Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Living as a permanent resident in Singapore

Singapore is receiving more and more recognition internationally as an excellent place to live and work, with many people actively seeking out opportunities there rather than being sent by their employer.

The financial opportunities there can be great – as we discovered in Expat Economics, where it came in 6th overall, and was one of a number of high performing economies in the East. It also scored well for lifestyle in Expat Experience. An interesting blog on describes how the author, Yves Nolin, moved to Singapore “to fulfil his own personal ambitions”, opting to become a permanent resident under Singaporean law.

Yves has given his insight into the reasons for living there, as well as the challenges of life there. As the popularity of Singapore and other regions increases, people’s first hand experience is often fascinating in its own right as well as being useful for anyone considering a move.

As always, we welcome written contributions from readers of this blog. Additionally, you’ll soon be able to contribute in a wider sense when we launch the Expat Explorer survey in 2010. The launch date is fast approaching and we’d really appreciate your input in helping make it the largest survey of its kind for the third year in a row! More details will be following on this blog in the next few weeks.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Crossing the cultural divide

For large organisations with operations in different countries, recruitment in different markets asks them to make decisions on the importance of local employment culture and their own standardised processes and consistency of service.

With growing competition as businesses and individuals become more able to seek out overseas opportunities, expat recruitment outsourcing is a growing business.

The Times recently took a look at how some organisations outsource their recruitment to regional agencies that specialise in a particular field and, importantly, in a particular market. They are familiar with everything from typical hiring processes to translation services to visa entry requirements.

Having looked last week at the surge in expat recruitment in India, it is interesting to see companies working to take advantage of potential surges in other regions of the world.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Retirement Visas

New Zealand is about to introduce retirement visas for British people looking to spend their golden years in the country, allowing those aged 65 and over to apply for residency. The ‘temporary retirement visa’ will be available to those who have no existing relationship or connections with New Zealand. Until now, New Zealand did not accept British migrants over the age of 65. Expat Telegraph reported it here.

Such visas exist for other countries (such as New Zealand’s neighbour, Australia) already, and they depend on the person being able to make a designated investment of a certain value. It ensures that these countries with a desirable pace and quality of life are able to capitalise on this, with everyone who seeks to settle down and enjoy the lifestyle required to give something back.

Cathrine Burnett, who works for the migration agency Migration Matters, has suggested that the cost may be prohibitive for some, saying “I would suggest pensioners consider applying for the visitor visa, which allows you to spend six months of the year in New Zealand. I like to describe it as an endless summer - summer in the northern hemisphere, then summer in the southern hemisphere. It doesn’t sound bad to me.”

It doesn’t sound bad to us either!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Expat recruitment surge in India

Apparently, in the past two years there has been a big increase in the number of expats and non-resident Indians by companies in India, as the demand for skilled professionals increases. Infrastructure development as well as improvements in areas such as healthcare and education is fuelling an ‘India growth story’, and relocation there is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition, also causing many who originally moved away from the country to consider a move back. Expatinfodesk covered this earlier in the week.

In the ever-more globalised world, trends amongst the expat community often give a good indication of the relative fortunes and prospects of various countries. India has recently established itself as the world’s second-fastest growing major economy. It can be seen from the reports how expats move to capitalise on growth areas, with development in emerging markets reflecting one of the key findings in our Expat Economics report last year.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Expats in Spain march to protect their holiday homes

Hundreds of British expats in Malaga, Spain, have staged a protest against the Spanish government which has ruled that their holiday homes have been built illegally and is moving to demolish them.

The regional authority appears to be committed to rescinding planning permission granted by the previous councils, many of whom were corrupt. The owners, many of whom are pensioners, were granted permission by councils incorrectly or in many cases, were sold properties by dishonest private sellers who had had their planning permission previously revoked.

This case illustrates the importance of knowing the area you are moving to, especially when making big investments such as property. What was once a dream move could soon turn into a legal headache! This story has sparked an interesting debate amongst readers on the Daily Mail website, which can be read here. Have any of our readers found themselves caught up in this issue?

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Not all plain sailing

Becoming an expat can be more difficult than staying put in your home country for a variety of reasons, and overcoming these challenges is very much a part of the overall experience.

British newspaper The Times recently looked at how British expats living in Spain can be “stymied by the language barrier”, even noticing differences within Spain that can be highly confusing to those not familiar with the language. Usefully for those individuals, Spanish civil servants are to work at the British consulates in Malaga and Alicante to help expats integrate with their local neighbours.

This has become particularly important given that a lot of British expats in Spain are not registered with local authorities and have relied on income sourced from back at home. As the pound has fallen against the euro in the economic downturn, the value of these investments has reduced significantly and many are facing an uphill struggle to maintain their lifestyle.

As the Spanish authorities begin to crack down, many have had to learn more about the rules and regulations and look at integrating themselves more thoroughly. This ‘challenge’ of expat life can also be seen as an opportunity.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Home politics

Expats relocate from their home country for many reasons – one of these may be directly or indirectly due to the political situation in their home country. Once distanced, it may be tempting to stay completely out of the affairs of the home state or on the other hand, a step back may actually improve the view of the political situation, allowing expats to keep an eye on developments and even inciting them to become more involved from their new home.

Recently, Iraqi expats in British Columbia were given the chance to participate in a landmark election that took place in their home country over the weekend. British political parties are gearing up for the general election this spring and this includes the Conservative Party reaching out for the expat vote, presumably hoping that those who left the country to emigrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or Europe will be interested in voting for a change in government back in the UK.

Obviously the political scene in these two countries is very different but the expat link is comparable. What do you think? Is it difficult for you to get interested in politics back home or are you now more engaged than ever? Is there a specific political event that is affecting you at the moment?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Offshore Offspring out today

Today we publish the final report to be drawn from the 2009 Expat Explorer survey, titled Offshore Offspring.

If you’ve ever visited Australia and thought it would make for a good country to raise your children in, then we can tell you that the expats who took part in our survey tend to agree with you, ranking it top of our report. Singapore scored highly for education and safety, whereas Hong Kong scored well for the relatively low cost of child care and a low general cost of raising children. The UK, in a reflection of the Expat Experience report in which it fared badly for overall quality of life, again ranks poorly based on expense, quality of childcare and education and other factors such as difficult overall integration.

This report is a little shorter than the earlier two in the series, Expat Economics and Expat Experience, as we had a smaller number of expats who had children. Despite this, there is still a good spread of countries from different areas of the world and some interesting angles on each. You can view the report here.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Offshore Offspring

Have you ever thought of taking your children overseas or have you already? What sort of additional considerations would affect your chosen country/location? The final instalment of our latest Expat Explorer survey, Offshore Offspring, looks at what expats with children have said about the countries in which they live, offering some valuable insight into where might suit your preferred lifestyle and expectations.

The report is being published this Wednesday and the findings are based on what expats have told us about childcare, education standards, social integration, cultural adaptation and healthiness of their children. We’ll link to it from this page and on so make sure you check back then to get all the details!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Same game, expat rules

Expat Daily News recently posted an article on how some expats have difficulty playing their favourite sport in a different country, not because it is not popular there, but because the rules or style of play that they are used to differ so much from the local version that they just can’t adjust.

If the expat is from a more developed country than the one they are residing in, there may be a tendency for them to want to teach the locals the ‘real’ rules. However, as the article describes, ‘expat rules’ will not always go down well!

If you want to succeed with the locals it may require a little adapting and innovation, and while we’re talking about sport here it applies in a more general sense as well. It’s true that the ability to bring the best out of the fusion of two cultures and different ways of doing things is often what will make a successful expat.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Establishing a business in Germany

Expat entrepreneurs looking to start up a business in Germany benefit from law that makes no ‘distinction between Germans and foreigners in the establishment of companies and no restrictions on the repatriation of profits’, according to this recent article on

The article gives advice specific to Germany as well as some more general advice that applies for anybody starting a business, especially one in a foreign country. Often there is a slightly different bureaucratic system that takes some learning, and the services of a financial or tax advisor will be essential.

In an ever more globalising world, and with mediums for sharing information such as the internet, there are increasingly more opportunities out there for expats. Guides such as this one can be very useful if you are planning something or even if you are interested speculatively – as seen by this one which is the most read article on Expatica at the moment!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Sporting pride

Canadians around the world were the last celebrating at the end of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, as they won gold in the final event - ice hockey - yesterday. They also made up for their early bad luck with an excellent haul of gold medals (14, compared with Germany’s 10 and USA’s 9) by the end of the games.

The Winnipeg Free Press
is amongst one of many publications and sites reporting on the celebrations, describing how expats in London turned Trafalgar Square red and white, and Canadian soldiers posted in Afghanistan cheered as fighters made a victory run in the skies overhead.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - there’s nothing like sporting competitions to bring out the national pride of expats!



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