Expatriates

For other uses, see Expatriate (disambiguation).


An expatriate (sometimes shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person's upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex ("out of") and patria ("country, fatherland").

In common usage, the term is often used in the context of professionals or skilled workers sent abroad by their companies[1], rather than for all 'immigrants' or 'migrant workers'. The differentiation found in common usage usually comes down to socio-economic factors, so skilled professionals working in another country are described as expatriates, whereas a manual labourer who has moved to another country to earn more money might be labelled an 'immigrant' or 'migrant worker'.

There is no set definition and usage varies with context, for example the same person may be seen as an "expatriate" by his home country and a "migrant worker" where he works. Retirement abroad, in contrast, usually makes one an "expatriate".

Background

In the 19th century and early 20th century, many Americans, numbering perhaps in the thousands, were drawn to European cultural centers, especially Munich and Paris. The author Henry James, for instance, adopted England as his home while Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris.

The term 'expatriate' in some countries also has a legal context used for tax purposes. An expatriate living in a country can receive a favourable tax treatment. In this context a person can only be an expatriate if they move to a country other than their own to work with the intent of returning to their home country within a certain period. The number of years can vary per tax jurisdiction, but 5 years is the most commonly used maximum period. If you are not affected by taxes 3 years is normally the maximum time spent in one country.

"Expatriation" may sometimes be used to mean exile or denaturalization or renunciation of allegiance. The U.S. Expatriation Act of 1868 said in its preamble, 'the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'[2] Early Nazi Germany deprived many opponents of their citizenship, such as Albert Einstein, Oskar Maria Graf, Willy Brandt and Thomas Mann, often expatriating entire families.[3][4]

Trends in expatriation

During the latter half of the 20th century, expatriation was dominated by professionals sent by their employers to foreign subsidiaries or headquarters. Starting at the end of the 20th century globalization created a global market for skilled professionals and leveled the income of skilled professionals relative to cost of living while the income differences of the unskilled remained large. The cost of intercontinental travel had become sufficiently low such that employers not finding the skill in a local market could effectively turn to recruitment on a global scale.

This has created a different type of expatriate where commuter and short-term assignments are becoming more common and often used by organizations to supplement traditional expatriation.[5] Private motivation is becoming more relevant than company assignments. Families might often stay behind when work opportunities amount to months instead of years. The cultural impact of this trend is more significant. Traditional corporate expatriates did not integrate and commonly only associated with the elite of the country they were living in. Modern expatriates form a global middle class with shared work experiences in a multi-national corporation and working and living the global financial and economical centers. Integration is incomplete but strong cultural influences are transmitted. Middle class expatriates contain many re-migrants from emigration movements one or two generations earlier.

Where the initiative for expatriation does not come from employers but originates from individuals, management researchers describe this as self-initiated expatriation (SIE).[6] There are also expatriate executives that are appointed by local companies in distant countries rather than being posted there by foreign multinational corporations. Some Asian companies, for example, have recently hired a number of Western managers.[7][8] These executives can also be viewed as self-initiated expatriates.[9]

In Dubai the population is predominantly expatriates, from countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, with only 20% of the population made up of citizens.[10]

The continuing shift in expatriates has often been difficult to measure. According to UN statistics, more than 200 million people would be living outside of their home country in 2010. However, this number also includes economic migrants.

Expatriates qualify for and enjoy access to a wide range of financial products, investing offshore in products not restricted by the financial services or tax regulations in their home country or the place where they live now.[11]

In terms of influx of expatriates, the most popular expatriate destinations are currently Spain, followed by Germany and Britain.[12]

The

Europeans living abroad

In terms of outbound expatriation, as of 2009, the United Kingdom had the highest number of expatriates among developed OECD countries with more than three million British living abroad, followed by Germany and Italy.[14] On an annual basis, emigration from Britain has stood at about 400,000 per year for the past 10 years.[15] Expatriates from the UK have the advantage of being able to convert their existing pension scheme into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), often providing tax advantages in other countries with lower tax rates.[16]

U.S. citizens living abroad

During the Vietnam War about 100,000 American men went abroad to avoid the draft, 90% of them going to Canada.[17] There are currently an estimated 6 million Americans living outside the United States.[18] The US is the only industrialized country to tax citizens on income earned while living abroad, as evident in the listing under International taxation, even when those citizens are taxed by their countries of residence, though US citizens are allowed to exclude their first $97,600 (2013) of their EARNED income, but not of pensions and other sources of income. Additionally, a new 2010 US law known as FATCA requires expatriates to report any foreign bank accounts exceeding $50,000, with heavy fines for noncompliance.[19] American expatriates have also frequently been denied service at banks and other institutions in their countries of residence, as the US government requires other nations to abide by its banking and financial laws when dealing with its citizens. As a result, hundreds of US expatriates renounce their US citizenship every year.[20][21]

Human resource management of expatriate employees

The need to develop global leadership and the growth of new business ventures abroad has prompted a massive rise in global mobility.[22] The salary of internationally assigned personnel often consists of standard salary and monetary benefits such as cost of living and/or hardship allowances (COLA) supported by non-monetary incentives (e.g. housing and education). Some companies will completely cover the cost of expatriate children's education, even at relatively expensive international schools, while other, usually smaller companies, encourage families to find local schooling options.

Given that one of the primary reasons for early repatriation is attributed to a spouse or other family member’s inability to adjust,[23] international corporations often have a company-wide policy and coaching system that includes spouses at an earlier stage in the decision-making process. Not many companies provide any compensation for loss of income of expatriate spouses, although they often do provide other benefits and assistance. The level of support differs, ranging from offering a job-hunting course for spouses at the new location to full service partner support structures, run by volunteering spouses supported by the organization. An example of an expatriate-led project can be found in the Gracia Arts Project of Barcelona.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of using expatriate employees to staff international company subsidiaries.[24] Advantages include, permitting closer control and coordination of international subsidiaries and providing a broader global perspective. Disadvantages include high transfer costs, the possibility of encountering local government restrictions, and possibly creating a problem of adaptability to foreign environments.[25]

HR departments often use services of relocation companies, who assist expats in moving abroad as well as managing expat's related administrative issues such as: assignment management, financial management and reporting to name a few.

Expatriate Archive Centre

The Expatriate Archive Centre in The Hague (Netherlands) has a unique collection of letters, diaries, photographs and films documenting the social history of expatriate life. It collects journals, letters, diaries and photographs – in fact, almost any document from the past detailing the lives and experiences of people working and living away from their home country.

The Expatriate Archive’s purpose is to collect, preserve, promote, and make available to the public and researchers a collection of primary source materials documenting the social history of expatriate life. It aims to give a voice to the memories and experiences of expatriates of all nationalities from all over the world, and to establish a research resource for historians worldwide.

Expat Explorer Survey (2012)

Expat Explorer is the global survey of expats, undertaken by HSBC and conducted by third party research company YouGov. 5,339 expats were questioned through an online survey.[26]

The report covers three key aspects of expatriate life:

1. Expat Economics

Expat Economics focuses on how the economic situation differs for expats from country to country. Expat Economics Overall (includes: Wealth Hotspot, Income, Disposable Income, and Luxuries) [27]

  1.  Singapore 0.50
  2.  Bermuda 0.46
  3.  Thailand 0.45
  4.  Hong Kong 0.41
  5.  Cayman Islands 0.40
  6.  Mexico 0.38
  7.  China 0.35
  8.   Switzerland 0.33
  9.  Bahrain 0.31
  10.  Vietnam 0.30

2. Expat Experience

Expat Experience looks at an expatriate’s lifestyle, especially the ease with which expats can set up in their new country, how well they integrate into the local community, and their overall quality of life Expat Experience Overall (includes: Overall Setting Up, Overall Integration, and Overall Quality of Life) [27]

  1.  Cayman Islands 0.64
  2.  Thailand 0.58
  3.  Spain 0.58
  4.  Singapore 0.56
  5.  Malaysia 0.54
  6.  Mexico 0.53
  7.   Switzerland 0.52
  8.  Germany 0.52
  9.  South Africa 0.51
  10.  Australia 0.50

3. Raising Children Abroad

Raising Children Abroad looks at the perceptions of expatriate parents of the cost of raising children, the quality of education and childcare services, changes in children’s diet and activities after relocating, and the ease with which children are able to integrate into new cultures. Raising Children Abroad Overall (includes: Overall Offspring, Childcare, Health & Wellbeing, and Integration) [27]

  1.  Canada 0.52
  2.  Netherlands 0.52
  3.  Hong Kong 0.50
  4.  Australia 0.43

Expatriate preparation

About 40% of expatriates fail upon working in a new country. This is not due to incompetence in workplace skills or tasks, but rather to being unable to adapt to the foreign culture. That being said, the need for expatriate preparation is extremely high.[28] To prepare for success as an expatriate, decide where you want to go, who will accompany you, and how long you want to stay. Next, find a job in your country of desire. Finally, apply for the visa that you will need for your stay in that country.[29] In order to be adequately equipped, the future expatriate must acquire knowledge about the culture they are entering, as well as its differences. They must also become competent in cross culture communication. This does not happen immediately and adequate preparation time is needed before departing from one’s home country.[30] Some of the most psychologically challenging areas for expatriates are verbal communication , nonverbal communication behavior, and work styles. Communication is the most important aspect of these as it promotes benefits to psychological health.[28]

Before entering the host country, an expatriate must understand, appreciate and accept the values, norms, beliefs, and behavioral patterns of the host culture.[30][30] One way to acquire knowledge about the host country, is to take the Cognitive Approach.[30] This includes learning about the country through lecture-type orientation and fact-orientation.[30][30] This involves briefing of the environment and becoming oriented with the culture so that the expatriate may understand things such as the history, the geography, the religion, the people, and the economy.[30] One of the best ways to acquire knowledge about the culture is through experiences.[30] This can be done through experiential exercises and cultural assimilators.[30] One may undergo field simulations or attend assessment centers to take part in experiential training.[30] Other forms of experiential training include role-playing, and workshops.[30] Taking part in experiential training will allow the expatriate to develop a better understanding of the host culture and its details.[30] Field experiences can also be used to acquire more knowledge.[30] This is where the expatriate goes into another culture for a short period of time, to become accustomed to the feeling of being out of their homeland.[30] This will then contribute to the success of the expatriate.

See also

References

Further reading

External links

  • Expat Information website to India
  • Website of the Expatriate Archive Centre
  • Expat Advice - Help With Expat Finances
  • Expat Guide for moving into The Netherlands
  • Expatriates Magazine - Free Printed publication in France
  • InterNations - A Global Expatriate Network
  • Expatriate Topher - A Guide to Becoming an Expatriate
  • AngloInfo - online network providing local English-language information services to expatriates worldwide...
  • ExpatAmericans.net - news, resources, tax information, and profiles of expats.
  • Gateway Singapore - Expat Guide for in depth information of Singapore
  • Gateway Dubai - Expat Guide for in depth information of Dubai
  • Gateway Hong Kong - Expat Guide for in depth information of Hong Kong
  • Expatica.com - news, informations, tools for wannabe expats
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