The number of expats globally is on the rise. InterNations puts the number close to 56 million – which makes it larger than the population of many small countries. So how does this large group of people impact the world in general and what benefits do they bring?
A global perspective
Most expats are skilled, educated migrants that leave their home country for well-paid roles overseas. As globalisation continues to make the world a smaller place, employees that have an overseas education and perspective are becoming assets in businesses on every continent. Expats help bring an international perspective to any culture – whether they are working on construction sites or in boardrooms. New perspectives and different skills strengthen existing ones and help springboard the advances the globalised economy requires and demands.
Increased spending power
Expats tend to be well-paid and good brand ambassadors for brands who are looking for market penetration in other countries. Many high-street retailers in the UK are directly targeting UK expats abroad through digital and social media ad campaigns with the aim that these expats will become brand ambassadors and promote their brands abroad.
Expats tend to form strong bonds and networks as they navigate through unfamiliar countries. This not only benefits them in their new countries but also their peers back home. Whether this help is in the form of international advice or job opportunities – or even assisting with travel arrangements and places to stay, expat networks are invaluable to those around them.
International students in tertiary education number around five million and are growing 10 percent every year. Every year thousands of young people from China and India head west to western universities and this global knowledge migration brings with it many benefits and opportunities. Expats who migrate for international educational opportunities are crucial to building relationships between nations and are actively committed, through their research, to helping solve global challenges from climate change to the spread of disease.
Building a third culture
Expats are a counter-force against the wave of extreme nationalism that is bringing destruction to many parts of the world. Many have children who through their travels have developed an open-minded, empathetic approach to life that is not country-dependent. These third culture kids represent the future with their understanding of an interconnected modern world. Their unique bicultural and bilingual status means they are ideally placed to assist both their new and old countries with their “three-dimensional world view”.
Developing the world economy
One of the ways expats can move between countries is by opening their own businesses. Expat entrepreneurs bring their unique skills and business ideas to their new country and are often rewarded for doing so with permanent residency status. Emerging markets are often areas where expats excel as they help develop and build the new economy they are working in, and in doing so, contribute to their local community by providing much-needed goods and services.
If you are a South African expat living abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through financial emigration, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.