Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

I made the move nearly 30 years ago, I am still overseas, and if I was about to take the decision again, I would not have any hesitation in taking exactly the same decision.

That is said in the full knowledge that expatriate packages today are very different, and often less financially attractive than they were back in 1979 when I took up my first expatriate post in Hong Kong.

In those days many of us received a tax paid salary, were provided with free accommodation, often with at least one live-in maid and driver included, with all utility bills paid by our company, school fees for children fully or partly paid (locally or back home), full medical benefits for self and family, free membership at a sports or businessman’s club, and up to six weeks fully expensed annual home leave. I shudder to think what that lot must have cost.

Today, fewer get a tax paid salary (although it is by no means rare), accommodation is mostly on an allowance basis, utility bills are rarely paid, maids and drivers are still available in many locations, but at your cost for most, full medical benefits are still provided for most, school fees are mostly partly paid these days, and often only at a local international school if available, clubs might be available on a discounted or still free basis, and leave allowances are now rarely fully expensed.

So why would I still take the same decision? Good question.

Let me list some of the benefits as I see them (in no particular order):

– For most there are big tax advantages residing offshore to your home country (does not apply to all)

– In many locations your cost of living will be less than at home therefore increasing your disposable income, maybe quite considerably

– You and your family are likely to live in an accommodation that is better, maybe much better than you could afford back home, and if in an apartment block or condo, is likely to have leisure facilities that you would have to travel miles for back home (eg swimming pool, squash and/or tennis courts, gym, mini-market, restaurant, etc)

– You and your family are likely to go on holidays to locations that would remain a dream if you stayed back home

– It is a wonderful adventure in a totally new culture

– Opportunities to visit places that might otherwise remain a mystery

– A chance to get immersed in a foreign language, practicing it daily

– If you’re single or married, the opportunities to meet and mix with other young expatriates and locals is unmatched back home

– You might even be as fortunate as I was, and meet your future wife in your new location

– For most school-age children, they really are on the adventure of a lifetime – actually that is also true for many adults (me included)

– Their international school (if available in your new location) will often introduce them to a veritable United Nations. At my own children’s first school in Hong Kong, my son had fourteen different nationalities in his class and daughter had one more! If you are a native English speaker and fear a lower standard of English, I should comment that the entry standards for English are usually far higher than they would be for an immigrant child in the UK.

– Son and daughter both easily got places at excellent UK universities (Durham and Swansea), following first class performances in their A level (pre-uni) exams in Hong Kong.

– They are both now exceptionally well travelled, learned to be independent very early on, are comfortable in just about any culture, and each speaks three foreign languages fluently. They are by no means unusual for expatriate children.

I’m sure there are other benefits that I have not covered, but I think you will get the picture.

Are there drawbacks and pitfalls? Of course, and I’ll cover a few now, and let you judge for yourself if they outweigh the benefits:

– If you have come from a more insular background, you (or your spouse) may be in for a bit of a shock

– You may not hear your native tongue too often in some locations, even if it is English

– The climate may not be that to which you are used, be that much hotter or much colder, and you may need to compensate in terms of clothing and activities

– In some locations the standard of medical care may not be up to the standard of your home country, but that is becoming less of an issue around the world, where in some typical expat locations, the standards of facilities and care now exceed those back home

– Not all countries will allow your spouse or SO to work. You need to factor this very seriously into your considerations. That is true here (Malaysia) and I know a growing number of spouses who have compensated by undertaking work online or setting up online businesses. In both cases income is legitimately earned and generated outside your country of residence where the spouse is defined as a dependent of the partner on the employment pass. You may remain, of course, liable for income tax in your home country. If you or your stay at home spouse do start and online business, do ensure that your website’s server is also outside your country of residence, or that may make you in violation of your working partner’s employment pass. 스포츠중계

By Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *