Expat Life Priorities

Expat Life Priorities at the Forefront

The pandemic has caused many to rethink their priorities. 73% of current expats, and 75% of those who plan to move overseas in the next two years, have said they have spent more time reevaluating their life priorities since the pandemic. Lifestyle has now replaced finances as the number one priority for those living, or planning to live, overseas.

Amongst existing expats, the desire to be closer to their family is now a top three priority, placed above job market considerations by more than a quarter of those we spoke to. In fact, for the majority of long-term expats, especially those who have been overseas for over five years, this is now the number one consideration.

In contrast, seeking a better job market is the primary motivation for 31% of those planning to move abroad. Perhaps unsurprisingly, healthcare is now a major priority for all groups, with 23% of existing expats considering moving in order to have access to better healthcare.

Work culture is also a major consideration for many people’s expat lives. When asked for their ‘Top 3’ workplace benefits, more than a quarter (28%) of aspiring expats said flexible hours were critical and 16% said they wanted the ability to work from any location in the world.


Employer values are also critically important, rated as ‘Top 3’ by 15% of both current and aspiring expats. While, 22% of current expats said that an enhanced healthcare plan that offers more than simply medical coverage was critical, reflecting the trend we see globally of people seeking better healthcare and the peace of mind that goes with it.

We also see different motivators across generations. While lifestyle is the most important factor across all expats of all ages, we see new considerations emerging. With geopolitical tensions rising, a quarter of those aged 35-49 said that safety is a major reason for wanting to relocate, this remains a priority for more than one in five of those aged 25-34. The severity of Covid-19 restrictions is also now a top 10 consideration, rising to 13% for those with children.

26% existing expats want to move closer to family

31% new expects are seeking a better job market

22% expect an enhanced healthcare plan

From now on, it’s likely that organizations will need to re-evaluate how they structure expat assignments. Personal and family needs are now at the forefront of decision-making and this may impact the benefits expats prioritize when selecting future roles.

Arjan Toor, Head of Global Individual Health, Cigna International Markets

I’ve been overseas for over twenty years, I met my wife in Hong Kong and have raised two children. I always thought I would live the rest of my life in Asia but the pandemic changed our priorities and we have made the decision to relocate to Germany to be closer our families and give our children a more stable education.

Alex, UK National, Hong Kong

Learn more about our plans

We have 24/7 customer support ready for you all year round. Get in touch with us today.