27 February 2023

Newcomers optimistic about financial challenges

New HSBC research reveals the financial challenges of relocating to the UK1 **Great expectations: While two in five (41%) respondents planning a move to the UK expect financial challenges on arrival, they’re amongst the most optimistic across all markets surveyed (global average: 46%)**
**The domino effect: More than half (56%) of those who have relocated struggle to get essential services set up (e.g., credit card, mobile phone, utilities) due to an inability to transfer credit history**
**Global Britain: One in six living in England and Wales were born abroad, with India remaining the most common country of birth outside the UK2**

As the world continues to open up and the UK competes on a global stage to attract top talent and investment3, new research from HSBC UK finds that people relocating to the UK are amongst the most optimistic when it comes to managing important aspects of their finances in their new home country.

However, financial hurdles could be causing people to change course and the UK to miss out on attracting much needed skills to our workforce.

The study was commissioned to understand how international citizens’ financial lives are evolving, their motivations for moving abroad, and issues they face as they settle into their new home.

It comes as HSBC UK is expanding its international products and services – to help solve the current financial frictions that customers experience when moving abroad or banking cross border.

Key motivations and concerns of those who have or plan to move to the UK:

  • As inflationary pressures and the rising cost of living affects consumers in some countries and territories, a quarter (25%) of respondents who have or plan to move to the UK are motivated to move to earn more money, and a fifth (20%) move (or plan to move) to make their money go further.
  • A majority (54%) of those who are planning to relocate to the UK (to live, work or study), agree that finding the right financial services to suit their needs was a worry. Yet over half (55%) of those who have already moved say that nobody has helped them feel financially prepared to relocate.
  • Two fifths (40%) of future relocators agreed that not knowing how to juggle financial life between locations was a concern, and almost three in five (58%) agree they are concerned about the implications of paying taxes in the UK (compared to a global average of 45%).
  • Over half (53%) of survey respondents who have relocated agreed that they felt unsettled when they first arrived because they struggled to set-up important things like a bank account, utilities, and the internet; highlighting how complex financial admin can have a negative impact on their new experience (global average: 53%).
  • Top reasons for moving to the UK are a better lifestyle, such as improved health or social life (31%) and the opportunity to travel (31%), followed by a better work / life balance (29%).

Commenting on the findings, José Carvalho, Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC UK said:

“Newcomers are vital to the growth of our economy, with the flow of ideas and experiences enriching the lives of people across the UK and around the world.

“From struggling to get essential services set up due to lack of local credit history, to juggling finances between locations and understanding tax considerations – newcomers can face real and unique hurdles when settling into their new lives in the UK.

“Moving abroad takes planning, but it doesnt have to be complicated. As the UK’s leading international bank, we use our global network and expertise to help open up a world of opportunity for our customers. From relocating to or from the UK, to exploring international opportunities like travel and investment.”

How HSBC UK is helping customers with international needs4:

  1. Simplified account opening: Open a new account before they arrive in their destination, without visiting a branch.
  2. Access credit faster: leverage credit history built up overseas to start a positive credit history in the UK on arrival.5
  3. Simplified cross border banking: View, manage and transfer money between HSBC accounts in 28 markets quickly and with no fees6, and send and spend overseas fee free7 with Global Money.
  4. Plan for the future: Access financial planning tools and portfolio-based advice from experts to help them make the most of their money in the UK and abroad.
  5. Global support: Manage their banking needs in different time zones with 24/7 support for key services.8
  6. More than a bank account: access services with global partners beyond banking (tax solutions, special offers and relocation support including airport pick up as well as a UK SIM card on arrival).

More information on HSBC UK’s international banking services: https://www.hsbc.co.uk/international/

Tips to consider when planning a move abroad

Before departure

  • Research, research, research where you’re going – getting the low-down on the place will give you a sense of what it’s really like to live there – from culture and climate to transport and living costs. Speak to others who have or currently live in your potential new location and ask them to share their secrets on settling in successfully.
  • Get your financial services sorted – think about getting a bank account set up before you land, so you can hit the ground running and avoid fees and charges related to your home country account. Take time to understand how your bank can support you when you move – does it offer multicurrency accounts, or allow you to take your credit history with you when applying for credit in your new location?
  • Know how the tax system works in the location where you are going, and whether you’ll still have tax considerations in your home location once you’ve moved. Check your new government’s website for local advice, or HSBC’s Global Tax Guides.
  • Understand support available from your new employer – they could help with moving costs, finding a property for your first few months in a new location, or even help you set up a bank account or other important services.

Upon arrival

  • Speak to your bank about support on the ground, when you land in your new location. Is there a local number you can call, to connect with customer services in your preferred language and timezone?
  • Get involved in your local community – getting to know people is an important part of feeling settled in your new host location. Check out what’s going on in your local area. If you have children at school, connect with other parents and the school to find out what’s going on and how you can get involved.
  • Familiarise yourself with your new area – tap into local online news and reviews and explore in-person to find your new favourite local shops and restaurants, or play areas if you have children.
  • Get to know the workplace culture – no matter where you move, it’s likely that the the workplace culture will be different from your home country. Chat with colleagues to understand what’s expected of you.

For more information on what to consider when setting up abroad, read HSBC’s Guide To Moving Abroad.

Media enquiries to:

hsbcinternational@edelman.com / +447807709638
Aurora Bonin – aurora.f.bonin@hsbc.com / 07438 850 833

Notes to Editors:

  1. Research was conducted by Ipsos UK on behalf of HSBC from 05/12/22 to 23/01/23
    7,177 interviews ((1,199 in the UK) were conducted among adults aged 18+, who are currently living, working or studying abroad; or planning to do so in the next 12 months, or returned from doing so in the last five years. This sample also included parents or guardians of international students; and a sub-set of international investors who own at least one investment product overseas.
    Interviews were conducted, across nine host locations: Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, UAE, UK, USA and the Channel Islands & Isle of Man. Host location is where they have moved/moving to, not where they were born. (Fieldwork did not take place in Canada, as there is a mergers & acquisitions deal underway).
    For a full description of the methodology, please refer to https://www.ipsos.com/en-uk/new-hsbc-research-reveals-financial-challenges-relocating-abroad
  2. Source: UK Census 2021 results - https://census.gov.uk/census-2021-results
  3. Source: UK Department for International Trade - https://www.great.gov.uk/international/content/investment/why-invest-in-the-uk/uk-talent-and-labour/
  4. Terms and conditions apply, for full details please visit: https://www.hsbc.co.uk/international/ 
  5. Available from 28 February 2023 in the UK, enabling credit history transfer from certain countries for HSBC credit card applications. Terms and conditions apply.
  6. Global View and Global Transfers are available for accounts in: Australia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Channel Islands, Mainland China, Egypt, France, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Philippines, Jersey (HSBC Expat), Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Vietnam, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UAE, UK and US.
    The currencies supported by Global View and Global Transfers are AED, AUD, BHD, CAD, CFH, CNY, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, INR, JPY, KWD, MXN, NOK, NZD, OMR, PLN, QAR, RUB, SAR, SEK, SGD, SKK, THB, TRY, USD, ZAR. Please note that each country may not support transfers in all currencies from these countries. For example, transfers from the USA can only be made in USD.
  7. Other non-HSBC fees may apply.
  8. Full 24-hour support is available for Premier customers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Mainland China, the United Arab Emirates, HSBC Expat, Australia, Canada, the United States and India. Key services are available in the United Kingdom and for non-Premier customers. Chinese language support is provided for HSBC Premier customers in Singapore, Canada, US and Australia.


HSBC UK serves over 14.75 million customers across the UK, supported by 24,000 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates.

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,967bn at 31 December 2022, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.