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United States > Articles

United States

New York City's Best Communities for Expats

Posted on Sunday March 17, 2013 (23:07:19)

To say that New York City has been a historically popular destination for expatriate professionals would be akin to saying that water is wet: since at least the middle half of the 20th century, the city has been the primary destination for trans-Atlantic émigrés and, indeed, for financial and communications media innovators from around the globe. Of course, given that there have been no massive Continental wars for over 60 years, the best and brightest of Europe have sought residence here in much lesser numbers than when prompted to move by these unparalleled historical disasters. On the other hand, though, the quality of transplants to the city from the developed or industrialized world is still quite high in terms of education and demonstrable talent, despite their now moving there "by design" rather than fleeing from nightmare worst-case scenarios.

The cost of living index for New York City can be daunting when compared to the U.S. - its rating here is over 160 when compared to the national average of 100 - but those well prepared to deal with this eventuality will find no shortage of neighborhoods in the city that cater to the needs of internationally-minded expatriate professionals.   more ...

Malaysia > Articles


Going Official: Working Visas in Malaysia

Posted on Sunday March 17, 2013 (20:04:16)

As of 2012, Malaysia ranks 30th in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (with the total GDP accounting for nearly $450 billion U.S.) Both its manufacturing base and its status as the global nexus of Islam-based finance have contributed to its present-day status, while the service sector is on the rise as well. Malaysia is also a reliable exporter of natural resources from petroleum to palm oil and rubber. All of this means that doing trade in Malaysia or being employed within the country is not an anomaly for expatriates, and has not been for some time.

Under the New Economic Policy of current Prime Minister (and Finance Minister) Najib Tun Razak, the three principles of "high income, sustainability and inclusiveness" are to be the driving engines of Malaysian economic growth, with emphasis on the latter being especially useful for expatriates. Indeed, employment quotas designed to benefit ethnic Malays are seemingly being phased out in favor of an embrace of foreign investment, and a permissive attitude toward majority share-holding by foreigners.   more ...

France > Articles


Best Neighborhoods in Paris for Expat Professionals

Posted on Sunday March 17, 2013 (19:59:22)
Paris as seen from the Eiffel Tower
Though most readers will know that world-class prestige does not come cheap, it is still worth mentioning the fact that residency in Paris can be at the pinnacle of the world 'cost of living' index. France, as a whole, remains the country with the world's most expensive residential property (La Leopolda Villa on the French Riviera, with a price tag of over half a billion U.S. dollars, is the most expensive single property on Earth.) Land within Paris itself has been estimated as having an average cost anywhere from $2,100 USD per square foot to $3,300 USD. U.S. residents bemoaning high land prices in that nation's most popular destinations have it easy in comparison - the average price per square foot in New York City is about half of the low estimate above - and Americans seeking out Parisian properties to rent or own will be quickly reminded that investing in a comparatively richer national history involves a comparatively higher price.   more ...

United Arab Emirates > Articles

United Arab Emirates

Property in Dubai - What Expats Should Know

Posted on Saturday March 16, 2013 (15:44:16)
Burj al Arab and the Quaid Madinat Jumeirah
For those with an eye and ear on international affairs, the very word 'Dubai' can conjure up images of an extravagant, hyper-modern dreamworld, defined by its bold "science fiction now" innovations in architecture and landscaping. Of course, there are certain lightning rods for attention, like the new underwater Water Discus hotel being developed by the state-owned Dubai World holding company, as well as the notorious Burj Al Arab hotel, which help to fuel this preconception: the latter hotel is often touted as "the world's only 7-star hotel" (despite "5 star deluxe" being the highest official rating given by the hospitality industry), boasting suites of two floors each.

Other much-discussed features of the local landscape include the manmade Palm Islands archipelago, in the midst of which another archipelago is designed to appear like a microcosm of the globe's continental land masses. With items like these in mind, it's understandable why many expect the whole of Dubai, including its residential areas, to live up to this standard of novelty and luxury.   more ...

Hong Kong > Articles

Hong Kong

Expat Having a Baby in Hong Kong?

Posted on Friday March 08, 2013 (16:23:21)

Depending on the situation in your country of origin, you may find several pleasant surprises related to medical care in Hong Kong. Quality is high and costs can be quite low relative to other developed countries. Public options are very affordable and luxurious private options are available for a hefty price.

If you have a Hong Kong ID—and all resident expats must have one—you qualify for public healthcare. This means you can use clinic and hospital facilities across Hong Kong. There are 41 hospitals, 49 specialist outpatient clinics, and 74 general outpatient clinics organized in seven clusters in Hong Kong, Kowloon, New Territories, and outlying islands.   more ...

Hong Kong > Articles

Hong Kong

State of the Property Market in Hong Kong

Posted on Thursday March 07, 2013 (22:23:24)
Hong Kong
The Hong Kong property market is vibrant, just like the city itself. With the Hong Kong dollar pegged to the US dollar, the property market somewhat follows US trends. At the very low current interest rates, along with very low supply, housing demand and prices are high.

It is possible for an expat to buy property in Hong Kong, but there are a number of barriers to entry. First is a factor that affects all potential buyers: the scarcity of properties available. Hong Kong is partly a small mountainous island after all, and the territory already has sections that have the densest population in the world (Mong Kok with 340,000 people/sq mile), so unoccupied land and properties are limited.   more ...

Singapore > Articles


Trends in the Singapore Job Market

Posted on Tuesday March 05, 2013 (01:13:55)

According to the Singapore Workforce 2012 report compiled by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the employment rate in the island city hit a new high in 2012, driven by strong job vacancy growth and a greater number of women and older workers in the workforce. The average unemployment rate has been around 2 percent for the last 10 years, which is considered low compared to even emerging countries in the region such as Vietnam and India. This may be surprising given that the country is small (thus offering limited opportunities) and has a high literacy rate of 96.1 percent which increases the competition for work. Even more impressive, 28.3 percent of the literate population has at least a degree-level education. With the global economy not doing well and the ruling Prime Minister warning its citizens of slowing growth, what are the coming trends for Singapore’s job market?   more ...

Hong Kong > Articles

Hong Kong

Domestic Help for Expats in Hong Kong

Posted on Sunday March 03, 2013 (19:04:40)

Many expats arrive in Hong Kong without ever having had domestic help—especially live-in. And they’ve never held the role of private employer, so they aren’t aware of their legal obligations as employers. While there are many differences of opinion about the benefits and concerns regarding hiring a helper or amah, we’ll focus here on the preparation and requirements so that the hiring process can be done correctly and efficiently and the ongoing relationship will comply with Hong Kong law.

The best way to find a helper is through a referral from another expat family that is leaving Hong Kong and wants to be sure the helper finds another “good family.” It may be possible to do this research long-distance via the Internet and then meet candidates on a househunting trip before your move. The helper you select may need to make a trip to her home before the start of the new contract with you. If this recruiting path isn’t possible, agencies in Hong Kong always have a candidate pool of helpers whose contracts have expired and are looking for placement before they are obligated to leave Hong Kong.   more ...

Singapore > Articles


Finding The Singapore District That Suits Your Needs

Posted on Tuesday February 19, 2013 (21:35:53)

Singapore is divided into 28 districts and the Central Business District is located within the central south area. While Singapore is a relatively small city, which means moving from one end to another probably takes a maximum of 2 hours, your lifestyle choices could determine which area you would prefer to live in.

Putting budget aside, you may want to consider your priorities to choose which district suits you best. Choosing to stay in the central area (district 1 to 9) clearly brings a lot of convenience in terms of being close to the major shopping districts, drinking holes and if your office is around this area, you could probably even walk to work! However, being central also means it is much more crowded, rental rates are significantly higher, and you probably will not get to experience how a real local lives in the ‘heartlands’ (Singaporean term for suburbs). If you love greenery, you can expect to see a concrete jungle out of your bedroom window instead of the lush, green garden city you so often hear about. If waking to the wonderful view of the sea is your fantasy, then the Marina Bay area could be your best bet.   more ...

Hong Kong > Articles

Hong Kong

How to Choose a School in Hong Kong

Posted on Tuesday February 19, 2013 (05:51:26)

For a family considering a move to Hong Kong, finding an appropriate school for your children has to be top of mind. Since most expat children will not arrive with Mandarin or Cantonese language skills, they will likely join the competition for limited spaces in international schools offering their home language.

The limitation is not so much related to the number of international schools, for there are quite a few: about 40 at primary level and 30 at secondary level. These numbers includes non-US and non-UK schools, many of which offer English as a primary language or have an English track in combination with the sponsoring country language or Mandarin.   more ...