Covid-19: what is life like for expats?

Covid 19

Covid-19… The pandemic that changed our life completely, and by our, we mean everyone. Countries across the world have had to introduce new regulations, new protocols, to be able to cope with the crisis. These rules do not just involve medical facilities, but it impacts on the way we live in general. The lockdowns itself show how our daily operations have been transformed. Working from home, the inability to move around or in some cases losing your job completely, we are having to face many disruptions. Among all of this, expats are having to face another trouble: being away from their family.

Why did expats move abroad?

A research conducted among expats living and working in the UK, France, Canada, UAE and Singapore looked at the reasons why they moved abroad in the first place. The main driver for moving abroad for 49% of them is financial gain. If we go deeper into this, we will see that they are in pursuit of a better quality of life. 46% did so for personal development and 40% were looking for a better work/life balance.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the common norm for expat jobs was high payment. Considering the fact that they were able to enjoy several advantages, expats had been adopting a more long-term view of life abroad.  76% of them revealed that they have changed job since moving to their new country, 59% have bought a home and 58% said they plan to stay in their adopted country long-term.

The outbreak of the pandemic

However, things changed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, we are seeing a need for expats to be closer to their family. This is mainly due to the health scare and the lockdowns that followed. Indeed, being confined at home will increase the feeling of being alone, away from your family. In times of crisis, we want to be closer to our loved ones.

Moreover, as an expert specialising in expat housing searches advanced, “A lot want to be closer to home, to parents and family, but also some are being retrenched”. With the collapsing economy, several employers are reducing their operations and terminating contracts. Moreover, head-hunters have revealed that the benefits which were once so attractive are no longer being made available. Contracts that include hefty allowances for housing, cars and international schools for children were quite common. Now, they have become rarer than ever.

An importance on safety and medical infrastructure

Nonetheless, we can notice a discrepancy in attitude when it comes to health care and safety. Health and well-being is a key feature for expats and while many of them think that their birth country offers the best medical infrastructure, others feel pretty safe in their host country. They found the measures taken by local authorities to be more efficient. For instance, as the Wall Street Journal advanced a large number of the 9 million American expatriates were actually relieved to be out of the American territory during the quarantine period.

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