How wary is Beijing of foreigners? Well you’ll have to decide for yourself. WSJ.com recently published a story about a production of the play “Oklahoma” that was almost not able to go on stage in Beijing:
Just an hour before the curtain was to go up on opening night May 18, a cast of foreign and local thespians were told that Beijing authorities wouldn’t allow their performance of the 1943 musical about two cowboys in love with a pair of farm girls.
Authorities cited a building-code violation at Beijing’s MAKO Arts Display Center. Although producers found two alternate venues, including an international school, they were forced to halve the number of public performances to five. Eight days late, the first shows went off without a hitch, with a full house Saturday and an 80% full house Sunday.
While the production had to be moved to other locations, at least the show did go on, as they say. Anyone have any thoughts about what happened to the production. Have you noticed anything similar in China or elsewhere?
Douglas Goldstein of Portfolio Resources International Group recently wrote an article for WSJ.com about advising expats on financial matters. In it he addresses many of the major financial issues that expats must concern themselves with while living overseas:
I’ve heard many horror stories of expats who received poor financial advice from advisers in the country in which they currently live. Clients are often told to put their money into some sort of foreign trust or foreign corporation, for example. Local advisers often will tell them not to pay U.S. taxes on the asset because they believe it will easily slide under the I.R.S.’s radar. However, all U.S. citizens with control over any account worth over $10,000 have to declare that account on their yearly reporting to the IRS –even if the money isn’t taxable. The U.S. government has recently gotten very rigorous about going after this type of tax evasion.
There are plenty of other articles to read in our Expat Finance guide and the Expat Tax and Finance section of our blog!
Here is an interesting take on expats and how their native government’s view them. Why not expats them succeed in other countries? The idea is to promote their new lives to promote investment back home. Sounds good to me:
Foreign governments that once viewed expatriates largely as a source of revenue just for the money they sent home to their families are starting to focus more on helping their citizens succeed in America — so they can invest more in their homeland.
Colombian officials say an informational fair they are holding this weekend at the South American nation’s consulate in New York will feature, for the first time, not just Colombian companies, but also American banks, U.S. universities and New York City government programs.
“Our government and those of other countries are starting to realize the importance of helping their communities get ahead in the United States,” said Janeth Gomez, owner of a small travel, check-cashing and package mailing agency in the Little Colombia section of Elizabeth, 15 miles from Manhattan.
What are the chances that the U.S. and British governments will ever aggressively pursue anything like this? Don’t hold your breath!
Expats in Greece have been front and center for one of the worst financial crises in the world. So what is their take on it? Living in Athens is memorable but can be difficult. Interesting that in the quick report added by this expat, there was no mention of the economy at all:
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you “dreamed” expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I will see new places and be safe. Meet new friends and find new challenges in my career.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
I saw many new places and I felt very safe. Making new friends was not easy, as many people around me had a different attitude towards marriage, parenthood and being a friend. The lanuage was difficult and communication by defult also. My career took on a new direction after a year, and original dreams of my career died very soon after landing in Greece…
Click the link above to finishing reading the brief report submitted by this expat in Greece. And don’t forget to submit your own Expat Dream vs. Reality Report!
It’s always interesting to hear or read an expat’s story about why and how they decided to move from one country to another. Sometimes we forget to look back and examine some of the most exciting expatriate stories of all. Huffingtonpost.com recently ran one such story, about how one story launched Walter Cronkite, who was an expat reporter in London, on a trajectory for international acclaim:
Along with Stars and Stripes’ Andy Rooney, the New York Herald Tribune’s Homer Bigart, and five other reporters, Cronkite was a charter member of “The Writing 69th,” the fraternity of American journalists trained by the Eighth Army Air Force in early ’43 to fly along on combat missions. That February morning, Bigart and Cronkite both took off from the 303rd Bomb Group’s base at Molesworth. Their respective B-17s emerged unscathed, but Rooney’s Flying Fortress absorbed a direct hit from flak, although it was able to safely land at its airdrome in Thurleigh. A B-24 carrying the New York Times’ Robert Perkins Post was shot down near the mission’s objective, the Kriegsmarine base at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Post was killed, a tragedy that abruptly disbanded the Writing 69th: the duty was far too dangerous.
I had never read that story about Cronkite, and I’m sure there are many other such stories that are lost or nearly forgotten. Do you know any? Share them!
Expats in Japan will have an easier time managing residency requirement with the recent elimination of the Gaijin Card:
New residents will instead be given a “residence card” similar to the ones Japanese citizens carry, except for a special marking designating the holder’s nationality. It’s part of a series of amendments to Japanese immigration law designed to create a simpler system for the government, and a way for foreigners to feel, well, slightly less alien.
One main change: foreign residents and Japanese nationals can sign up with the government under the same resident registration system, rather than filing under separate categories, as currently required. That means foreigners generally can handle more of their bureaucratic needs only with their local municipal office, reducing the need to deal with immigration authorities. The new law is also designed to make life easier for Japanese with non-Japanese spouses. The entire family can be registered in one system, and the foreign spouse can be listed as the head of the family. Under current law, those families have to register under two different systems.
The rationale behind the move is to make it much easier for foreign nationals that are not short-term visitors to Japan. Interesting, too, that the Japanese government has set a goal to increase the number of foreign nationals over the next several years.