A Quality of Life report reveals the evolution of British expats or, from the Voting Rights standpoint, the profile of typical British overseas voters. They are no longer the media’s favourite stereotypical expat longing for sun and sangria, but can now be identified as Lifers, Professionals, Globe Trotters, Commuters and Silver expats.
These different but typical profiles of British overseas voters adding value to Britain, should not be so easily or generally dismissed as having severed all links with their country of birth and, therefore, deprived of their right to vote after 15 years.
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The Lifers are people living and working permanently in another country. The majority, 78%, move to English speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. Their age ranges from 25 to 45 and they are mostly skilled or semi skilled workers.
After 15 years living and working permanently in another country they are then deprived of their voting rights in the UK , when they are then typically still in the age range of 40 to 60 years old. However, the law determines that they have now severed all links with their country of birth and have nothing to contribute.
The Professionals are those who are leaving the UK temporarily to work with every intention of returning. In the majority, 71%, they take up temporary work assignments. They move to various countries throughout the world, living in different cultures and societies. The average time spent abroad on assignment is three years. Their age ranges from 25 to 45 and they are mostly senior managers and professionals.
These professionals when they have finished their typical foreign assignments are still in the age range 28 to 48 years old and, due to their relatively short time overseas, are unlikely to have appeared in the overseas voting statistics anyway.
Globe trotters leave the UK to work for various companies around the world. They are highly mobile and do not live in any one country for any length of time. These global workers are professionals, aged 45 to 60 and over half, 53%, intend to return to the UK at some point.
After 15 years these Globetrotters will be in the age range 60 to 75 and, due to their mobility over this period, unless they were diligent in continuing to register to vote, will have been difficult for the Electoral Commission to track. The 47% not returning to the UK will have lost their right to vote, however.
Commuters are permanent residents in the UK but work abroad for their UK based company for limited periods of time in various countries around the world, generally for a few months. They are senior executives aged 35 to 45. The research found that the number of people working on temporary assignments abroad has increased from 32% to 43% over the last five years.
Such Commuters are not considered overseas voters.
Silver expats are those who sell up to retire abroad. At the time of leaving they have no intention of returning. The principal retirement destinations are in Western Europe.
Although having no intention of returning to the UK and mainly living within Western Europe, many of these Silver expats will have been affected by the fall in the value of the Sterling versus the Euro or problems within the weaker members of the Eurozone e.g. the property crash in Spain. Therefore, a 15-year-rule which deprives such expats of their right to vote, takes no account of the links that continue to bind these Silver expats to the UK through membership of the European Union.
Read more about the 15-year-limit here: www.votes-for-expat-brits.com
Vote in support here: http://www.votes-for-expat-brits.com/Sign-up-Poll.php
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It is not true to say “However, the law determines that they have now severed all links with their country of birth and have nothing to contribute.” because anyone who has worked and paid National Insurance contributions in the UK is still on record and in some cases, people can continue to contribute or make top up payments into the NI Fund before they reach retirement age. The NI Fund is now administered by HMRC and they retain a record of everyone’s NI contributions from the age of 16 or when they start work up until they reach retirement age, which used to be 60 for women and 65 for men but is being increased to 68 and possibly longer. So the government keeps track of the money you have paid into the NI fund but you cannot have the vote after 15 years away. Double standards really.