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Expat Focus International News Update February 2020

Thailand scraps TM28 form's address reporting requirement

The controversial and widely unpopular TM28 address reporting requirement has been scrapped by the Thai government. Previously, anyone who stayed outside of their province for more than 24 hours was required to fill in a form to detail their activities, address and contact details.The government has dealt with the situation not by scrapping the form entirely, but by adding a substantial list of exceptions which in practice means that hardly anyone will have to fill out the form.

Expat pensioners moving back to the UK

In the wake of Brexit, record numbers of UK pensioners are now moving back to the UK, with the Telegraph reporting that the number of British expats in the EU has hit a five-year low.

Spain has seen the highest expat exodus, with over 1,500 British expats choosing to move back home last year.

Trend for buying deserted villages increases across Europe

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Increasing numbers of expats from around the world are buying deserted villages in Europe for nominal sums, renovating their properties and creating new and thriving communities.

France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland are among the countries that offer occasional opportunities to purchase and renovate these so-called ‘ghost towns.’

More expats banned from Oman

Continuing its Omanisation drive, the Sultanate has now decreed that sales representatives will not be allowed to renew their visas under new laws.

Sales reps can continue to work on their current visas, but once they have expired, they will be required to return home.

Kuwait cuts expat work permits

In related news, Kuwait has cut over 145,000 work permits for expats, aiming to provide more jobs for locals.

Expats leaving Hong Kong in record numbers

Increasing numbers of expats are leaving Hong Kong amid fears connected to the political protests there, as well as the coronavirus outbreak in China.

As schools close throughout the location, many expats are viewing it as a less than safe place to raise their children and are making enquiries about returning home.

British expats to be given the right to vote in UK elections

The UK’s Prime Minister has confirmed that British people who have lived abroad for more than fifteen years will retain their right to vote, according to a report in the Sun.

The change follows an intense series of campaigns by Harry Shindler, who lives in Italy. After fighting in World War II, Shindler retired abroad and has lived in Italy for over two decades.

Johnson’s letter to Shindler acknowledges the “strong ties” that Brits abroad still feel with their home country, and describes the government’s commitment to scrapping the rule that currently stops long-term expats from voting.

Singapore voted best destination for East Asian expats

ECA International have measured the popularity of a variety of destinations for East Asian expats, with Singapore coming out top for 2020. The top 20 also sees Brisbane and Sydney ranking highly, as well as the Japanese cities of Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo.

Denmark is the only destination to make it into the top ten, with Copenhagen creeping into ninth place, just ahead of Yokohama in Japan.

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