According the most recent HSBC Explorer survey, Expats just love Southeast Asia… unless there are children in tow.
The results of an HSBC Bank online survey of more than 3,500 expats in 31 countries around the world unveiled Monday ranked Singapore as the top overall destination for expatriates, followed by Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, the United States and Australia.
However if you take out the criteria connected to raising children abroad and recalculate the survey results on HSBC Expat Explorer’s website then four of the top eight in the rankings are in Southeast Asia. Thailand is at the top, followed by Singapore in third, Malaysia in seventh and the Philippines in eighth. The other countries of the top 10 without children include Switzerland and Mexico and are from all over the globe.
One of the main reasons expats feel richer in this region is they get more bang for their buck.
The linked article on WSJ.com goes on to report that there actually wasn’t enough data to conclude whether or not several of the countries would rank high for expats with children.
In our Moving Overseas Report Series, over 200 expats have shared insight about how to find the best neighborhood when moving abroad. Proximity to schools, work, grocery stores, social venues are often factors that expats take into consideration when making their decision.
Many expats advise that newcomers stay in short-term housing before buying a home or signing a longer lease. An Expat Exchange member who moved to Portugal explained:
“You must be here for some time – a month or two – before you select your home. Walk the many neighborhoods, see what amenities are around you, and work with a local realtor who comes recommended. If you like a quiet, more rural life, there are many villages and towns that meet this need. A good urban life is in Lisboa, and the coast just outside of Lisboa offers access to everything.” Read more about moving to Portugal.
Another expat in Panama City, Panama advised:
“Get a feel for the area by driving around, gauging traffic (it’s terrible in Panama), checking out amenities and entertainment nearby. Stay away from the casino and nighlife streets as the noise and activity (bad and good) is constant all week. Paitilla and Pacifica are close enough so you can sleep in peace and get to your favorite club or casino in 15 minutes.” Read more about moving to Panama City, Panama.
For an expat living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia offered valuable insight:
“Watch for location of Mosques, visit you “new” villa during prayer time so you can see how loud it is or how busy the streets become on a Friday morning. Neighbours, I am not a stereotypical person and I love everyone.. until there kids are playing on your doorstep at 3 am or there parties have the police next door.. this is not scary at home, but here it may invite unwelcome complications. Though most officers are understanding.” Read more about moving to Riyadh.
What advice do you have for newcomers? What factors made you choose your town or neighborhood? Share your experiences in our Moving Overseas Report.
Expatriates in Egypt obviously are in a precarious position given the political unrest that has wracked the Middle Eastern country over the last several days. Here is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article that relates what expatriates at the airport in Cairo are experiencing:
The American Embassy announced that, starting Monday, it was organizing chartered flights to evacuate its citizens “to safe-haven locations” in Europe. It urged Americans in Egypt to “consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so.”
An estimated 90,000 Americans live and work in Egypt, most in cities now roiled by antigovernment protests, looting and a military presence that includes tanks and helicopters. By some estimates, 100 people have been killed during the six days of demonstrations.
Hundreds of expatriates and tourists were stranded in their homes, hotels or at the airport. Mirianna Gaitani, 30, a photographer from Crete who is vacationing in Egypt, said her hotel, the Atel Concorde, had earlier prohibited her and her three friends from leaving because of the tumult on the streets.
This is another one of those situations, and there have been many since ExpatExchange.com launched in 1997, that can best described as an expat’s worst nightmare. Whether or not an expat has made appropriate preparations and received relevant training now comes into play. It’s another reminder for all of us involved with the expatriate experience that being proactive matters.
Here is another article from WSJ.com that updates the steps being taken by the U.S. State Department for Americans in Egypt.
How is the world economy – for better or worse – affecting expats throughout the world?
Well, it seems the impact it is having on expats from Australia is to make them want to go home.
What kinds of changes could spur a nation’s expats to abandon the expatriate experience and head for home, and what might that do for Australia:
The strong dollar, solid economy and quality of life here are behind the influx, experts say.
Brian Haratsis, chief executive of strategic consulting group MacroPlan, said the brain drain was over. “There are around one million Australians currently overseas and with economic conditions as they are, we could see half of them heading back home,” he said. An even bigger spike in talent would result from temporary workers settling here.
What do expats say – or do – about conditions that inspire them to go home? Clearly some expatriates enter into the international workplace because it will benefit them financially. What happens when that changes mid assignment? Does the “experience” of being an expat win out? Or not?
We’ve read recently that many expats from the U.K. do not have an interest in a return to their native land. Now, Telegraph.co.uk is reporting that there are an increasing number of Britons looking for work abroad:
According to IntaPeople, an IT recruitment company which places employees throughout the UK, Middle East and Europe, online searches for overseas work rose to over two million in the third quarter – a rise of nearly 16 per cent on quarter two.
The three most popular destinations for job seekers were Australia, Dubai and Canada respectively.
It’s an interesting development and will be even more so if it actually turns into an actual trend.
Expats often don’t know exactly how to start the process of moving overseas – or even researching the possibility of moving overseas.
ExpatExchange.com member Russell has posted his thoughts on what one should do first when moving to another country. Here are a few of his thoughts:
We attended immigration fairs, signed up to expat forums, spoke with distant relatives in our chosen new home, and undertook endless research on the web. This culminated in a fact-finding trip to Vancouver to research areas to live in, jobs to work at, and things to see and do. We were ready to go. However, the Canadian authorities were not ready for us to go. In fact, little did we know it but we were two whole years away from getting our visas. Two years of endless waiting, total frustration, and a complete lack of communication from the powers-that-be. There was nothing more we could do but wait.
At the end of his post, he adds a short list of his thoughts as to what one should do first when moving overseas. Here’s number 5 from his list:
5. Be brave. Loved ones will be upset/angry/annoyed, friends may question your decision, and work colleagues will think you’re mad. Keep reminding yourself of the reasons for leaving and stay the course in search of your better life.
This type of direct insight from people that currently live abroad, or have recently, is what makes our members so valuable to one another!
It’s often noted by expats – and hence on ExpatExchange.com – that there are innumerable ways to create a new life outside of your home country. Just as there are an endless number of lifestyles in the U.S. and the U.K., so it is with a vast majority of nations to which expats choose to relocate.
As noted here on IndiaTimes.com, India is one such nation where expats have now embraced a number of different lifestyles there. While in the past we had visions of expats in India that were either government employees or corporate executives, they now are more likely to have really integrated into the local culture and economy.
It would be interesting to assess the psychological impact of truly attempting (and succeeding) at integration in India versus those that remain more isolated from the local culture (as in the past). Research has shown that the cultural distance of the host nation is an important factor, and one wonders how the different aspects of economic development in India plays into cultural integration for expats there.
We received information about a new international mobility survey, and thought expats would be interested in it:
Research conducted by ESCP Europe Business School (in London) for the Hydrogen Group was recently launched.
Here are the top line findings:
- Mid- to senior-level professionals are highly mobile high flyers, with some 94 percent of respondents either already working abroad or interested in doing so. They see international experience as a key means of fast-tracking their careers and boosting their personal development; greater earning potential is not in itself a top priority for this demographic.
- The economic downturn is not a major factor in middle- and senior-level professionals’ mobility, with 60 percent of respondents stating it had no impact at all on their willingness to move overseas.
- In contrast to research into migration of lower skilled workers, for this demographic moving abroad is not about escaping recession. Their preference is for temporary periods abroad, not permanent relocation, with 64 percent of respondents willing to work in another country for up to five years.
- The US, UK and Australia are consistently the top countries preferred by this demographic – though in most cases the popularity of certain countries does not correlate with where recruitment demand is greatest (for many sectors, the Middle East and Asia, for example).
- While more men say they would definitely move abroad, more women are actually in jobs overseas.
Shockingly, almost a quarter million British expats in New Zealand could not vote in last week’s election. Apparently, there is no recourse for these or other expats elsewhere in the world that did not receive their ballots. Officials blame Iceland’s eruption for the delay in delivery of the ballots.
More Trouble in Andalusia for British Expats
Some British expats in the Andalusia region of Spain have once again received bad news about the prospect of having their homes demolished. As reported in Telegraph.co.uk, there are a large number of British expats that want to leave the country and warn others to think carefully before deciding to take the Spanish plunge.
Expats face a variety of different stressors. From the move abroad, finding friends, transitioning to a new job – or to a life without one – there are just all kinds of adjustments that can cause stress or anxiety.
A familiar problem at home can be even worse after moving overseas, especially for expats in Asia. ORC Worldwide recently conducted a survey highlighted by Telegraph.co.uk found that expatriates in several Asian locations believe traffic is their biggest problem:
The report suggested that in many cities, such as Mumbai, traffic is caused by poorly maintained roads and poor driving standards. However, there are often more complicated causes. Geoffrey W. Latta, executive vice president, said: “For example, ORC’s location evaluation report for Tokyo cites roads as being well maintained and traffic rules generally respected. However, the lengthy distance into the city from some suburbs can make driving slow and frustrating.”
Many expats might think, well, if that’s the case I’ll just get a driver. Unfortunately, that wasn’t necessarily the case:
Some international employers attempt to ease the stress caused by traffic delays by providing a car with a driver for their expatriate workers. However, this was applicable for only a small number of participants in the ORC survey, and varied considerably by region.
It’s one of the challenges expats face that they have a limited amount of control over. Better to focus on the things that you do have control over and attempt to find some level of humor in the situation!