Based on a comprehensive analysis of national and international sources in order to estimate the number, nationality and type of expatriates, Finaccord's research shows that the total expatriate population worldwide has also grown in relative terms. Specifically, the percentage of the total worldwide population that was composed of expatriates increased from around 0.68% in 2009 to 0.72% in 2013 and is forecast to rise to 0.77% by 2017. Moreover, the relative size of the expatriate population within the total worldwide immigrant population, as defined by the UN, also grew from 21.2% in 2009 to 21.8% in 2013, and is predicted to increase further to 23.4% by 2017.
According to the first ever comprehensive and standardised analysis of expatriates worldwide, developed by Finaccord, the majority of expats in 2013 were classifiable as:
73% Individual Workers
3.7% Retired Expats
1.0% Corporate Transferees
12.8% Non-employed Spouses and Children
Moreover, Finaccord forecasts that students will constitute the most rapidly growing category of expatriates worldwide between 2013 and 2017, increasing at a compound annual rate of 3.6%, followed by individual workers (3.2%), retired expatriates (2.9%), corporate transferees (2.8%) and other expatriates (2.3%).
Across 30 important inbound countries investigated (i.e. destination countries for expatriates), Saudi Arabia hosted the largest number of expatriates in 2013, followed by the UAE and the US, while the smallest expatriate population was resident in Poland, followed by Portugal and Sweden. Saudi Arabia also had the largest expatriate population as a percentage of its total immigrant population, at 98.4%, while expatriates made up the largest percentage of the total population in Qatar, at 70.9%. Meanwhile, across 25 major outbound countries researched (i.e. expatriate countries of origin), India generated by far the largest group of expatriates resident abroad in 2013, followed by China and the UK.
The report also provides some interesting statistics for the UK. Finaccord has calculated that there were around 1.19 million expatriates from other countries living in the UK in 2013 as opposed to around 1.16 million UK expatriates in other countries, a net difference of approximately 30,000.
However, looking in detail at who these expatriates are shows that there are some significant variations between these 'exported' and 'imported' expatriates. 58.3% of UK expatriates residing abroad are classified as individual workers, 23.5% as retired expatriates, 4.6% as students and 4.0% as corporate transferees with the balance of other expatriates (defined as non-employed spouses and children) making up the residual 9.5%.
In contrast, foreign expatriates living in the UK break down between individual workers at 46.4%, students at 38.4%, corporate transferees at 5.1%, retired expatriates at 3.1% and others (defined as before) at 7.1%. Thus, foreign students in the UK greatly outnumber UK students at educational institutions overseas, while retired expatriates from the UK living overseas constitute a much larger group than retired foreigners living as expatriates in the UK.