London has always been a city for expats. For hundreds of years people have come from all corners of the world seeking opportunities. In recent years this has only accelerated with London now as one of the few ‘global cities’ where multinational companies whizz in executives as a middle ground for meetings between east and west.
As a result London life has adapted and now offers some of the best selections of entertainment out of global expat locations. Nine in ten (90%) of respondents in the 2011 Expat Explorer survey were impressed with the cultural offering of London.
London undoubtedly caters fur a truly international audience with cuisine and expat communities from almost every country in the world helping expats feel at home in London. From a work perspective London offers everything the career seeker could wish for.
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One of the largest expat groups in London are the French. London is often regarded as France’s 5th city with an expat population of over 300,000. Corners of London such as South Kensington now have the feel of a Parisian street; the French Parliament even has its own MP for London.
The downside is its infrastructure, particularly the transport network in the capital which still relies on its Victorian foundations. The tube network, despite the frantic pace of upgrades to allow modern features such as air conditioning and mobile phone signal, still lags behind many cities. Airport capacity is also straining the capital. New arrivals frequently have to wait hours to get through customs and passport control and the debate over a new runway means this situation is unlikely to get better any time soon.
Despite the drawbacks in transportation, James Pickford at the FT writes, “Expatriates who decide to come to London can be certain of one thing: they are arriving in a city that has had centuries to hone its appeal.”
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