Expat Focus Financial Update 25 October 2016

Brexit sparks rush for overseas jobs

The number of British people looking for jobs overseas has spiked after the Brexit vote, says one jobs portal.

Indeed says it has analysed millions of searches from UK-based jobseekers and those looking for work in Ireland have rocketed by 20% in the 100 days after the referendum result.However, Ireland is also a top destination for jobseekers living in other EU countries.

Indeed says it saw a 250% spike in the searches for work overseas in the 24 hours after the referendum result was announced and the level of interest for work and overseas has been sustained.

A spokesman for the website said: “We are seeing an increase in people looking for jobs outside of the UK after Brexit which is increasing and sustained and with Ireland being the only English-speaking EU member it is well-placed to attract more labour with flexible labour markets and fast growth.”

British jobseekers are also looking for work in Australia, which has seen a 13% increase and in Canada which has seen a 10% increase; the average figure for EU countries has seen job searches go up by 7%.

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Second language will boost expats’ prospects

Expats who can speak a second language will boost their job prospects, according to Adzuna, a jobs portal.

However, some of the languages listed on an applicant’s CV may be considered not as worthwhile while others will encourage employers to pay a premium.

According to the website, the most in demand language for British employers is German with the best salaries offered to fluent speakers averaging £34,500.

The site also reveals that the second most popular demand for speakers of a spoken language in the UK is Polish with employers increasingly looking for those who can communicate in the language with an average salary of £26,450.

Other languages sought by employers in the UK include French, Spanish and Italian, as well as Dutch and Welsh.

Employers outside of Europe are looking for language skills in Mandarin and Arabic while there’s still a demand for Russian and Japanese.

Spanish PM urges calm from expats

British expats living in Spain worried about their future the country have been told to ‘remain calm’ after the country’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy met with his British counterpart, Theresa May.

In a statement he said that the British expats’ interests would be looked after when it came to Brexit negotiations and he was also committed to defending the interests of Spanish expats living in the UK.

Surprise immigration curb announced by NZ

The numbers of immigrants allowed to settle in New Zealand will be restricted in a surprise announcement by the New Zealand government.

The agricultural and hospitality sectors have reacted to the news by saying they won’t have enough people to deliver what they need.

In addition to the numbers being restricted, New Zealand has also increased the number of points needed by a skilled migrant to achieve residency by 20 points.

Among the careers most affected by the change include restaurant managers and chefs.

The country is aiming to reduce the numbers of migrants who apply for permanent residency to between 85,000 to 95,000 from the current target of up to 100,000 over the next two years.

The announcement follows June’s revelation that New Zealand has approved 52,000 permanent residency applications in the year to June – the highest figure for 20 years.

Expats will ‘struggle in Singapore’

Expats working in Singapore may find the labour market tightening because of the financial slowdown with one human resources consultant telling a media outlet that demand for expats in the gas and oil sectors has fallen significantly.

Lee Quane works for consultancy ECA International and he said that demand for expats is shrinking but this slowdown is creating opportunities for Singaporeans instead.

However, this demand would be aimed at junior and middle management roles rather than for senior executives – who are still in demand around the world.

One survey last month revealed that for the first time in four years, there are more people looking for work in Singapore than there are jobs.

The finance and banking sectors have also seen a drop in demand for expats, particularly working in currency and commodity trading areas though employers are still looking for experienced expats in wealth management and fintech.

Mr Quane added that Singapore still offers young expats lots of opportunities for building experience in their chosen field.

British expats should expect contact from HMRC

British expats who have recently worked overseas should be prepare for a communication from HMRC after more than 100 tax authorities around the world began to swap financial information.

The move will see those expats with assets or money outside of the UK being contacted.

A spokesman for HMRC said they are using information supplied by more than 100 insurers, banks, asset wealth managers around the world to identify those who not paying what they owe in tax.

Failure to notify HMRC could see an expat facing a financial penalty of up to 200% of the tax they owe plus charges and interest. There could be other penalties based on the value of the expat’s offshore assets.

Self-employed expats are also being warned they are to be targeted if they have payment arrangements with offshore companies in a bid to avoid paying income tax as well as national insurance contributions on their earnings.

Concerned expats can use HMRC’s worldwide disclosure facility to get touch or use their tax adviser or accountant to do so.

Rankings of countries with the best quality of life

A study of European countries has revealed those with the best quality of life on offer and reveals that Finland tops the survey.

The study was conducted by EU Regional Social Progress Index which also rated Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands in the top bracket. The worst countries are said to be Romania and Bulgaria.

The report makes clear that Europe is a popular destination for expats from around the world and while those living in the European Union can move easily between countries, not all of them deliver the same quality of life.

The index looked at 28 EU states and 272 regions within them to develop their rankings based on opportunity, health, knowledge and education.

When the figures are broken down, living in a wealthy European country does not necessarily deliver the best quality-of-life.

So while Inner London is described as the continent’s richest region, it’s only ranked as being ‘distinctly average’ and Scotland is described as having the best quality of life within the United Kingdom.

Other underperformers in the rankings include Brussels, Athens and Prague.

Expats in France to benefit from new budget

The French government has unveiled plans for expat workers sent to France by their employer that would see them enjoying three extra years of tax benefits.

In addition, their employer would pay fewer payroll related taxes under the budget proposals submitted by the government.

Under the country’s ‘impatriate regime’, expats sent to France by a non-French employer currently enjoy income tax exemption on certain benefits and wages for up to five years.

The benefit also allows for an expat receiving bonuses as well as their living allowances to be free of tax and having the period extended to eight years could be a lucrative one.

However, the new rules would only cover those expats that have arrived in France since July 6 this year and Parliament has still to approve the budget.

Legal fights to challenge Brexit

Various groups are continuing to bring legal actions to have an impact on the Brexit vote.

One case in progress at the High Court is aimed at getting consent from Parliament before Article 50 is triggered without having to use a royal prerogative.

Legal campaigners say the Prime Minister Theresa May does not have the legal powers to trigger the leaving process from the EU and needs parliamentary authorisation before doing so.

Mrs May has revealed that she intends on notifying the EU by the end of March 2017 that the UK is leaving, but if the legal action succeeds it creates the possibility of MPs derailing the Brexit process.

The case has been brought by investment fund manager Gina Miller and she is being backed by the People’s Challenge which is crowdfunding its campaign for the courts to act along with a Spanish hairdresser based in London, Deir Dos Santos. There’s also the Fair Deal for Expats which is weighing into the legal case.

Expats in Thailand told of 'Dos' and 'Don'ts'

Since the passing away of Thailand’s King Bhumibol, media in the country have been publishing lists of dos and don’ts for expats living there.

Thailand has now entered a year-long mourning period and expats along with tourists have been told to dress appropriately which means avoiding party clothes and bright colours. Black and white, expats are being told, is best.

There are also warnings over modestly and to dress suitably including men to wear shirts rather than being topless.

Expats should also be wary of criticising the monarchy since there are laws governing this and they could get into serious trouble should someone take offence.

Expats who run businesses and tourists will find that events have been cancelled and many nightlife venues have been closed for the duration.

In other news…

Landlords in Kuwait have revealed a surge in expat teachers who have given notice to leave their accommodation after the government reduced its housing allowance from KD150 to KD60. One media outlet says flats larger than 90 square metres are most affected while small flats remain relatively unscathed.

Bahrain says it is bringing in a flexible work permit that will enable 10,000 illegal expats to work in the country. The new permit will allow expats to work for several employees for up to two years and is aimed at those who have been abused or exploited by a previous employer.

Kuwait has increased the salary cap required for expats to be granted a family visa from KD250 to KD450. However, expats currently living in Kuwait and have a residence visa could be exempt from the new rules.

Oman has announced it is cutting the red tape that prevents expats from switching jobs by following a trend in other GCC countries for removing the ‘no objection certificate’ rule. The move follows a demand from employers to do so to help compete with other countries for the best expat skills.

Qatar has announced changes to its visa rules by replacing its sponsorship system and is instead focusing on an expat staying there being purely contract based. Also, all expat contracts in the country will need to be replaced to comply with the new legislation and the current two-year ban for expats who want to return to Qatar after leaving will be abolished.

Expats with families should be aware that the most expensive childcare is found in the United Kingdom with a family spending around 33.8% of their net income doing so. The UK is followed by New Zealand where parents spent 29% of their income, then it’s Ireland, the US and Switzerland. The average, in the survey by the OECD, is 12.6% with the lowest ratios found in France and Germany where parents pay 9.7%.

Chinese expats who are missing the smog of Beijing can now enjoy a canister of ‘Beijing Air’ priced at £3 thanks to the efforts of British expat Dominic Johnson-Hill who is now selling hundreds of the cans to fill a surprising gap in the market.

The number of economically active expats working in Qatar fell in the second quarter of 2016 by 1.6%, according to the government. That equates to 30,000 people leaving the country.

Authorities say more than 300 expats living in Shanghai have applied for a new green card with 184 applications being approved. Under new rules, expats earning at least $97,000 and who have lived in the city for at least four years can apply for the card which was previously restricted to scientists, business executives and academics.


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