A new survey has shown nearly a half of expats moving to the UAE don’t have enough practical information. A third found the relocation process more difficult than they expected, according to the research from Zurich, an international insurance company.
The survey of 775 expatriates in the UAE was conducted by YouGov, and found the most difficult part of relocation was obtaining a driving licence, with 21 percent of respondents reporting this. Finding employment (18%), the cost of living (17%) and the weather (12%) followed in second, third and fourth place.
The total number of employees on international assignments has stayed relatively stable over the last few years. However, the number of global nomads (people who move from country to country on multiple assignments) and long-term expats has increased. This is creating challenges for employers when it comes to providing expatriate benefits.
According to Mercer’s 2011/2012 Benefits Survey for Expatriates and Internationally Mobile Employees, providing expatriate benefits is a key priority for multinational companies. The survey covers expat benefit policies in 288 multinational companies that have 119,000 expat employees between them.
A new study shows relocating employees abroad can be beneficial to both business and employees. Conducted by TJinsite, the survey results showed 70 percent of organisations think relocation is especially important for talent acquisition and retention. This percentage was significantly higher in larger companies, those with 500+ employees. With a larger workforce staff mobility is higher and the cost of relocation can more easily be absorbed.
A lack of talent and business expansion were named as the main reasons for relocation. The results also revealed relocation is the first choice for employers and is preferable over hiring new staff in the case of business expansion. Over half of companies stated relocation solved the problem of skills shortages in particular areas.
Despite the ongoing global economic crisis, companies are increasing the number of employees they send abroad. According to the 2012 Global Relocation Trends Survey report, overseas assignments increased at 64 percent of companies in 2011, compared with 43 percent the previous year.
Among these companies 63 percent expect this trend to continue in 2012. This would indicate a return to pre-recession levels of overseas relocation. Industries with the highest growth of international assignments are healthcare, pharmaceutical and energy. The financial and service sectors are at a new low in terms of international relocation.
A recent study has shown the number of people moving abroad for work continues to increase. While this is benefiting the recruitment and relocation industries, it brings risks in terms of international compliance. The biggest risk for recruiters or companies is found when moving talent across borders.
The “2011 Global Talent Mobility Survey” of more than 160,000 job seekers in 66 countries, by online recruitment firm The Network and Intelligence Group, concluded that, “Workers were keener than ever before to move internationally for a new job.
The United Arab Emirates, and in particular Dubai, has long been a top destination for professional expatriates. But now, the rising cost of living is impacting on the lives of expats across the region.
The cost of rent has fallen slightly, but the cost of everything else is rising. This includes groceries, utilities, school fees, entertainment and leisure. Larissa Voronina, a Russian expat living with her family, told the Dubai Chronicle, “I used to spend Dh500 weekly on groceries a year ago.but for the same quantity of essential items the bill comes to Dh600 or even Dh700 now.”
Exercising, cooking, health checks, many things have been made easier with the advent of new apps. For employees or clients relocating abroad the stress levels can be high. Consider using one of these mobile phone apps to aid in the relocation process.
1. Moving List – An app for iPhone and iPod Touch, it contains a to-do list with 95 pre-programmed tasks commonly associated with moving and the option to add your own. It also includes a timeline telling you how far in advance you should be finding packing boxes, packing, notifying utility companies, shipping things etc. Cost: US$2.99
Few expats move abroad with a perfect understanding of the local language. And while everyone should try and learn the language of their new home (for both social and practical reasons), it doesn’t happen overnight.
In the meantime body language can help expats communicate.
Timothy Penix found that out firsthand when he was studying in Japan. As he told The Auburn Plainsman:
Before I learned the language, it was a lot of hand gestures and me speaking really loud English thinking they would be able to hear better. It was more hand gestures and pointing and me looking like I needed help or needed to know something, and the majority of the time they would understand and try to help me.
When Forbes ranked the UAE the world’s least friendly country (by analyzing HSBC’s Expat Explorer data with a special formula), it touched off a firestorm of controversy in the tiny Gulf country.
According an article by The National, expats and locals alike have leapt to the UAE’s defense. They’re even using a #UAEFriendly hashtag on Twitter.
75% of expat partners who aren’t working would like to, according to Permits Foundation research. Most of them are educated and work experienced, but have fallen into the role of “trailing spouse” because they’re unable to get work abroad.
Over time, this situation can breed resentment, especially if the employed expat works long hours. It can strain family relationships and even break up marriages.
As a result, Your Expat Partner (YEP), a US-based consultancy founded by two Dutch expats, recently launched a Career Support Service for expat partners and spouses.