Home » Expat Focus International News Update December 2019

Expat Focus International News Update December 2019

World's best cities to be an expat

A new survey by Internations ranked all the major expat destinations based on their popularity scores across several measures. Over 80 cities were analysed, and data was crunched concerning settling down, work-life balance, quality of life, childcare, and cost of living, among other measures.Asia fared very well in the results, with Taipei topping the list followed by Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore. Europe also did well, with Lisbon, Barcelona, Zug, The Hague, and Basel all making the top ten. The only North American destination to make it into the top ten was Montreal in Canada.

Bottom of the list was Kuwait, in 82nd place.

Expats flee Hong Kong due to protests

Increasing political unrest in Hong Kong is causing many expats to feel unsafe and move abroad, with Singapore seeing an uptick in expat arrivals due to its close proximity and similar business profile.

But in recent weeks, as the situation worsens, more and more people are abandoning the expat life altogether and returning home, according to a report in the Financial Times.

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For an insight into life in Hong Kong, take a look at the articles by our columnist Ben Zabulis.

UK election result causes concern

Boris Johnson’s win at the recent UK election has caused concern both for British expats living in the EU and European expats in the UK. Previously backing a no-deal scenario, Johnson is now attempting to pass an agreement with the EU which will see British citizens’ rights remain in place. However, many EU governments are requiring that their own citizens see the same rights they have been enjoying in the UK so far.

Expat fees frozen in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance, Mohammed Al Jadaan, has confirmed that there are no plans to increase fees for expats in 2020. Although the country is looking to grow economically, it does not plan to acquire any extra money from taxation or expat fees.

However, drastic measures will need to be taken to address the kingdom’s finances: Saudi Arabia currently operates at a deficit of $50bn per year, and this is set to remain the same in 2020 if current rates continue.

Expats in Turkey see out 2019 with a bang

Expats in Istanbul have a whole range of celebrations planned to mark the end of the decade this December. From karaoke nights to English standup comedy; international meetups to French bazaars; as well as Christmas pantomimes, pub quizzes and feliz navidad parties; Turkey has all the bases covered for expat socialising this winter.

Chiang Mai and Bangkok see rising costs of living

The cost of living for expats in Bangkok and Chiang Mai has increased recently, with their popularity as expat destinations finally on the turn. Currency fluctuations in both locations have meant that they no longer present such economically viable prospects; and alongside this, landlords have been taking advantage of a previously extremely popular expat market to line their pockets.

Claims of double rent being charged to expats, as well as the increasing costs and cultural changes associated with mass tourism, are beginning to take their toll on both destinations, rendering them less attractive to many expats than they have been in the past.

Study reveals where and why Germans move abroad

A new report in TheLocal.de shows that 180,000 Germans move abroad each year. Many move for work, although other reasons include quality of life, weather and education.

Switzerland is the most popular destination for German working expats, probably because of its close proximity and shared language; but increasing numbers of university-educated Germans are moving to English-speaking nations as well.

The study does not reveal how many Germans stay abroad for life, or for how long on average most people stay abroad; although around 130,000 Germans return to Germany each year.

Best small cities for expats revealed

If you like the idea of moving abroad and want the convenience of living in a city, but can’t quite stomach the hustle and bustle of New York or London, a recent study by Monocle might provide some ideas for you.

The study looked at small cities (with a population of roughly 200,000) around the world, comparing them on quality of life and ease of doing business.

In top place was Lausanne in Switzerland; although expensive, the fresh air and beautiful surroundings made it a popular choice. Boulder in Colorado, USA, came next, with expats drawn to its excellent university and media job opportunities. In third place was Bergen in Norway – another pricey choice – with arts and culture at the forefront of expats’ reasons for moving there.

The rest of the top ten was made up of Hobart, Australia; Chigasaki, Japan; Bolzano, Italy; Bordeaux, France; Innsbruck, Austria; Porto, Portugal; and Aachen, Germany.

The UK’s only entry was Bath, at number 19: a hub of education and culture, with a lot of history and beautiful architecture to boot.

Polish expats return home

The number of Polish people living abroad has decreased this year, with many expats moving home, particularly from the UK where the political situation has been causing unrest among many.

This is the first time that the number of people emigrating from Poland has fallen since 2001.

Price of living soars in Chad

Expats living in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city, are facing soaring prices as basic amenities increase above even the costs of living in London or San Francisco. Between the $2,000 price tag for basic accommodation – putting the city on par with London and New York – and safety concerns due to drought warnings, expats living in the country are largely looking to relocate.

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