Oliver Lynch

Oliver Lynch

Content writer, language nerd and aspiring screenwriter. Usually found wandering old European towns or trying to snowboard.

Make Your Escape: Where To Emigrate To Avoid BREXIT

Tired of Brexit? If you’re planning to safeguard your personal future, or just avoid the doom and gloom, read our guide to escaping Brexit.

If you live in the UK then you might have noticed there was a big vote recently. June 2016 saw the British people vote for Brexit, or the British Exit from the EU. Time will tell whether this was a good idea, or not.

Political and economic instability, social divisions and the media saturation can make you long for a better option. Don’t worry though, the worlds a big place and there are many options for British residents to move to.

The countries on this list all offer decent career or employment options, great lifestyle and the opportunity to be a permanent resident or citizen within a reasonable timeframe (around 5 years).

What Do I Need To Do To Escape Brexit?

Finding a job or work opportunity abroad is not as terrifying as you may have been led to believe. Even if you’re unskilled, there are plenty of opportunities for people who have no higher education or trade, it just might involve a bit of lateral thinking or networking.

When it comes to trades, the options are broad. Most countries need:

  • Medical practitioners,
  • Plumbers & electricians,
  • Chefs,
  • Teachers (especially English),
  • Engineers and Scientists,
  • Law practitioners,
  • Care givers,
  • Entrepreneurs,
  • Financial services experts,
  • Drivers….

And a whole lot more!

Non skilled jobs such as drivers, cleaners, customer service operatives, childcare and labourers are normally quite simple to come across, although make sure you get the right visa and stay on side with local laws.

We have an article about working your way around the world which details many great options and ways to get into different industries.

So if you’re looking to leave the UK, where is best for your Brexit escape?



Home sweet home – pic: Christian Birkholz

Touted as the easiest option for many Brits, it’s not far from home, culturally similar and many of us have family ties in some capacity.  People are friendly and many companies are moving to Ireland from the UK. If you work in customer service there are big companies like PayPal who have their Europe HQ in Ireland. Ireland has become one of the strongest economies in Europe, post recession, and the quality of life is among the best in the world.

You’re also not far from the UK, with many cheap flights, ferry and bus links to home. Dublin, Shannon and Belfast are all well connected to the rest of the world with their international airports.

Lifestyle wise there’s lots of beautiful country side, a similar pub culture to the UK and cities like Dublin, Galway and Limerick are great fun. Emigrating from the UK to the Emerald Isle certainly won’t be a shock to the system.

Be warned though, the health service isn’t as good as the UK and the cost of living is one of the highest in Europe.

How easy is it to move there?

Well, that depends on a few things. If you have a grandparent on either side who was born in the Emerald Isle then you’re eligible for a passport. Easy.

If you’re unskilled it’s still relatively easy to go and find a job. Historically Ireland exports more people than it imports so finding a job isn’t too hard.

You will be elegible for Irish citizenship if you live there for around 5 years.


Commuting in Ghent, Belgium – pic: Licya

Belgium is one of the European countries with the easiest criteria for becoming a citizen. It’s also a dynamic and affluent society with lots of opportunities for immigrants.

Speaking French is going to be important and picking up some Flemish will help you go far. Speaking German is a bonus too. Many Belgians speak pretty decent English so arriving and settling in won’t be too tricky if your language skills are a bit rusty.

As the seat of EU government and NATO there are lots of options for those looking to get into humanitarian, government or diplomatic jobs.

Cities such as Antwerp and Zeebrugge are massive centres for shipping and logistics so there are many options for unskilled labour as well as senior office roles, marketing and shipping. Entrepreneurs are welcomed too, so if you’re looking to invest or set up a business then Belgium is a good place to consider.

The culture is also quite similar to the UK, in many respects. The Belgians love chips, chocolate, beer and football so you’ll feel right at home (almost).

The healthcare system is one of the best in Europe (with deductions from your pay) and the cost of living is generally marginally cheaper than in the UK.

How easy is it to get in?

Belgium has good employment options especially in teaching, diplomacy/government, legal and sciences. Permanent residency can be obtained in 3 years and citizenship can be applied for after this (around 5 years).


House with sea view, still affordable in Portugal – pic: CarlosPaes

An attractive destination for those looking to emigrate after Brexit, Portugal has a lot going for it. Sun, sand, awesome food, stacks of culture and attractive benefits for workers. Portugal is currently trying to tempt tech startups so if you’re a designer, programmer or general tech bod then you may find this a desirable option.

The cost of living is among the lowest in Western Europe, which does mean that wages are low too. If you’re thinking of turning up and getting a bar job while you work out your options you will probably be just about making ends meet. But, you get quite a lot for your money with the rent, especially away from the bigger cities.

Teaching English, sports instructors (such as surfing) or tourism service providers will all find opportunities.

To get ahead in Portugal you will need to speak some Portuguese (of course), so make sure you make a start before arriving.

How easy is it to get in?

If you get in you can go for permanent residency after 3 years then citizenship around 5 or 6 years. Finding a job with a global company or perhaps a startup firm is one of the best ways to get your foot in.


La vie est belle en France – pic: CCOpublicdoman

One of the worlds biggest economies, France is actually one of the easiest places to get citizenship. Although if you’re looking to escape all the Brexit hoo haa, it might not be the best option due to France’s own problems with the far right.

But as a place to live and work, France is one of the best. They have a high standard of living, a great climate, stacks of culture and the job market has improved (although it’s still not as good as the UK). A popular way in for British workers is to do a ski season (seasonaire) or nanny/au pair job and use that as a springboard into more permanent employment.

If you’re prepared to open a business you should find that you’re welcomed, especially in more rural locations. The French have been abandoning the countryside for generations, so there are many smaller towns which have been given a new lease of life by expats (including Brits).

Yes, you’ll need to speak French but don’t let that put you off. It’s a relatively easy language to master for English speakers. Oh and the French aren’t as rude or arrogant as they’re perceived by many Brits.

You can also get French residency by doing your masters degree in a French university and then working there after.

How easy is it to move there?

If you find a job and pay into the tax system, or set up a business, you can get permanent residency within 3 years and be a citizen by 5 or 6 years.


Staffordshire? Or Frankenberg? pic: 591360

Another strong European economy, Germany is a great option for those looking to escape Brexit. The jobs market is vibrant, the country is actually ‘strong and stable’ and although it will help to learn German, you can get by with English.

Despite historical differences, German culture is not massively different to the UK. They have a similar pub vibe, the food is not a million miles from British (sausage, pies and meaty stews) and they love football. On that note, watching football is a lot cheaper in Germany.

Jobs wise you’ll be able to find all kinds from science and technology to media to public services such as healthcare. Pay is amongst the best in Europe and statutory healthcare is available which is paid as a percentage of your income (similar to national insurance).

How easy is it to move there?

Germany is actually one of the easiest for Brits to move, find a job and set up a new life. You can get permanent residency within 2-3 years and citizenship normally around 5-8 years after this.

Best Countries Around The World To Escape Brexit

For those looking to make a break with Europe, there is of course a whole world of choice… These are some of the most popular (and a couple of random options) for British expats around the globe.

New Zealand & Australia

Although they’re a long way from Blighty, both Oz and Kiwi Land aren’t a million miles from the UK culturally. English is of course the main language and there are cultural similarities, although the weather is a lot better.

The mountains, fjords and rolling hills of New Zealand or the miles of beaches or untouched outback of Australia. It’s a tough choice if you’re heading down under. If you’re a city person then both Auckland (NZ) and Melbourne (Australia) are frequently on the lists of best places to live.

How easy is it to move there?

If you’re under 31 you can get a youth mobility visa and go and get a job. You can then work at making yourself invaluable to the country and get yourself a permanent residency.

Australia has a more stringent immigration policy and you can expect to have to do a lot of paperwork if you want to stay. You’ll have to be on the required skills list which does change, but generally you can work something out. Teachers, train drivers, engineers, plumbers and chefs are often on the list.

New Zealand is slightly easier to get in, but you will still need to be on the skills list.

If you have been a resident for 5 years you can get citizenship in New Zealand. Or you can get a permanent resident visa if you have been present for 2 years and are in a stable job with a commitment to the country.

Australian citizenship and permanent residency is based similar criteria but can be more complicated to apply for.


Outdoors lifestyle is a stones thow away in Vancouver – pic: Chris1007

Canada is also quite familiar to Europeans and is welcoming to new arrivals (unlike it’s southern neighbour). Brits might even be reassured by the presence of the Queen on the banknotes!

One of the most affluent countries on the planet, Canada has some of the best cities for lifestyle such as Vancouver and Toronto. If you like wide open spaces, mountains and endless lakes then Canada might be for you.

It’s also massively multicultural and has one of the strongest economies in the world. Moving to Canada from the UK won’t be a complete shock to the system, except for maybe the cold… It does get VERY cold!

How easy is it to move there?

There is a job skills list which if you’re on can make your new life in Canada very easy. If you’re a tradesman or have a doctorate then you’re pretty much in, but even the unskilled can find a way to get residency in Canada.

You’ll need to be a permanent resident to apply for citizenship for Canada and you’ll need to have lived there for at least 6 years.


Live the dream in NYC – pic: Free-photos

Needing no introduction, moving to be part of the American dream is many peoples dream. Whatever you think of politics and current global issues, the USA still has a high quality of life and lots of opportunity for immigrants.

Most Brits move to sunny California or Florida, but you’ll find ‘Limeys’ all around the country. Of course, the language is no barrier, although many are surprised by how different the country is culturally.

If you work for a global firm you might be able to get a transfer to an American office. Or if you work in media, fashion, design or other creative or tech industries you might be able to apply for a job before you arrive.

How easy is it to move there?

The downside? It’s hard to get in unless you are needed. Required skills are normally in healthcare, sciences, technology and education.

Saying that even when you do get in it can be hard to get permanent residency. You’ll need a green card first and then go from there. It will take at least 3-5 years from permanent residency to citizenship.


The MerLion city – pic: TPSDave

One of the strongest economies in Asia, Singapore is a powerhouse when it comes to financial services and technology. Although there are massive fines for chewing gum or jaywalking and graffiti carries a harsh punishment, the pluses to that are you live in a clean and generally harmonious society.

Centrally located in Asia you can be in Australia in around 5 hours (Darwin and Perth are both within the 5 hour flight radius), or London in 13 hrs.

There’s fantastic nightlife, amazing food and a good work/life culture balance. Oh and some of the cheapest Michelin starred meals to be had on the planet!

How easy is it to move there?

If you work in technology (IT, computer programming), media (film or TV, graphic design) or finance then you’ll be able to find a job and move with relative ease. Check the Singapore government site for types of work pass.

You can apply for permanent residence after 2 years and citizenship after 6 years.

Similar options: Hong Kong and China.


Lifes a beach in Rio – pic: PauloDuarte

South America’s economic powerhouse is on course to overtake the UK as one of the biggest economies in the world. Brazil surely has a draw which would be hard to resist. Tropical, multicultural, dynamic and fun… What more do you need?

Sao Paulo is where Brazil makes money, Rio is where it parties – although there are many fantastic cities for those prepared to explore. Consider Curitiba, Florianopolis, Salvador, Brazilia and Recife as great options.

You’ll need to speak Portuguese (although you’ll be fine at first with English if you’re skilled or teaching English) but with a growing and wealthy middle class you could find many niche jobs (childcare and private English tuition for example).

By far the easiest job to get into will be teaching English. However for the skilled you should also be able to find jobs in the sciences, engineering, finance and media. There are also many digital nomads making it pay all around Brazil, so if you have a digital skill maybe try that.

It will pay to learn some basic Portuguese first.

How easy is it to move there?

By various reckonings it can be easy if you find a decent job, not so easy if you don’t. There are ways to get long term visas such as studying Portuguese and volunteering. You’ll need to be a legal resident for over 4 years to apply for permanent residency and then citizenship.

Similar options: Argentina, Colombia, Central America.

Is Brexit that bad?

Another question may be, is it worth emigrating to escape Brexit? What about staying and facing the new dawn for Britain? Well, sure why not. That is an option that the majority will take. The country won’t sink into the sea and life will go on, so despite the gloom painted by the media, it will surely work out fine (eventually).

But, it’s a good opportunity for those who have had enough of the politics and the mess made by the whole Brexit shambles to plan their escape.

And why not? The world’s a big place with a lot to see and do.

Ready to book your one way ticket? We’ve got a handy flight finding widget below so make your Brexit escape and check flight prices below…

Are you planning to emigrate to escape Brexit? Or have you made the move already? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Be social and share, thanks!

This article was originally published on olilynch.com in a different format. 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Leave a Reply

Keep reading for inspiration travel advice, tips and guides to global destinations

Close Menu