Sydney harbourWith storms and floods hitting much of the country, and the economic climate not much better, it is hardly surprising that many Britons dream of moving abroad to sunnier climes.

Last year alone, just under 150,000 British citizens left the UK with the intention of spending at least a year in another country, Home Office figures show.
Here, we look at why they left, where they went and whether you should follow in their footsteps.

Why did people leave the UK last year?
Research indicates that most of the 150,0000 or so Britons to emigrate last year were of working age.

As you might expect, many were thinking of their careers first and foremost. According to the Office of National Statistics, more than 50,000 people left the UK to take up a definite job elsewhere, while about 30,000 more left in search of employment.

Not all those who moved abroad did so for work, though. Some were moving to be closer to other family members, some were off to study abroad, and others were heading off to spend their retirement overseas.

Where did they go?
Australia remained the number one destination for British citizens moving abroad - a position it has held for the last 20 years.

Second place, meanwhile, belongs to the US, while the beaches of Spain and the wide open spaces of Canada also attracted thousands of Britons last year.

Other top destinations included France, Ireland and New Zealand. For a full list of the top 10, see below.

Should you move abroad?
You might think that the high unemployment rate is one reason so many Brits are choosing to jet off to live in other parts of the world.

But actually, figures show that emigration rates fall when unemployment is high because most of those affected simply do not have the cash to take off in search of work elsewhere.

Perhaps because of this, the number of people leaving the UK has dropped in recent years.

In the first few years of the 21st century it was close to 200,000 a year and peaked at 207,000 in 2006 - just before the credit crunch hit.

Despite that, the Home Office report suggests that a massive 4.7 million Brits now live as expats, many of them very happily. The key if you want to join them is to do your research - and your sums - first.

After all, your favourite holiday destination might be idyllic for two weeks in July, but what is it like in November? And will there be a job for you there?

Other things to think about before taking the plunge include the cost of living in the country you are considering moving to and the distance it will put between you and any loved ones still in the UK.

Top 10 destinations for UK expats1. Australia 1,062,000
2. USA 829,000
3. Spain 808,000
4. Canada 608,000
5. Ireland 289,000
6. France 253,000
7. New Zealand 248,000
8. South Africa 219,000
9. Germany 97,000
10. UAE 65,000
By Jess Bown, Nov 27, 2012