An expatriate is a person residing in a foreign country, permanently or temporarily. This term is often used to describe professionals sent to work in a foreign country for while. During the 19th century, many U.S. citizens moved to Europe to study there; also, many Europeans moved to the United States during the Nazi rule (because they were forced to leave their homes).
In legal context, the word “expat” is often related to taxation. If a person moves to a foreign country to work there, and stays there for at least one year, he/she will be granted tax subsidies by the Government of the United States. Of course, the person has to demonstrate that he/she intends to return to the United States.
Currently, there are more than 200 million people living outside their home countries. The U.K. is the country with the highest number of expatriates. More than 3 million of UK citizens live in foreign countries. Germany and Italy also have many citizens living abroad, but these countries are also attractive destinations for foreign workers. Spain and the Middle Eastern countries are also very popular destinations for foreign professionals.
Why Do People Become Expats?
The most common reasons include:
• A desire to travel, experience different lifestyles and learn more about different cultures
• Good job opportunities in foreign countries
• Better standard of living in a foreign country
• Low cost of living in a foreign country
• Tax benefits
In most cases, people are motivated by financial factors.
A decision to leave your home country is not an easy one. Think well before you start looking for a new country to live in. If you really want to move to a foreign country for good, you’ll have to be prepared for this process.
Keep in mind that some countries are not really the right choice for foreign workers. If you are an American, EU countries will not be very generous, when it comes to job opportunities. These countries do have high living standards, and the quality of life is great, but unemployment rates are high as well. To find a job in a foreign country, read the skill lists of several countries you are interested in, and see where your skills are needed. After that, start sending job applications.
If you succeed in finding a job abroad, you will have to take care of your relocation. See if you can get any help from the company you’ll be working for. The best way to relocate is to make this process as simple as possible. Bring only what’s necessary. There are many relocation companies you can contact for help.
You need to prepare all your documents. Visit the embassy of the country where you will be working and ask for assistance. They will tell you what documents you need for a visa application. In most cases, employers will provide considerable help, when it comes to paperwork.
No matter which country you’re in, there is probably an expat community you can join. It is very important to get some support from other expatriates, especially during the first couple of months. If your new country is much different from your home country, you will need more time to get used to it, but the entire process will depend on you!
Depending on where you are, you can join some of the following expatriate communities: