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“Knowledge workers” is the term given to highly skilled expats by recruiters across the globe. Knowledge workers are highly prized immigrants because they actively make contributions and enhancements to the economy they are moving to through the sharing of their skills and experience.

Easing the path for knowledge workers

Due to the high demand for knowledge workers globally, many countries are making it easier for them to gain access and acquire residence permits and work visas. Many expat knowledge workers are female and 2010 was the first time the number of highly skilled female expats outweighed the number of men. Most of these expats were from Africa or Asia and were heading to English speaking countries in Europe and North America.

To qualify as a knowledge worker, expats need the requisite education, skills and experience and must have a gross income of around US$ 3 275 a month if they are below 30 and around US$ 4 240 if they are 40 or above.

The countries attracting knowledge workers

  • USA

Despite the bad press the USA has had regarding immigration, the government is working hard to promote highly-skilled migration and around 40% of knowledge workers globally are moving to the US. Some of the ways they are doing this are by empowering knowledge workers’ spouses to build their own careers as well as encouraging entrepreneurs to create job opportunities across the US.

  • Canada

Despite the USA attracting the most knowledge workers globally, the World Bank names Canada as the country working hardest to attract these skilled expats. New systems have been put in place to streamline visa applications and manage how knowledge workers migrate to Canada. Express Entry is proving to be the easy access route to Canada for knowledge workers with the right qualifications.

  • Australia

According to the Australian Government, knowledge workers make up 39% of all employees in the country and almost all recruiters in Australia are actively seeking knowledge workers, with a particular emphasis on knowledge workers with IT skills. Despite Australia tightening its immigration policies and doing away with its 457 visa programme – the need for knowledge workers is at a peak, resulting in an updated list of occupations for permanent and skilled visas coming into effect in 2018.

  • Russia

Russia is attracting a high number of knowledge workers from all across the world – especially those from Turkey, China and Vietnam. In an effort to attract even more knowledge workers, Russia is upgrading its immigration policy to focus on creating conditions that attract highly skilled expats.

  • France

By 2020 France is expecting to see a shortage of 2.2 million knowledge workers. As a result, the government is doing their best to prevent this shortfall by actively attracting expat knowledge workers by offering extended visas. In order to qualify for this you need to have an EU Blue Card, a degree of 3 years or more of higher studies or 5 years of professional experience in a particular field, a work contract of no less than 12 months and earn 1.5 times the minimum wage.

If you are living and working abroad or are thinking of doing so in 2018, contact us for expert, personalised advice concerning financial emigration, competitive foreign exchange rates and other financial aspects relating to living abroad including transferring retirement annuities.