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April 12, 2012


Global News Briefs

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Effective Payroll Administration for International Assignments - Top 10 Quick Wins for Process Improvement
April 24, 2012 | 2:00 pm (EDT)
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Africa Rising: Cultural Considerations for Working with Emerging Markets
May 1, 2012 | 2:00 p.m. (EDT)
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June 19, 2012 | 2:00 p.m. (EDT)
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October 3, 2012



Western Union Brings Mobile Money to Africa
Mobile Marketing Watch (4/2/2012)

Western Union has announced its plans to partner with one of Africa’s largest mobile operators, MTN, to introduce what is being called a cross-border mobile money transfer. “Western Union is changing quickly and we are leading the way in bringing international remittances to mobile subscribers around the globe,” said Diane Scott, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer and President, Western Union Ventures. “Our network of nearly half a million locations, our experience in moving money across borders, and our relationships with the world’s most successful mobile operators such as MTN, ideally position us to introduce many people to cross-border financial services.”

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Emigrant Graduates Cost Australia 450 Million Dollars in HECS (4/2/2012)

University graduates from Australia who move abroad after completion of school have cost the country almost $450 million in unpaid Higher Education Contributions Scheme (HECS) debts since its inception in 1989. In a recent study by Australian National University research scientists Tim Higgins and Bruce Chapman, the latter is an original designer of HECS, has found that if no system of collection is put in place that figure could very soon be $1 billion. Higgins and Chapman said there are a variety of options for the Australian government to begin collecting fees, including coming to an agreement with other countries to use their internal tax services to collect student debts.

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Study Says Canadian Immigration Numbers Should Be Reduced (4/9/2012)

A recent study by the Institute for Research on Public Policy proposes that if Canada were to reduce its immigration numbers, then it could improve the overall performance of immigrants in the country. “During recessions, economic outcomes deteriorate more among recent immigrants than among Canadian-born,” said the report, “Making it in Canada: Immigration Outcomes and Policies.” The report goes on to say, “it also helps prevent longer-run economic ‘scarring’ that can occur when new labor market entrants are unable to obtain jobs or are unable to practice their skills over a long period.”


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Hong Kong on Course as Top Expat Destination
IFAonline (4/11/2012) Beecham, Hannah

A flourishing economy, a rich and vibrant culture, and a low tax regime has made Hong Kong a preferred destination for British expats according to Guardian Wealth Management (GWM). Hong Kong is “very much the jewel of the Asian crown,” said GWM Chief Executive David Howell. Financial companies like GWM are setting up new offices in Asia as more expatriate financial surveys like NatWest International Personal Banking’s Quality of Life Index boast about the benefits of making the move.


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French President to Reinstate Passport Checks if EU Borders Not Tightened (4/10/2012)

Citing Greece as a problem, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his intention to reinstate passport checks for all European Union citizens arriving in his country if EU countries continue to fail securing their borders. “There are 120 kilometers between Greece and Turkey which are not guarded,” said Sarkozy. “I am within my rights to demand what the sanctions should be. I give one year for this practice to change, otherwise we suspend our membership of the Schengen Agreement.” The Schengen Agreement is a EU policy that allows for travel between the 26 participating countries without the need of passports.


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France Inheritance Tax Changes Could Affect Expat Families
The Telegraph (4/4/2012) Dixon, Suzi

Overseas property investment continues to be a burgeoning business, especially in France, which is now the most searched for location for British buyers. But, if a new government takes office in France this Fall that could change. As it stands now, French inheritance tax varies from zero percent to 60 percent with an inheritance tax-free allowance between parents and children of around €160,000. According to Matthew Cameron, the head of the French legal services team at solicitors Ashton KCJ, “the inheritance tax free allowance is likely to be cut by two-thirds,” which would create a substantial difference for the children of the deceased.



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Global Interest

Expat Finance Jobs in Asia to be Chopped
The Telegraph (4/5/2012) Harper, Justin

Cities in Asia like Singapore and Hong Kong had been experiencing a period of great job growth and trade with Western companies looking to capitalize in the world’s most populous region, but many of these newly created positions are beginning to be scaled back. HSBC, Citibank and ANZ all have announced worldwide layoffs with many of the job losses coming in Singapore and Hong Kong. Annabel Stone, who works for a recruitment firm in Asia said that while there was a time when placing candidates was an easy task, “now we are finding a real slowdown in openings, with some shedding staff or announcing job freezes.” However, she also added that the situation would not be permanent, “but some of these roles may need to be located outside the expat-friendly cities of Hong Kong and Singapore as costs of living and labor rise.”


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Gallup: Nearly One in Four Worldwide Thriving
Gallup (4/10/2012) Ray, Julie

In a 2011 Gallup survey of 146,000 adults in 146 countries, it found that 24 percent of adults worldwide consider themselves as “thriving.” In the survey, Gallup had three classifications, “thriving,” “struggling,” or “suffering,” in accordance to how respondents rated themselves on the 0 to 10 Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Denmark scored the highest at 74 percent while Cambodia was the lowest with 2 percent of respondents considering themselves “thriving.” The America’s had the highest wellbeing of any region again last year with 39 percent counting themselves as “thriving.”



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Gulf Countries Continue to Create Jobs Despite Arab Spring
San Francisco Chronicle (4/9/2012)

Despite the Arab Spring of 2011, the Gulf region continues to be a source of great job growth according to In the Dubai-based online recruitment firms 2012 edition of “Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf,” it found that Saudi Arabia is the leader in job creation with 62 percent of firms increasing their staff last year compared to 55 percent in 2010. Several other countries showed strong growth, including Kuwait, which nearly doubled its job creation from 2010 to 2011, jumping from 26 percent to 51 percent. Bahrain fared less well, with only 8 percent of firms reporting new job creation compared to 23 percent in 2010.



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India, UAE to Streamline Employment of Contract Workers in the Emirate
PRLog (4/7/2012)

On April 6 the UAE Ministry of Labor and India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs signed a protocol in Abu Dhabi that allows for the streamlining of admissions for Indian contract workers. The new system, which will use an electronic contract registration and validation system, will ensure the full transparency of the contracting process for Indian workers looking to relocate to the UAE. Already, there are 1.7 million Indian contract workers in the UAE, and that number is likely to grow with a better, more comprehensive system in place.



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Indonesia and Singapore Top Non-Executive Directors Paid List in ASEAN
HRM Asia (4/10/2012)

According to a report by the Hay Group, Indonesia and Singapore have the highest paying jobs for non-executive directors (NEDs) in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The report, “Non-Executive Directors in ASEAN: Pay Practices, Responsibilities and Policies,” found that Indonesian NEDs earned S$239,000 a year while those in Singapore earned S$95,000 a year. Oliver Ricaille, Regional Director, Executive Compensation (Asia), Hay Group, said, “The recent upward trend in NED remuneration does not come as a surprise as these large companies have increased in complexity, often translating to more time commitment and a higher volume of intricate information to be processed by the board. At the same time, NEDs need to demonstrate the right skill sets to appropriately fulfill their duties, given this complex nature.” ASEAN is a 10-country group whose membership includes: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.



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Wave of Irish Emigration to Australia Keeps Growing
Global Post (4/8/2012) Petersen, Freya

With the economic downturn still lingering over Ireland, citizens have begun a mass exodus to Australia in search of work. Ireland’s Central Statistics Office reported a 16.9 percent increase in Irish emigration in the year to April 2011, and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship found a 68 percent jump in visas granted to Irish workers in the past year. The steady progress, Australia just had its 20th consecutive year of growth, mixed with booming mining and construction industries has made Australia a prime destination for those in search of work. The West Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has forecast that there will need to be an additional 500,000 workers by 2020, with a shortfall in the workforce expected in 2017.



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Optimistic Consumers, Businesses Propel Norway Economy
Reuters (3/30/2012) Gibbs, Walter

Norway’s oil-fired economy received a boost in the form of positive data at the end of last month that suggests the country is rising far above the rest of Europe. Retail sales rose 1 percent in February overcoming a .5 percent forecasted decline, a March consumer confidence index nearly doubled from 4.3 in February to 8.3 in March, and a purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the same time frame rose from 56.7 to 59.7. “Industry is on a huge roll, and companies are reporting a sharp increase in activity,” said Harald Magnus Andreassen, chief economist at Swedbank First Securities. “The bottom line is the Norwegian economy is faring far better than most people thought.”


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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Votes Against Taxing Expat Workers
Digital Journal (4/2/2012) Nikolas, Katerina

The Shoura Council in Saudi Arabia voted once again to protect foreign workers from being taxed on incomes earned within the Kingdom. In a 70-45 vote, the council fought to keep Saudi Arabia’s primary attraction for foreign workers for the second time in the last ten years. Currently foreign workers send an estimated SR 100 billion out of the country every year; something that likely will not change according to expatriate Dr. Victoria Charleston. She called the idea of taxing foreign workers “laughable,” and said that if it were to happen majority of the workforce would just leave.


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United States

U.S. Economy Enters Sweet Spot as China Slows
Bloomberg (4/3/2012) Miller, Rich and Kennedy, Simon

Improvements in the job market, combined with a rise in the stock market and easier access to credit are lifting U.S. consumer confidence and spending to near a four-year high according to the Bloomberg Comfort Index. Those gains, coupled with a slowing Chinese economy, means the U.S. is poised to be the main engine for global growth yet again. Stephen Jen, a managing partner at the London-based hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners LLP says that with all that is at work, “the world is set up to allow the undervalued dollar to reassert itself.” But even with signs pointing up, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said, “we haven’t quite yet got to the point where we can be completely confident that we’re on a track to full recovery.”


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U.S. Manufacturers Continue Plans to Hire in April
Phoenix Business Journal (4/6/2012) O’Grady, Patrick

A new report from the Society for Human Resources Management found that 50.3 percent of U.S. manufacturers plan to expand its staff this month. While that figure is down from the projected hiring number in April of last year, the number of companies looking to trim workers has declined as well. Interestingly, according to the report, the biggest challenge for manufacturers is recruiting the right kind of workers. The survey also found that 18.3 percent of respondents said it became more challenging last month to find workers, up almost 3 percent from last year.



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U.S. Private Sector Adds 209,000 Jobs in March
CNN (4/4/2012) Censky, Annalyn

Despite a noticeable economic slowdown, private companies still were able to add 209,000 jobs in March this year. While that number was below the 217,000 projected, and the 230,000 added in February, it still wasn’t a sign of a sharp downturn. “Today’s number doesn’t show such a weakening,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroecomic Advisers. “It’s pretty much in line with the last several months of increases.” He added that while figures like these will keep the unemployment rate steady, it would take “300,000 or 400,000 in order to push the unemployment rate down as people jump back into the labor force.”



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