The top countries people are leaving right now – including South Africa

International relocation experts MoveHub has published its annual Global Moving Trends report to see where the most popular countries are for expats to move to for 2017.

The company analysed search data from over 350,000 moving enquiries between April 2007 – 2017 to see how moving trends have evolved, and find out the most and least popular countries for expats.

New Zealand pipped Australia to the post in 2017 with interest in moving to the land of the long white cloud soaring by 30% year on year.

Movehub noted that Australia has long established itself as the favourite destination for expats, however 2017 saw a 5% decrease in searches from the previous financial year.

New Zealand enjoyed its highest ever levels of immigration on record, particularly from the US and the UK, potentially due to the political unrest in both countries.

Interest in moving to New Zealand from the US is up a whopping 71% year on year, and from the UK an even more staggering 83%, the report said.

New Zealand’s strong economy and cheaper cost of living both contributed to the rise in popularity of the new winner.

In the 24 hours after Trump was announced as president the website of immigration New Zealand received 56,300 visits from the US – 24 times the usual amount, Movehub said.


Read: How much UK, US, Australian, New Zealand and other popular visas will cost South Africans in 2017


Cost of living, way of life and general culture are now the key considerations for those looking to move abroad, which have fuelled a dip in interest to the former big three: the UK, the USA and Australia.

MoveHub found that 22% fewer people are moving to the UK, while the report found that 10% fewer people are moving to the US.

It noted that the EU Referendum was one of the most controversial political events of 2016 and its outcome has had global repercussions.

While New Zealand has generated the most interest over the past year,  the UK still tops the list for popular destination, with South Africa ranked 16th, down from 2016.

The UK however, also tops the list of countries people are leaving, with South Africa ranked 14th.

Top 30 popular destination countries

Top 30 countries people are leaving

When it comes to the motivations behind moving, more than half of respondents said they had done so for better jobs prospects, while a third relocate in pursuit of a new challenge or adventure.

And despite the controversial political events of 2016, 62% of people said they have not been put off moving abroad.


Read: These are the countries South Africans can visit tomorrow visa-free

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The top countries people are leaving right now – including South Africa