Expat Focus Financial Update 30 May 2016

Where are expats moving to?

A new survey has revealed which countries expats are moving to – and where they are moving from.

The findings come from international relocation experts MoveHub, who analysed 180,000 client moves to find out who is going where, with some countries including the US, UK and Australia managing to make both lists.The firm says people are moving overseas for a variety of reasons but the most popular are those looking for a better quality of life, career progression, economic pressure and family ties. Others are looking for a lifestyle change and the chance to travel.

Of the expats who move for job opportunities, most are aged between 25 and 44 and account for one in three MoveHub inquiries.

The top five countries that expats are moving to are: France, UK, US, Australia and Spain.

The top five countries that expats are leaving are: UK, France, Australia, US and Ireland.

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When it came to the highest rate of professional expats leaving their home country over the past year, the UK racked up the highest number. Around 30% said they were leaving for a better quality of life, while 17% said they were moving to progress their career.

A surprising 54% of respondents said they were leaving the UK because of the weather, with many heading to sunnier climes – and 31% said high housing costs were making them leave.

UK expats are heading primarily to Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
However, French expats are in second place for their professionals leaving the country.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The global nature for business is creating a society that is less rooted in location and there’s a new generation which sees distance as being no impediment. While most opt for countries that have a shared language, there are many hundreds who learn a language and then move to live in a new culture.”

The report also reveals that the number of enquiries for an international move rose by 15% over the past year and looks set to continue increasing as ‘professional migrants’ explore a world full of opportunities.

Expats needed in Australia

The updated Skilled Occupation List that enables expats to move to Australia has just been released and comes into effect on 1 July.

Some roles on last year’s list have been removed while others have been added to help Australia meet its job needs over the coming 12 months.

There are now 189 jobs on the skilled independent visa list, 489 on the skilled regional provisional list and another 485 on the graduate temporary list.

In addition, Australia has also just published its consolidated sponsored occupations list, which has 190 jobs in the skilled nominated visa section, 457 under temporary work skilled and 186 for the employer-nominated scheme.

The jobs most in demand for expats include construction project manager, project builder, engineering manager, mining production manager and child care centre manager.

There are also jobs available for general and management accountants, auditors, actuaries, surveyors, materials engineers and quantity surveyors.

The expat jobs that have been removed from the list include mining engineer, metallurgist and petroleum engineer. Also, dental hygienists and technicians, environmental health officers as well as occupational health and safety advisers have been delisted.

Expats feel safe in Europe

A new survey has revealed that despite various terrorist attacks in recent months, expats say they feel safe living and working in Europe.

The findings come from relocation consultancy Mercer which analysed cities around the world for issues such as political stability, crime and effective police forces to find the safest for expats.

The top five are in Europe: in first place is Luxembourg, with the Swiss city of Bern in second place, followed by Helsinki, Zürich and Vienna.

The least safe places on the Mercer list are Baghdad and Damascus followed by Karachi and Nairobi.

Mercer says that when expats are looking at the reasons for accepting an overseas posting, personal safety is a crucial part of that process.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Despite terror attacks, an uncertain economic outlook and social unrest, for quality of living Europe scored top marks.”

He added that safety is also crucial for employers looking to post an employee overseas and those who have to live and work in less safe cities will be more expensive to relocate as a result.

Popular expat cities fared less well because of social unrest and worries over potential terror attacks, with Paris being placed in 71st position and London in 72nd. The highest ranking city from the Asia Pacific region is Singapore, and no US cities made the top 50 list.

HK expats lose generous packages

According to one real estate firm, there’s been a fall in interest from expats wanting to live in luxury rental properties in Hong Kong.

Jones Lang LaSalle says that in the first three months of 2016, just 7% of its clients were given a monthly budget to rent a property of more than $HK100,000 – that’s a dramatic fall of 31% for clients receiving the same budget in 2012.

Indeed, around 54% of clients have a budget of less than $HK30,000 which will pay for a small two-bedroom property in the Central district.

The firm also says that the number of clients in the finance sector who arrived in Hong Kong with generous corporate packages has halved in ten years.

Against this background, the property market in Hong Kong is still seeing values fall; they have fallen by 14% since last September and are set to drop another 25% this year. These falling asking prices will also affect rents coming up for renewal.

Another issue is that international finance and banking firms are reducing staff numbers.

Saudi's expat mobile workforce packs up

Indian expats make up the biggest proportion of foreigners working in Saudi Arabia’s mobile phone industry and most of them are now looking to leave the country.

The Ministry of Labor recently announced that expat workers in mobile phone shops must leave the country and their jobs must be taken by Saudis. Dozens of mobile phone shops have already closed and others are struggling to find Saudi workers to replace their expat staff.

Some expats are looking for alternative work but most appear to be packing their bags and returning home, according to media reports.

According to the Ministry, around half of the current expat workforce in mobile phone shops will be replaced within three months by Saudis and then in six months’ time all of their jobs will be taken by Saudis.

Expats living in Mexico

A new survey has revealed that there are around one million expats currently living in Mexico, with growing numbers heading there from East Asia.

The survey by hipertextual.com reveals the vast majority of foreigners are from the US at 738,000 people, and there are 77,000 people from Spain and 35,000 from Guatemala.

The most popular destinations for expats are Tijuana with 72,604 living there, followed by Juarez with 49,300 and Mexicali with 30,100.

However, the foreign born proportion of the Mexican population is still less than 0.9%. Its popularity for expats is growing though, with the number from China tripling over the past decade, while the rate of immigration there from Korea has increased by 12 times.

Of the European expats, after Spain the next largest group of immigrants are the French, Germans and Italians. Europeans tend to settle in larger cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

Expats targeted in Holland

Expats in Holland are being warned they are being targeted by Internet fraudsters claiming to be from the country’s immigration service with claims there is a problem with their residency permit and they need to pay to resolve the problem.

The criminals have apparently used personal information about the expats they are contacting, including their passport number, as well as personal details. Dozens have been contacted so far in a bid to extort money.

A spokesman for the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) said they have no idea how the criminals have obtained the expats’ personal data, but it would not be from their own files.

One Indian expat told a Dutch newspaper that the ‘civil servant’ contacting him sounded convincing and knew the man’s email address, the day he arrived in Holland as well as his passport number. The man also knew details of his wife’s visa too.

To help those who may have been targeted, the IND has set up a helpline which can be contacted on 08804 30470.

The news follows reports that refugees and expats in Canada, US and Australia have also been targeted by fraudsters in similar scams, with Syrian refugees in Canada being warned to hang up when receiving a call and then to contact their immigration office.

Expats returning home start businesses

Expats returning to the UK and immigrants are the most likely to start up a business than people who are born in the UK, says a new report.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor by Aston Business School says that those expats who have lived and worked abroad have a higher rate of starting their own business than those who have not worked overseas. Immigrants to the UK also have a high rate of starting their own enterprises.

A spokesman for the business school said: “The wider skills and experiences of returning migrants and immigrants may enable them to spot and then exploit opportunities readily. However, lifelong residents may find it easier to get a job than an immigrant.”

Their research revealed that 10.5% of expats returning to the UK start a business, and for immigrants the proportion is 15.4%. For the indigenous population, the business start-up rate is just 5.3%.

When the findings are compared with other countries, Britain heads Germany for more early stage entrepreneurial activity but it is still some way behind the US.

Saudi Arabia opens hospital doors

Expats living and working in Saudi Arabia can now use government-run hospitals for health treatment if they pay a fee and follow the rules and regulations of the centre.

The announcement comes from the Ministry of Health and has been made, in part, to help provide healthcare for expats who live and work in rural areas where there are no private hospitals available.

In addition, government run health centres cannot refuse to accept emergency cases and the order has now been passed to all Ministry-run health centres

In other expat news…

Pro-EU airline Ryanair is offering cheap flights to Brits wanting to return home to vote in the EU referendum on June 23. Flights start at £15.49 and the firm has spent a small fortune on advertising urging voters to vote ‘the right way’. However, Vote Leave says the campaign breaches anti-bribery laws and referendum rules.

US expats need to be aware of a fast approaching tax deadline for them to report their foreign accounts and assets. The 30 June deadline is for expats to file their Foreign Bank and Financial Report (FBAR) with more than 1 million filing last year. The deadline is for detailing foreign assets, no matter how small, and failure to report could lead to penalties and fines.

Pakistan’s prime minister Pervez Musharraf has urged Pakistani expats to invest in the country and says it’s an ideal destination for investment. The Prime Minister points to a 100% reliable gas and power supply across the country which is helping to boost Pakistan’s investment opportunities.

Expat spouses living in Oman who have set up a small business from their home could soon be investigated by the country’s police after a growing number of complaints about their illegal trading. Most of the spouses are on company visas and are prevented from working but growing numbers have set up small scale enterprises such as online cake baking firms.


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