Tuesday, 3 August 2010

To be or not to be…

Source: Origami_potato

Came across this interesting news story from the Globe and Mail which discusses an interesting aspect of expat life – whether or not you are required to give up your home citizenship whilst pursuing a life abroad.

The article focuses on the fact that the Canadian Government is only now beginning to grapple with “a world in which eight per cent of Canadian citizens live outside Canada’s borders.” According to a researcher who is featured in the piece, Canadian citizens who live abroad are actually punished by government policies. This includes no longer being permitted to vote in federal elections if you are a Canadian who has lived abroad for more than five years and the fact that Canadian citizens living outside the country must pay Canadian taxes unless they can prove they have no economic ties to Canada (which includes property or investments).

The researcher argues that these policies will in turn encourage global-minded Canadians to reduce their ties to Canada. The issue is, however, that many Canadians who live abroad may want to return home at some point and why not, especially when you consider the fact that their country has now featured No. 1 for lifestyle in the Expat Explorer reports for two years running. It’s an issue which isn’t specific to Canada either. Today’s Financial Times featured another story which focused on US citizens looking to renounce their US citizenship for similar reasons to those outlined above.

Whilst the decision to change your citizenship may make more sense especially if you are staying away for longer periods, what if that means you can never live and work again in your original home country? It’s not an easy decision to make. Although there are of course expats who may never want to return home, a significant proportion will always feel the pull of their homeland. If renouncing citizenship is a necessary evil, can that patriotic voice at the back of your mind simply be ignored for the promise of more favourable financial gain?

1 comment:

  1. It is sad that Canada is penalizing their citizens for living a life abroad. I would assume there are many who may live abroad for many years or even a decade or two but then come back. There will be others who never come back....but how will they know this for sure? It is as if the government is saying that to keep your rights you need to be at home which is the opposite of what is going on in the world today.....globalization.

    I have lived overseas for 11 years and am married to someone who isn't American. We may or may not return to the States but at this point we don't know. We are living as expats and not in a country where either of us have citizenship. If our countries turn their backs on us, then where would we go?

    I don't agree with paying full fledge taxes while living abroad but would be willing to pay some amount for the US services we get while abroad...

    ReplyDelete

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