Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Most middle-class British families want to leave Britain

A room with a view
Tower Bridge, London. My wife and I were married there.
Photo by Tanya Hart
I've previously written about a poll showing that many Americans would like to move outside the US. Interestingly, up to 40% of younger Americans stated that they would like to live outside the US. Many Americans I've spoken with have told me they would love to live in the UK, so this suggests an obvious question: is the UK a nice place to live?

Having lived in the UK for years, I have to say it's absolutely a nice place to live. Apparently, though, the British disagree with me. A recent poll found that two in three middle-class British families would like to move abroad.

When you talk about the reasons for emigration, there are "pull" factors — adventure, a new love, a new job, and so on — and "push" factors — no work locally, escaping war, fleeing oppression, and so on. The research about why British families wanted to leave was definitely push factors: avoiding the weather, rude people, and poor values.

I can actually understand some of this. The UK has a drinking culture which absolutely floored me when I first encountered it. It's quite normal to see people stumbling around drunk on the street and vomit-strewn sidewalks near pubs. More than once I would walk into a Wetherspoons for breakfast and find people having a Full English and a pint.The weather is, admittedly, rubbish and the British economy has been stumbling. Despite this, I don't think the situation is nearly as dire as many Brits think. Part of this is the "grass is always greener" syndrome, though I confess that British people, unlike their American counterparts, have probably seen that other grass firsthand.

Of course, my "grass is always greener" theory is kind of shot to hell when I find out that 80% of British expats have no intention of returning to the UK.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jobs have arrived!

Because the view is nice
Gratuitous Cat Photo
Photo by Dr. Hemmert
Check out the International Jobs page!

A Web company who's growing like mad is willing to hire you and move you to Amsterdam. They've reached out to me and we struck a deal whereby I would help them find techies who are willing to seek adventure abroad. For those of a non-technical persuasion, I apologize for not having anything to offer at the present time, but who knows what the future holds? I'll still be posting regularly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moving to Malta

There was a time that my wife and I seriously considered moving to Malta. Malta is perhaps one of the most underrated destinations out there. It consists of a small archipelago in the Mediterranean, off the southern tip of the boot of Italy. It never freezes and never gets too hot. It has virtually no pollution and very little crime.

Yacht Marina; Dockyard Creek, Grand Harbour, Malta
Grand Harbour, Malta
Photo by John Haslam

Monday, January 21, 2013

Work permit jobs are coming to Overseas Exile

It's a beautiful world out there
Photo Credit: Bert Kaufmann
It should come as no surprise to those familiar with how blogging works that this site is popular enough that I am regularly contacted by companies wanting me to advertise their products or services to you. As a general rule I've shielded you from this, but I've made exceptions a couple of times for those willing to provide a relevant guest blog post (not all of those are corporate, of course). Now I'm willing to make another exception because it solves a major problem that many of my readers have.

How do you find a company that will let you move abroad?

Friday, January 18, 2013

American's reasons for leaving US are changing

Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack
The US is a great country. The freedoms there are wonderful, the people are warm, the "can do" attitude is great (you'd be surprised how American the "can do" attitude is) and when there's a natural disaster in the world, Americans are often the reaching deep into their pockets to help others. For all of the negative press the US receives, there are a lot of good things about the country.

And then there are the other bits.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Immigrating to Alberta, Canada

Edmonton Skyline
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Photo by Darren Kirby
Lately it seems that Canada has been working overtime trying to attract expats. I've written about Canada's Skilled Trade Immigration Program and now I see that Alberta, Canada, has an entire section of their Web site dedicated to how to immigrate to Alberta.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Self-Employed US Expats

Home Sweet Studio
Home Office photo by geishaboy500
Today's post is US-centric again, I'm afraid. My apologies to all of my non-US readers.

According to one expat survey I've read, almost 25% of US expats (who responded to the survey) are self-employed. I find this number astonishingly high given that other countries don't hand out work permits for self-employed people, though the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty is an interesting counter-example. What would surprise me, however, is most expats abroad knowing about the self-employment tax. When most didn't know about the US's curious citizen-based taxation system, they would probably be astonished to find out that if they're living and working abroad, self-employed US expats still have to pay an extra 15.3% of their income to the US to cover Medicare and Social Security.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Why Some Countries Care More About Degrees

Alan Punches
Photo by Beth Punches
In your quest to be an expat, there is always the question of whether or not you're going to need a university degree to move abroad. For many fields, such as engineering or medicine, of course you'll need a degree. For other fields, such as marketing or IT, many people are self-taught and a degree is not necessary. However, when I wrote about Germany struggling to find workers for the Blue Card program, I thought (and still think), that the Germans were premature in worrying about it. However, a German friend of mine got in touch with me and painted a slightly different picture.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fly Around the World for Under $200

Passage des Alpes par AF 9803 - 13-01-2008 - 10h10
Flying over the Alps
Photo by Panoramas
There is an interesting dilemma that many would-expats face: how do you know you want to live somewhere if you've never visited it? One of my English professors in college told me the story of a student who claimed he didn't need to travel the world because he had the internet. He can see the countries online. He can watch videos of their daily life. He can learn their languages online.

Monday, January 7, 2013

White House Petition to Enact Residence-Based Taxation

Photo courtesy Matt Wade photography
For those of you who are aware of the issue, there's a petition to change the US federal income tax from a citizen-based tax system to a residence-based tax system like the rest of the world. Please sign this petition. I doubt it will do much good as there aren't many in the US government who seem to give a damn about expats, but we have to try.

Germany Struggling With New Blue Card Law

Schloss Schwerin
Schwerin Castle, Germany
Photo by Harald Hoyer
Back in May I reported about the new German Blue Card law. It's an astonishingly forward thinking law designed to let businesses attract the workers they need. Basically, get a job offer for enough money and you can move to Germany and be an expat (read my five part "get a work permit" series if you want to know how to get that job offer). However, there's a recent report that the German Blue Card has not attracted many skilled workers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

French Food Snobs on New Year's Eve

From a market near La Défense
Ah, the typical expat lament: I miss food.

I grew up, mostly, in Texas. There's a lot I could say about Texas, but the one thing I miss the most from Texas is the food. And the one thing you won't find in Europe is proper Mexican food. I've been to "Mexican" restaurants and had a waitress ask me what a taco was. Seriously, it's almost universally awful over here and I've eaten at "Mexican" and "Tex-Mex" restaurants in more countries than you'd believe.