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General

Expat Focus International News Update August 2017

  Posted Friday August 25, 2017 (09:17:05)   (330 Reads)

 

EU expats allowed to remain in UK

Plans have been outlined by the UK government that will enable EU expats to remain in the country after Brexit. Those who have lived in the UK for at least five years can apply for ‘settled status’.

The government says there are 3.3 million EU citizens living in the country, around 600,000 of whom are children, and they will be able to stay. The government says its aim is for EU citizens to be free to travel to and live in the UK under immigration plans being prepared by the Home Office. However, there will be a new permit system in place that will restrict the numbers of those wanting to migrate to the UK for work. British companies wanting to hire EU workers in the future will need to apply for a sponsorship permit.


New language requirements for expats in the US

A new law being proposed in the US will have a major impact on immigration by demanding that expats be able to speak English well.

Raise - which stands for Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment - would reduce the number of legal immigrants entering the US by 50% over the coming 10 years. However, the proposal is a long way from becoming law and Democrats say they will resist the plans in Congress.

Under the new law, the number of ‘Green Cards’ being offered will be reduced from the 1 million currently handed out every year to those over the age of 18, to just 500,000. In addition, the green cards will become points-based and will take into account expats’ age, education level and projected future salary. The idea is similar to the systems being used in Australia and Canada.

President Trump says the new points system would be used to prioritise English speakers who can support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will boost the US economy. There would be no means-tested federal welfare for immigrants heading to the US for five years after they arrive, and the priority for immigrants’ extended family members to gain a green card to enter the US would be removed.


Saudi Arabia further restricts expat opportunities

As part of the 'Saudisation' strategy, expats in Saudi Arabia have been told they will no longer be employed in five more job sectors. In addition to the mobile telecoms sector, expats will not be entitled to jobs in health, tourism, malls, temporary stands and Al-Qassim markets.

The move follows the creation of 8,000 jobs for Saudi nationals in the mobile telecoms sector, and the government says it aims to employ 33,000 Saudis in tourism by the end of 2018. The number of Saudis being employed in health centres and hospitals will increase from 75,000 to 93,000 over the next three years.

Meanwhile, after the amnesty for expats who have overstayed their visas in Saudi Arabia came to an end, the country has unveiled severe penalties for those found working there illegally. They include the prospect of deportation, a large fine and the potential for six months in prison.

News outlets in the kingdom report the government is encouraging citizens to report expats who are breaking the law to authorities in return for a 50,000-riyal (£10,400/$13,332) bounty. The government has also announced that expats without a work permit and found breaking the law for the first time will face a fine of 10,000 riyals (£2,080/$2,666) and be deported. Expats who are offending for the second time will face a fine of 25,000 riyals (£5,200/$6,666), a one -month jail sentence and then deportation.

The move follows the end of the kingdom’s amnesty when expats could leave the country without facing a penalty. 600,000 expats took up the opportunity, with just 14,000 of them opting to return with their paperwork in order.


Best countries for highly skilled expats

The countries that are best at attracting highly skilled expats have been revealed by using data from the UN's International Migration Report.

Consulting firm KDM Engineering looked at companies’ ability to attract people and their access to training and education, as well as the quality of life being offered. Their findings reveal that the best three countries in the world for attracting highly skilled talents are Switzerland, Singapore and the UK.

The analysis also looked at relevant feeder countries, with Germany, the US and UK all featuring prominently in the list. The top 10 best countries for attracting skilled expat talent sees the US in fourth place followed by Sweden, Australia, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland and Norway.


Qatar approves permanent residency for expats

Expats living in Qatar could soon be entitled to permanent residency in the country under strict criteria. A new law will extend residency to the children of Qatari women who have married expats and also to some expats as well.

Qatar will be the first Gulf Arab state to introduce permanent residency for expats living there. Among the criteria for qualification are 'providing outstanding services' to the country. Those who receive permanent residency will be entitled to free state healthcare and education and be allowed to own property and run businesses.

The proposals have been warmly welcomed by expats living in Qatar, with local news outlets featuring expats who want to remain in the country.

Meanwhile, Qatar has also unveiled plans for visa free entry for citizens from 80 countries. The new visa exemption scheme will make Qatar the region's 'most open country'.

The countries eligible for the new scheme include the United States and several countries in Europe, as well as South Africa and New Zealand. Visitors from these locations will only need a valid passport to enter the country. The rules will see nationals from 33 countries being allowed to stay for 180 days, while citizens from another 47 countries will be able to stay for 30 days.


Young professionals increasingly looking to work overseas

Growing numbers of young professionals are looking to work overseas, according to a firm of relocation experts.

Movehub says that enquiries for moving between countries from those aged between 18 and 35 went up by 60% over the past year. A spokesman for the firm said many young people have few ties to hold them back, and they are often attracted by better job prospects as well as improved financial benefits.

However, the top three traditional expat destinations, the US, the UK and Australia, have all seen a fall in enquiries. The spokesman said: “The UK has seen the biggest hit for inbound international moves which fell by 22%, while Australia has seen 6% fewer expats arriving suggesting that the high cost of living in those countries is forcing many to consider an alternative destination.”

The firm says the next most popular countries for attracting expats are Spain and Canada. The top 10 also sees France, New Zealand and Germany, with the increasingly popular Portugal in 10th place.

The survey also reveals that the most popular cities for all expats in 2017 are New York, London, Sydney, Dubai, and Dublin.


Expat mental health a concern

The mental health of expats working overseas is increasingly affecting their assignments’ success and concerning employers, a study reveals.

The findings from AXA Global reveal that employers are growing concerned about the number of assignments that fail due to mental health problems. When questioned, 68% of multinational companies said they were worried about the issue of mental health, and 21% of employers said they were 'very concerned'.

The research was conducted among 250 multinational employers in eight countries, and found that 11% of all overseas assignments failed due to personal reasons. In comparison, 8% of assignments are terminated for commercial reasons.

Among the most common challenges are family concerns, which account for 54% of terminations, expat ill health in 42% of cases, and 28% of expats say they found it difficult to adapt to a foreign culture.

The survey also found that the strains and stresses of working overseas are growing, with 43% of expats saying that hostility to foreign employees has grown since they arrived in their country. However, 38% said hostility was unchanged and 19% said it had diminished.

For expats working in the USA, 82% of employees said that attitudes towards foreign workers have become more unwelcoming and hostile. 56% of expats in Hong Kong, 54% in Singapore and 53% in the UK also report growing problems with hostility. This is leading to 27% of multinational firms saying they are worried about the safety and security of their staff.

The chief executive of Axa's healthcare team, Tom Wilkinson, said: “Helping staff maintain good well-being and mental health should be important and while working overseas can be rewarding and exciting, it can also be isolating and challenging without the right packages and support network in place.”


In other news…

Saudi Arabia's Department of Passports has moved to reassure expats working and living in the kingdom that dependents on visitors’ visas will not have to pay extra fees to enter the country. Expats currently pay an annual fee for their dependents when they renew their residency permits.

Expats in Kuwait may be worried about the latest call from an MP for a 10-year cap on expat employment. Exemptions would be a possibility but only in 'exceptional cases', as the government strives to help Kuwaitis find work.

The number of expats working in Oman in the 10 years to 2016 reached 1.8 million people, the government has revealed.

A new strategy is being unveiled from the Welsh government to connect with Welsh expats around the world. One MP in the country's parliament says that Wales would benefit from strengthening relations with its citizens living overseas or those who have a Welsh background living in foreign countries.

The annual meeting of Swiss Abroad expats in Basel saw the country's Interior Minister Alain Berset praise the expertise and experience of Swiss expats. Nearly 400 expats heard him say the world benefited from their values and traditions.

The Labour Force survey in Saudi Arabia has revealed that there are more than 10 million expats working in the country. 3 million of them are Indians, 2.5 million are Pakistanis and 2.2 million come from Egypt.

The number of male expats working in Kuwait accounts for 68% of the expat population, according to official statistics. The country issued 2.7 million residency permits last year and Kuwait says the number of expats working there will reach 3 million by 2021.

Expats working in Venezuela's oil industry are increasingly being removed from the country by their employers worried about the ongoing political unrest, say news outlets there.

Universities in the UK are ranked in first place by international students for their overall satisfaction levels, according to the International Student Barometer. The survey reveals that 91% of international students were satisfied with experience of studying and living in the UK.

According to No1 Currency, the cost of spending a gap year in Australia is now becoming too expensive for British expats thanks to the value of the pound, but Cambodia and India still offer great value.

The population of New Zealand is expanding so quickly that the government is offering expat Kiwis and foreign teachers a $7,000 incentive to teach in the country. The first choice is for Kiwi teachers to return home to help fill empty teaching posts in Auckland, particularly in science.


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