The economic downturn combined with poor job prospects in the UK have caused 1 in 5 expats to consider returning home in search of better jobs and opportunities.

A study conducted by the Expat Explorer Survey has revealed that Almost half of the 3,100 expats in 100 countries surveyed believed that the economy in their current country of employment had worsened since the start of 2009.

This was found to be most evident in the Eurozone, with 93 per cent of workers in Spain considering a move home, the survey by HSBC revealed.

“It’s clear that the impact of the economic downturn has had a significant effect on expats based in the UK,” Lisa Woods, head of customer propositions at HSBC, told the Daily Telegraph.

“As many expats based in the UK are young professionals, this trend could lead to talented workers looking to other countries for higher salaries and better career progression,” she added.

However, on a global scale expats were proving resilient, with 87 per cent saying they wouldn’t relocate even though the economy in their current location had deteriorated.

This trend was generally higher in the Middle East and Asian countries, and those dominating the top of the wealth hotspot league table.

This suggests that, expats still believe that they would be in a financially stronger position if they stayed in the UK, rather than returning back home to their country of origin

“Despite this, most aren’t considering a move home and, better still, the majority of expats surveyed have higher levels of disposable income, are saving more and accumulating less debt,” Woods added.

The survey also revealed that expats in the UK are most likely to accumulate more debt (11 per cent compared with an overall average of 5 per cent), followed by Australia (9 per cent).

This is despite the fact that many expats in these countries are also able to save more than in their country of origin (53 per cent and 51 per cent respectively).

Expats working in emerging countries such as India, China and Russia have been less affected by the economic downturn, believing that improvements have been seen over the past 12 months compared with the worldwide average, the survey highlighted.