As any expat will tell you, visas are an often problematic aspect of living in another country. For the most part, it doesn’t matter which countries are involved. To be there legally, there are procedures and deadlines that must be followed.
So what are some examples? A recent WSJ.com article highlights what some young expats in China must do every so often in order to maintain their work visas:
Beijing and other Chinese cities are magnets for young expats in the way that Paris was after World War I and Prague was after the Cold War. The dollar is still strong, jobs are plentiful and the bar scene vibrant. “It’s not hard to teach English in China,” says James Schiffer, a 25-year-old Oregonian, who returned home last year after three years in China. “If you have a white face and a pulse, you can get a job.”
Many of the 20-somethings either have tourist or business-meeting visas that are good for a year, but require holders to leave the country every two or three months to be renewed—a requirement aimed at preventing visitors from settling down and taking jobs without the proper work visa. To get around that, young people make dashes to the border before their visas are set to expire, sometimes spending just enough time to get a foreign stamp in their passport before heading back to China.
Understanding the details involved with legal residency and work status is almost always difficult and can change on a dime without much – if any – notice. It’s always wise to stay in touch with your consulate or any other agency that you know will keep you abreast of any changes in policy.
Expat Exchange has registered a significant increase in users who are seeking to find another country to spend their retirement years. Many reasons are cited – an international experience, better weather, cost of living, among others – but the number of such individuals on our site have definitely gone up. Here is a recent article by U.S. News and World Report about how to retire in stages offers one approach to moving abroad once it’s time – or almost time – to wrap up your career:
Selling everything you own and leaving your home, family, and friends may seem like a bold, intimidating, and even ridiculous idea. Maybe you don’t want to sell your house or be a plane ride away from your grandchildren all year long. Perhaps you have business or family responsibilities in the U.S. that would make it inconvenient to reside overseas full time. Or maybe you’re not looking to leave home, but to escape winter and to organize your life so that you never have to shovel another driveway. These are all good reasons to retire overseas part-time.
If you think you might live abroad as a retiree – ever – there is no time like the present to start to learn about the factors that might be involved. Stop by our Global Expat Forum to ask some questions about life in another country as an expat, not a tourist!
High Value Expats were the subject of one of our Expat Blog posts last week. In it, we noted an article about the city of Sydney, Australia targeting talented foreigners to help improve their economy.
It appears that U.S. Senator Chuck Shumer doesn’t quite agree with the strategy. At the time of its passage, he celebrated a 2010 law that adds significant costs to H1-B and L1-B visas, which enable skilled foreign workers to come to the U.S. In a Review and Outlook article on WSJ.com about the visa measure’s implications for trade with India, he is quoted in part of the following excerpt as follows:
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, co-author of the law, didn’t leave much doubt as to legislative intent: “The emergency border funds will be paid for by assessing fees on foreign companies known as chop shops that outsource good, high-paying American technology jobs to lower wage, temporary immigrant workers from other countries.” The law targets firms that operate in the U.S. with more than 50% of employees on work visas, by nearly doubling the fee to $4,500 per visa application. It has mainly affected Indian firms like Infosys and Wipro, which bring engineers and programmers from India to work in their U.S. offices. They have paid an estimated $200 million in extra fees.
The article notes that so far India recently stated it will appeal to the World Trade Organization (recently), rather than retaliate against U.S. expats with similar measures.
Should the U.S. continue with this policy, or has it gone too far? What would be a better way to address the issue? If the WTO turns away the Indian government’s appeal, will India retaliate unilaterally?
Are you a “high value” expat, as highlighted in this article from Telegraph.co.uk?
We often hear about these elusive creatures, yet governments the world over can’t seem to get enough of them.
Australia – the city of Sydney in particular – is the latest hunter on the trail of these much sought after individuals:
Andrew Stoner, minister for trade and investment for NSW, said: “We want the best and brightest from around the world to help fill skills shortages and turn our economy around. Overseas migrants, foreign students and visitors are needed in NSW to help establish international relationships which support our cultural and economic links.”
It would be great to hear from expats out there that have taken advantage of such programs, regardless of the country involved. What were the skills you possessed, and how did you leverage them to create an expat lifestyle for yourself?
Many people want to spend a significant time abroad, but they don’t want to be expats in any one specific location for an extended period of time. As highlighted in a recent article on WSJ.com, Home exchanges are a great option for people that are interested in this type of lifestyle.
Here are a few excerpts from the article, in which a California couple’s home exchanges are highlighted:
Exchanging homes involves some negotiating. Your leverage depends on the desirability of the home you have to exchange. In the U.S., New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are favorites of international exchangers. After that, there is a second tier of cities, which includes San Diego.
Before you can embark upon a home exchange, it’s important to think about the conditions you are willing to agree to with those that will be coming to your home to stay:
Exchangers specify their conditions. For example, we won’t accept pets, children, smokers or more than two people in our home. About 80% of exchangers have children, which limits our universe of exchangers. That said, if we want an exchange to a specific home strongly enough, we try to be flexible.
Please share any experiences you have had with home exchanges, or even any third-party stories that have heard!
American Expats are often “treated” to a heavy dose of opinions about the United States. The Associate Press decided to ask foreign policy experts in several countries about America. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Along with its pervasive social media, the United States leads in myriad other ways — from the allure of its movies and music to the reach of its military. It’s tough to match a nation that deploys troops to Australia and central Africa, propels Beyonce to global stardom, and produced the Twitter-style technologies that abetted the Arab Spring.
“American entrepreneurs are defining the digital age,” said Harald Leibrecht, the German government’s coordinator for U.S. relations. “And when looking for the ‘next big thing,’ we very much expect it to come from over the Atlantic as well.”
So what’s with all the talk about America in decline? There seems to be a forest’s worth of recent books raising that possibility, with gloomy titles such as “That Used to be Us.” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested that President Barack Obama considers the U.S. “just another nation.”
In the article, experts from Russia, Japan and China, among others, share their opinion not just on where America stands, but where the world as a whole might be headed. Surely this is highly relevant to expats!
Expats often scramble to register to vote or mail their absentee ballots on time. Well, in case you haven’t heard, there is a big U.S. election this November. If you are interested in exercising your “civic duty” in the fall, now is the time to register!
The Overseas Vote Foundation is a great place to do just that. To give you a better understanding of exactly who this group is and what they do, here is a summary from their About OVF section:
If you are an overseas or military voter, OVF’s goal is to make it easy for you to get your ballot and vote. If you are an elections administrator, OVF can assist you to better serve overseas and military voters by providing you with state-of-the-art online systems that meet their challenging voting needs…
OVF is not connected in any way with any US government or US military organization. OVF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public charity incorporated in Delaware.
If you are a Democrat, you can also visit Democrats Abroad, and if you are a Republican you can visit Republicans Abroad.
Be sure to get registered so your voice can be heard in November. Expats have a lot of important issues to consider, so make sure you do your research and be an informed voter!