bank account if you want to rent or buy a home.
  • Get health insurance – You will need health insurance in your new country. It is especially important if you are moving with a family.

Finding a Moving Company

International relocations are different from domestic ones. You can’t pack your stuff and move on your own. It is not as simple as hiring a man and van and going to Madrid. Out-of-country removals require a professional international moving company that can handle all of the transportation details. It is essential to research and compare different service providers before deciding. Get quotes from several companies and make sure they are licensed and insured.

We hope to shed some light on the current state of international relocations to and from the UK. If you have specific queries and want to know more about a particular destination, feel free to ask us in the comment section below. Our experts will gladly answer all of your questions and provide you with the needed information.

Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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