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April 25, 2012


Global News Briefs

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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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Immigration Minute


Job Fair Offers Expats a Foot in the Door (4/18/2012) Jing, Shi

Job fairs posting openings throughout China have become a valuable tool for foreigners leaving their homeland in search of employment. “The number of expats coming to work in Shanghai has grown significantly ever since the European debt crisis hit in late 2009,” said Huang Hong, deputy director of the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Bureau. “There has been a tremendous increase in the mobility of talent nowadays. If the economy in other countries is not as good, overseas talent is very likely to seek a chance in China,” he added.

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French Expatriates Courted in Campaign as Their Number Doubles
SFGate (4/11/2012) Viscusi, Gregory

The 2012 French Presidential election is spending more time than usual seeking out expatriates’ votes as 500,000 of them have registered to cast their ballots abroad this year. That figure is double the amount from 2007, and is up from 125,000 voters abroad in 2002. 

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Global Interest

Canadian Program Changes Force Chinese Investors to U.S. EB-5 Program (4/23/2012)

Since the ‘90s Canada has been a premiere destination for Chinese investors. If an interested investor wanted unconditional residence in the country, they had to own at least $1,600,000 in assets, and invest $800,000 for five years with the Canadian Federal government or the government of Quebec. But now that the federal government’s program has met its quota and is “closed for renovation,” and Quebec has met its quota until 2013, Chinese investors are beginning to look at the U.S. EB-5 Program as an option. The EB-5 is set up to allow residency to investors that invest in a new commercial enterprise. The investment varies on location in the country but is no less than $500,000, and in some places is $1 million. There is the 2nd Annual EB-5 Investment Summit on April 27 in New York City where potential investors can learn about more options throughout the country.


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Indian IT Firms Threaten to Relocate Because of UK Visa Changes (4/18/2012)

Indian officials have warned the UK that Indian IT companies may relocate their businesses if the UK intends to follow through with tighter restrictions on their visas. UK immigration recently discussed reducing the number of workers allowed in on a Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT), after already closing the Tier 1 post-study work visa. India’s commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma discussed the problems with UK officials at the India-UK joint Economic Trade Commission, adding that already Indian companies looking to visit the UK for business face long delays in obtaining a UK visit visa.


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Respect the Border: Best Practices for Successful Cross-Border Moves
Mobility (4/1/2012) McCarney, Tim and Allan, Debbie

When U.S.-based companies prepare to send assignees overseas, there is generally a high level of planning and preparation for cultural assimilation. Yet, when some of these same companies are preparing to send employees to Canada, they treat it like a domestic move. Treating cross-border transfers this way can seem disrespectful to country in question, and also is a disservice to the valued talent that is moving. “Our experience tells us that companies that try to apply domestic policy to cross-border or international moves are more likely to have questions and complaints from employees. This is most often where policy is made on the fly in an ad-hoc fashion resulting in inconsistent policy application and ongoing exceptions,” said Stephen Cryne, president and CEO of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC). CERC and Worldwide ERC® submitted a series of recommendations to the Beyond the Border Working Group (BBWG) earlier this year for agencies looking to take part in a cross-border transfer.


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Gulf Envoys Told to Keep an Eye on Well-Being of Expatriates
The Hindu (4/16/2012) Aneja, Atul

Speaking to Indian ambassadors posted in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna instructed all Indian embassies in the gulf to attend emergency situations around-the-clock. Following what has been called the “Krishna doctrine,” the minister explained how important it is to look after the well-being of Indian expatriates. The meeting highlighted how important the Gulf has become to India, where trade is now booming.

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Destination Profile: Italy
Mobility (4/1/2012) Carobolante, Lorelei

In order to successfully do business in Italy, you must understand the lifestyle that exists in context with workplace interactions, as well as how the laws and the government operate in this unique country. Italians deeply value their relationships, both in personal settings as well as in the work environment. As a result, oftentimes decisions about business are made out of the boardroom in more casual settings. Not only is it important to understand the cultural norms of Italy, but knowing how the government works, as well as the laws that affect assignees are vital as well.  An assignee in Italy can use their home country driver’s license for up to one year, but are accountable for all laws immediately. Additionally, Italy has national public health care and urgent care, which can be accessed for non-Italian citizens through the National Health Service.



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Korea Needs Pro-Expat Law
The Korea Times (4/18/2012) Tae-hoon, Lee

President Lee Myung-bak’s administration makes frequent mention of a “fair society” in Korea, but it falls quite short of that for the 110,000 naturalized Koreans and 1.3 million foreign residents living there.  “First of all, there is no law here that holds someone responsible for discriminating against me simply because of my skin color,” said Iresha Dilani, a naturalized Korean from Pakistan. “I’m also a Korean citizen, but helpless to defend myself against racial discrimination, ranging from a ban on entry to a public bathroom and lower wages.” The last attempt by a Korean politician to introduce an anti-discrimination bill was in 2009, and it was met with heavy opposition.


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PM Asks Expatriates in Qatar to Invest in Economic Zones
Financial Express (4/22/2012)

During a meeting with the Business Association of Bangladesh (BAB) in Doha, Qatar recently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked Bangladeshi expatriates to invest in the five newly designated economic zones in the country. She recalled contributions of expatriates to Bagledesh’s economy while mentioning that Qatar’s government’s investment rules have become more liberal allowing three NRB banks to look after the expatriates’ interests.


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Singapore, Asia’s Most Livable City
Wall Street Journal (4/18/2012)

In a recent survey by ECA International, Singapore was voted as Asia’s most livable city, and as the best city globally for Asian expatriates. Rounding out the top three cities, of the 49 covered by the study, were Kobe, Japan and Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s schooling, nightlife, and transport systems are seen as on par, if not better than, Singapore’s, but air pollution is a large divider. Lee Quane of ECA International called pollution Hong Kong’s “big Achilles heel” when it comes to the debate, while Singapore has invested billions of dollars into green initiatives. 


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South Africa

Home Affairs Chasing Away Investors (4/17/2012) Hweshe, Francis

Slow paperwork and possible discrimination by the Department of Home Affairs is hindering job creation and chasing away foreign investments, say immigration practitioners in South Africa. Gerrit Van Rensburg said, “people are walking away from South Africa and businesses are shutting down. People outside are losing faith in South Africa.” Rensburg, an immigration practitioner, said in January he submitted 147 applications on behalf of his clients with results expected in February, but there are still 50 clients whose paperwork has yet to be sorted out. South Africa’s leading immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg said that South Africans are treated well by Home Affairs, but foreigners get contempt and “a rough time.”


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United Arab Emirates

Are Clinics Hiding Expatriates’ HIV Test Results?
Khaleej Times (4/18/2012) Saseendran, Sajila

A Khaleej Times investigation into private clinics and labs in Dubai has found that some are concealing HIV positive cases from the authorities. In the United Arab Emirates, positive tests of communicable diseases like HIV/Aids, hepatitis B, TB and syphilis must be reported to the authorities, and those infected expatriates, with the exception of syphilis, must be deported. The investigation found that some clinics said they would not contact the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) with positive results, while others ignored the online reporting of these diseases. Head of Preventative Medicine Services, Primary Health Care at the DHA Dr. Fatma Al Attar said “we keep a strict check on the facilities by checking their registers and by performing onsite surveillance.”


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United Kingdom

Expat Tax Warning on Offshore Bonds
The Telegraph (4/17/2012) Beugge, Charlotte

Seeking to close off a loophole that allowed UK expatriates to avoid paying taxes on investment gains made from offshore bonds, the UK government has made changes to the tax treatment of those bonds.  Under the old guidelines, investors could withdraw more than 5 percent of a bond’s value and not pay tax as long as they were not in the UK at the time. Upon returning to the UK, that investor could offset that withdrawal against future chargeable events, even though no UK tax had been paid in the first place.  Now, if someone returns to the UK they will not be able to offset the earlier chargeable gains. “All the measures are targeted at individuals escaping to low tax jurisdictions but will also catch many others who have become non-UK resident with no thought of avoiding tax,” said Julie Hutchison, head of international technical insight at Standard Life.


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UK Unemployment Unexpectedly Falls as Growth Resumes
Bloomberg (4/18/2012) O’Donnell, Svenja

The UK economy is beginning to show signs of recovery as the jobless claim rose less than predicted and unemployment fell for the first time in almost a year. Jobless-benefit claims rose by a mere 3,600 from February to March, which was 2,400 less than was forecasted in a Bloomberg News survey. That, coupled with unemployment falling to 8.3 percent, gave a boost to Prime Minister David Cameron and his budgetary plans. “These figures look pretty good and are suggestive of some reasonable underlying momentum in growth,” said David Tinsley, chief UK economist at BNP Paribas SA in London.



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United States

U.S. Taxes Cost Some Expatriates Their Citizenship (4/16/2012) Abrahamian, Atossa Araxia

In 2011 almost 1,800 people renounced their U.S. citizenship or turned over their green cards, the most since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing the list of those renouncing in 1998. In fact, it is more than the total for 2007, 2008, and 2009 combined. Many of those former citizens say they decided to sever their ties with the U.S. because of tax reasons. The U.S. is one of only a few countries in the world that taxes citizens on income earned abroad, and that process involves heavy paperwork, a lack of online filing options, and a lack of local and foreign language resources. Additionally, the tax system in place also is seen as invasive and full of red tape. “Up to this point, we never heard of anyone renouncing, or if they did they didn’t talk about it,” said Marylouise Serrato, head of American Citizens Abroad, a nonprofit organization based in Geneva. But she added “we’re seeing a lot of people speak openly about it and come to us for information.”


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