Flexibility and variety of work are often cited as two of the advantages of working for yourself, but it seems many independent professionals in the UK have yet to take advantage of this freedom. A survey of 1,300 UK contractors by recruitment firm Procorre has revealed that 77% of this growing group would like to work abroad. Over half (52%) said contracting abroad would provide a better work life balance, while 44% said they would like to work in pastures new simply for the experience of living in a foreign country.

Ever the pragmatic bunch though, 55% of those surveyed said they would also consider working outside the UK to take advantage of lower tax regimes and the possibility of increased take home pay.

Procorre’s Lisa Mangan said:

“Tax benefits and higher salaries are a real temptation for contractors that are considering working abroad. For those willing to make the move there are some highly rewarded opportunities abroad.

“However, the attractive benefits packages and greater take home pay are often there to entice contractors to remote or even dangerous locations.”

Working abroad isn’t as simple as just packing a bag and getting on a plane, though. Contractors face differing tax regimes and legislation in every country in which they choose to ply their trade, and these issues are putting many off. Understanding what expenses they can claim is an issue for 40% of contractors, while dealing with local tax bodies and obtaining the necessary work permits is putting off between 45% and 49% of those hoping to work overseas.

There are also issues closer to home stopping contractors from upping sticks – just under a third of respondents say their family doesn’t want to relocate, while just over a quarter don’t want to leave their loved ones behind. However security risks are the biggest deterrent – over half of those asked cited safety worries as the biggest issue they have with working overseas.