Home » Expat Focus Financial Update 18 January 2017

Expat Focus Financial Update 18 January 2017

Expat opportunities will grow in 2017

A leading immigration services provider says opportunities for expats will continue to grow in 2017 with many multinational firms finding a shortage of skilled labour for their ambitions.

The survey was undertaken by Envoy and it found that multinational firms are looking to access global markets and will have excellent opportunities for ‘globally minded employees’.The firm’s chief executive, Dick Burke, said that an employer’s ability to build a workforce and mobilise and manage their employees across international borders will be increasingly important for success.

The firm has also revealed its top trends for employers looking to retain and attract international talent and that expats will play an increasingly important role as employers try to fill skills gaps.

This means they will need to access the global talent pool to find the skills it needs for success.

Indeed, one poll conducted among 400 employers in the US for Envoy found that 86% said that sourcing talented expats was important to the company’s strategy.

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Around 87% of employers said they were looking to increase or maintain the level of foreign nationals employed over the coming year.

On Envoy’s list of predictions for 2017 is that US employers will find green card sponsorship brings them an edge in attracting expat talent and retaining their skills.

From the firm’s research, they say that 700 expats in the US said that their employer having a Green Card sponsorship scheme was an attractive proposition and 14% said they would switch employers to one that sponsored Green Cards.

Envoy says this opportunity makes American employers more attractive to global talent.

In third place is the length of time it takes to attract expat talent: 28% of expats said it took between two and seven months between their first job interview and arriving in their new workplace. Just 38% said it took less than two months and 31% of expats said the US immigration process was more complicated than it needs to be.

Expats also said they enjoyed immigration related perks, with 44% of expats in the US enjoying a company car, while 42% said they enjoyed corporate housing.

Other expats said they enjoyed free visits home and help in paying for their dependants’ visa applications.

Mr Burke said: “We have identified trends to help employers acquire and retain their global talent and position them for success.”

Expat managers in China

A report published by the London School of Economics has revealed the pros and cons of multinational companies using expats and local managers in China.

The bottom line is that there’s no great difference between them.

One of the authors says the difference between local managers and expats is not as ‘pronounced as many employers believe’.

The report highlights that many multinational firms are paying for expats’ costs that may be unnecessary.

Indeed, many foreign firms active in China have pursued a range of strategies, from flying in expat supervisors to training local staff.

The report says that a more participatory Western-style of management brings a positive impact for employee motivation in China rather than the traditional local style of top-down hierarchical management.

Saudi expat fees demand

Business organisations in Saudi Arabia are calling for new expat fees for dependents and the employment of foreign workers to be charged on a monthly basis rather than annually.

The call comes ahead of the 1 July deduction of a fee that must be paid upfront by the expat.

This will also see firms in the private sector paying the upfront fee for every expat worker they employ.

Now one business organisation says a better system would be a monthly deduction from an expat’s salary as it will have less of an impact.

In addition, the organisation says that the annual payment could violate workers’ rights, particularly if they are made redundant shortly after paying the fees.

A spokesman for the Saudi Society of Accountants said: “Many smaller employers operate in a highly competitive environment and do not always apply strictly the contract system so this will make their position vulnerable if they need to pay lump sums or lay off workers.”

From July, expats will need to pay SAR100 ($26) for each dependent every month and this figure will rise to SAR400 ($107) by 2020.

From the end of this year, employers in the kingdom will need to pay SAR200 ($42) every month for every expat worker, which will rise by 2020 to SAR800 ($213).

Expats have characteristics for business success

A firm of psychometric consultants has put together a profile to help determine which expats will be successful when applying for overseas jobs.

They say that top performing expats fit a specific profile and understand that pressure in the workplace can be a motivator.

In addition, expats are prepared to put effort and time into a challenging task and are not overly worried about the ‘aesthetics’ of their new workplace, which means they can fit easily into new environments.

The firm says that the psychometric test, along with a personality questionnaire, will help employers choose expats who can cope best with working and living overseas.

A spokeswoman said: “Sending an employee to work and live abroad is a significant expense and employers should look beyond the candidate’s technical skills to ensure they choose the right person for the right reasons.”

Best US expat retirement destinations

The best destinations for US expats thinking of retirement have been revealed.

International Living looked at a variety of issues including cost, healthcare and lifestyle and found that Mexico offered the best opportunities.

The list, which is also useful for non-American expats wanting to retire overseas, saw Panama in second spot with Ecuador in third.
Costa Rica and Columbia make up the top five places, followed by Malaysia, Spain, Nicaragua, Portugal and Malta in the top 10.

In other news…

Rumours that an expected crackdown on illegal expat workers in Saudi Arabia had begun before many had expected have been dismissed, with authorities there saying the crackdown will begin on 13 April. News outlets had reported that a passport crackdown was under way and expats were being deported.

The prices for villas and apartments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi fell by 1% in the last quarter of 2016, with expats’ purchasing power being hit by lower oil prices and currency issues.

A lack of schools and high school fees means that 20,000 Pakistani children living in the UAE do not receive an education, says a community group. They are now appealing for expats to help build more schools in the country.

Shanghai has announced its ambition to become a global financial hub and will attract 450,000 people over the next three years to fulfil that ambition, authorities have said. To do so means improving the talent pool and attracting talented expats.

It looks like the Chinese authorities are about to crack down on non-native English language teachers by enforcing the country’s strict employment rules. There’s a huge demand for expat teachers in China, with schools increasingly ignoring the rules to attract teachers, particularly from the Philippines.

UEFA says that 70% of players in the English Premier League are expats and its wage bill is twice that of the next best paying league, Italy’s Serie A.

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