Expat News Roundup - week 51, 2012

Posted on 17/12/2012

There’s no shortage of employment-related expat news this week - some good and some less so.

Starting with the bad news, job opportunities are likely to be more scare in Russia in the coming year due to quota changes. Meanwhile, the controversial new expat labor laws in Saudi Arabia may result in reduced income for expat employees, as companies try to pass on their extra costs.

Good employment news comes from Canada this week, with the announcement of a new residency initiative to attract skilled expats.

Finally, we have interesting information to report as a result of two recent expat surveys: one concentrating on investments, and another on the life of expats in the USA.

Expats Continue to Favor Traditional Investments

UK newspaper The Telegraph reports this week that expats continue to concentrate on traditional investments such as property and shares. “Alternative” investments such as antiques and fine art are only of interest to 13-percent of individuals.

The figures come from a recent survey of “Internationally Mobile Wealthy Individuals.” These are expats with investible assets in excess of $1 million.

Amongst an array of interesting findings, the report discovered that real estate investment is far more popular in Asia than in the US and Europe, and that wealthy expats residing in Singapore and the UK often have three or more personal properties.


Canada Aiming to Attract Skilled Individuals

Prospective expats considering Canada as a potential destination will be pleased to hear of a relaxation to immigration rules, due to a shortage of skilled tradespeople.

From January 2013, there will be a new permanent residency initiative aimed at tradespeople, including welders, electricians and mechanics.

The Canadian authorities plan to grant permanent residency to 3000 new expats in the first year alone. Qualification requirements include the need for a confirmed job offer in Canada or competency certificate, and a minimum of two years relevant experience.


New Saudi Expat Law Still Under Fire

The new expat labor laws in Saudi Arabia continue to attract controversy.

Recently introduced laws are intended to reduce unemployment amongst natives by financially penalizing companies who employ a surplus of foreign workers.

The Saudi Gazette reports that many companies are planning to pass the extra costs on to employees or customers, resulting in poor value for consumers and less attractive working conditions.

Business leaders are predicting a negative effect on the Saudi economy.


Fewer Expat Jobs in Russia

There’s bad news for expats in Russia this week. The Moscow News has reported a significant drop in job quotas for foreign workers.

The cuts primarily affect those in middle management positions, and include a drop of 12.8 percent in science and engineering. The reason for the reduction in these quotas is thought to be a significant rise in native skills and experience. Recruiters are now looking at native candidates before branching out to the expat labor market.

Senior management positions, with salaries in excess of 2 million rubles, are unaffected by the quota changes.


Interesting Statistics Released on US Expats

US firm VIP Communications has this week released the results of its “Expat Sentiment Survey,” which collects information from over 20,000 expats living in America.

The survey results seem to suggest that expats in the USA are largely content with their life abroad. 57-percent of respondents rated their quality of life at between seven and nine out of ten.

The survey also suggests that most US expats believe they made the right move, with a majority ranking the USA higher than their former countries on safety, education and entertainment.

On the (slightly) negative side, over half the individuals’ questioned stated that they preferred the food in their home country!