Expat News Roundup - week 52, 2012

Posted on 23/12/2012

As is often the case, employment is a common theme throughout much of this week’s expat news.

There are challenges ahead for expats in China, where local competition is making the job market more challenging. Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, the new labour laws continue to attract controversy, with the labour minister’s views seemingly at odds with the country’s policies.

Some possible difficulties ahead for those in Dubai this week too, with news of school closures likely to directly affect expats.

Finally, over in Europe, more people will have an opportunity to try the cuisine of Iraq, as a result of the country’s growing expat population.

Expats in China Face Increased Competition for Jobs

The Telegraph reports this week that expats in China are becoming increasingly “squeezed out” of the employment market by native executives. 

Chinese natives who have worked abroad themselves are typically bilingual, and have good experience and first-hand cultural knowledge.

Aside from the high caliber of local candidates, expats are now considered expensive to employ, as companies are required to make considerable social security contributions for their expat employees.

While plenty of opportunities still exist, expats wishing to compete must redouble their efforts to learn about local language and culture.


New Cuisine in the UK due to Growing Iraqi Expat Community

Iraqi cuisine is beginning to arrive in the UK, thanks to the growing Iraqi expat community.

There are now more than half a million Iraqi expats living in the UK, and around five million across the world, with Belgium and Germany also being popular destinations.

The Masgouf restaurant now has two branches in London - in Knightsbridge and Paddington. Up to 40-percent of patrons are non-Arabs, but the chef comments that some potential diners are deterred by an absence of alcoholic drinks, which are not available in the restaurants for religious reasons.


Good Expat Opportunities Still Exist in Emerging Markets

A survey of international human resources professionals has revealed that the market for expat executives in emerging economies is still strong.

While some typically strong expat job markets in the Middle and Far East come under pressure from local talent, companies moving into countries such as Armenia and Mongolia continue to require skilled expat workers, despite their salaries often being far in excess of those of local employees.

The average expat salary package including benefits and bonuses, based on those surveyed, equated to UK£290,000.


Dubai School Closures Affect Expats

Expats in Dubai on low to medium incomes may face financial difficulties due to the closure of affordable private schools.

Several school have closed in recent years, with more closures planned, as the fees the authorities allow them to charge have become financially unviable. The fees these schools are permitted to charge are based on their performance in regulatory inspections.

As public schools are only open to UAE natives, expats without substantial incomes are being left with fewer education choices for their children. Top international schools in Dubai can cost up to US$20,000 per year.


Saudi Labour Minister Speaks out on Expat Jobs

There’s still no shortage of expat job controversy in Saudi Arabia. Labour minister Adel Fakeih was this week quoted as saying that the majority of expat workers do menial work that “would not suit Saudis.”

This is sure to anger expat workers in the country who are smarting from the aftermath of new labour laws, which require Saudi employers to pay a financial penalty if they employ too many foreign workers. News reports last week suggested that many employers are trying to pass on these extra costs to the employees themselves.

It could be said that if native workers don’t want the jobs, it is foolish to penalize those that do, and those happy to employ them.