With UK unemployment figures sky-rocketing, many are turning to foreign jobsites rather than pounding British pavements for dwindling job opportunities. Almost half of today’s UK expats are professional or skilled workers including executives and doctors, compared with only 37% in 1991. High income tax rates, dour British weather and low career mobility are all popular reasons for UK citizens making the move abroad. Whatever your reason for booking the international moving companies and jetting off to a career in a more exotic locale, take a look at the below guide to the most popular destinations for expat workers:

Australia

A recent Lloyds TSB survey found expats living down under were the least likely to return to the UK, with nine in ten intending to live there indefinitely. With radiant coastlines and natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef to boast, it is not surprising that Australia attracts, and keeps, more than its far share of UK expats. Agriculture and manufacture are always major industries, with many job opportunities. More recent areas of growth include telecommunications, hospitality and services.

It is much easier to obtain a working visa in Australia if you are skilled in certain shortage occupations, including engineers, veterinarians and special needs teachers. The Australian economy is also much more stable than Britain currently, with only one quarter of negative growth reported since the start of the global recession.

New Zealand

A notorious destination for beautiful scenery, New Zealand is desperate for skilled young workers. The country offers Britons under 30 a working visa lasting almost two years, and highly-qualified under 55’s can claim an ‘essential skills’ visa for up to three years. A great option for recent graduates finding it hard to get on the career ladder at home is the working holiday visa, which is usually valid for just under two years. With UK expats rating the country highest for quality of life in a survey of 13 popular destinations, it certainly seems like an attractive prospect.

Hospitality is a huge industry for the main cities, and agriculture accounts for most of the jobs in rural areas – with fruit-picking a popular gap-year option. For skilled workers, the earthquake in Christchurch has created a huge demand in the construction sector.

America

Home to the Grand Canyon, the Empire State Building and Disney World, the land of the free is also home to almost 700,000 UK expats. Between retirees heading to sunny Florida and young workers heading to Silicon Valley in California for work, America is the UK’s most popular expat destination. Considering this, a working visa is particularly hard to come across, near impossible if you do not already have a job offer. A specific visa is available for workers from overseas filling temporary jobs with a deficit of local workers.

Although the entry policy is strict, once you get to the states, your taxes will be lower and the food largely cheaper. Like any expat destination, ex-UK citizens report finding the first year the hardest, missing familiar brands and friends and family. It will take a while to settle in to any new country, but stick with it and it might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.