How is the recession affecting expats?

In 2008, HSBC ran the largest independent worldwide survey of expats. We covered some of the results here:  Survey of the Expat Experience, Where’s the best place to raise kids? and What do expats really think?

They have just dropped us a line to say that they have kicked off the 2009 survey. A key addition to the content will be an examination into how the global financial crisis has affected the expat community living in economies around the world. Paul Say, Head of Marketing and Communications at HSBC Bank International, said:

As the countries in all four corners of the world continue to be affected by the financial crisis, the habits and experiences of the expatriate community are changing.  We are keen to see how current events are affecting those global citizens as they live and work away from their home countries.

I was quite surprised by some of the information that last year’s survey uncovered and really think this initiative provides useful information to the expatriate community. So if you have a few minutes and want to make your voice heard, I recommend you check out some of last year’s results and participate in the 2009 survey here:

Scary expat recession stories

Times Online recently published a piece on a new phenomenon: Dubai expats give new meaning to long-stay car park:

For many expatriate workers in Dubai it was the ultimate symbol of their tax-free wealth: a luxurious car that few could have afforded on the money they earned at home.

Now, faced with crippling debts as a result of their high living and Dubai’s fading fortunes, many expatriates are abandoning their cars at the airport and fleeing home rather than risk jail for defaulting on loans.

Police have found more than 3,000 cars outside Dubai’s international airport in recent months. Most of the cars – four-wheel drives, saloons and “a few” Mercedes – had keys left in the ignition.

Deteriorating conditions have the potential to rapidly turn comfortable expat postings into a nightmare as jobs are lost and local alternatives much harder to find. For many, there is no choice but to return home.  This is not just happening with highly-paid professionals, ‘economic migrants’ are also packing up and going home. Also from Times Online, Polish plumbers pack their bags as pickings get richer back east, both the UK and Ireland have seen a reversal of the flow of migration with Poland:

But a crumbling pound, a tightening economy and boom time in Poland have persuaded thousands like Mr Djano to return home. “I want to go back in May,” he said. “A lot of people I know are going back. It’s not worth being here any more. Everything is very expensive. And the pound doesn’t buy much. My wife was never happy with me being in London. She came once, but it was too crowded, too much traffic. My family lives in a village, it’s completely different.

Do you have a story? We’d love to hear it. Get in touch or comment below.

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