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A Third Of Expats In The UK Are Worried About Domestic Politics

New research reveals that 14% of expats in the UK would consider returning to their home country for political reasons.

Research* from AXA – Global Healthcare has revealed that a third (31%) of expats living in the UK are concerned about domestic politics. It proved to be such a concern, that expats currently living and working in the UK reported feeling more worried by domestic politics than those in any other country surveyed; France (22%),  Canada (11%), the UAE (10%) and Hong Kong (7%).

By comparison, with just a fifth (18%) claiming to feel worried about global politics, UK-based expats seemed to be considerably more concerned about domestic politics than those on the world stage. They were also more worried by domestic politics than terrorism (18%).

Those expats who were most concerned by the local political landscape were aged 41-50 (36%), with residents aged 24-30 (29%) and 31-40 (28%) much less worried.

Tom Wilkinson, CEO, AXA – Global Healthcare commented, “There’s no denying that, with Brexit looming, we are in the midst of an incredibly turbulent political period. For months now, it has felt almost impossible to read or listen to the news without the UK’s political situation making the headlines. It’s understandable, therefore, that the impact of the local political landscape on their daily lives would worry expats who have made their home in the UK more than those in other parts of the world.”

Looking to the future, the research also found that expats living in the UK are more likely than any other surveyed to consider returning to their home countries for political reasons. The research revealed that 14% would consider leaving, compared with 12% in France, 6% in Hong Kong, 5% in the UAE and 3% in Canada.

Despite the current political uncertainty, it seems expats have more reason to come to the UK than they do to leave. While 14% would consider leaving for political reasons, a third (32%) of expats have moved to the UK for career opportunities and a fifth (20%) did so for better pay and benefits.

Tom Wilkinson concluded: “Speculation is rife over how Brexit will affect both British citizens who are living abroad and expats who have chosen to make their home here, in the UK. Whatever the future holds though, the skills, experience and investment that expats from all corners of the globe bring to the UK cannot be underestimated. It’s hugely encouraging, therefore, to see that large numbers of expats are still choosing to make their home here, in the UK. Likewise, it’s reassuring that the number of expats who would consider returning to their home country for political reasons remains relatively low.”

*Research conducted in February 2019 by Vitreous World. A total of 1,352 expats were surveyed (250 in the UK, France, UAE, Canada and China respectively, and 100 in Hong Kong)



Mobile Workforce As Popular As Ever

Organizations all over the world are leveraging the benefits of a globally mobile workforce. According to a KPMG International survey, 72 percent of over 600 respondents use global mobility programs to support overall business objectives. KPMG International’s 15th annual Global Assignment Policies and Practices (GAPP) survey provides a wealth of information for those responsible for or interested in global mobility. The detailed data found in these pages is an opportunity to compare or contrast one’s current practices to those of their peers or other types of organizations. Further, it allows for critical learning of best practices and new ways of thinking.

“A globally mobile workforce is as popular as ever,” says Achim Mossmann, Principal, KPMG’s International Executive Services, KPMG in the US. “Over the 15 years of this survey’s existence, in those companies where use of mobility is the norm, we have seen continued expansion and adaptation to the programs. We even see companies with headquarters in Nordic and Asia Pacific regions beginning to jump on the globalization bandwagon and needing to move their people to new strategic growth locations.”

Flexibility and adaptability of programs to address changing demands is strongly evidenced through the variety of assignment types offered:

  • 81 percent offer short term assignments;
  • 96 percent offer long term assignments;
  • 47 percent offer permanent transfer/indefinite length assignments.

Surprisingly, given the current economic environment, and the noted desire to support the business, only 12 percent of survey participants say that cost control and assurance of an acceptable return on investment (ROI) are of importance.

According to Mossmann, “Having agreed upon metrics to demonstrate ROI helps any global mobility program demonstrate objectively their value to the broader organization and secure continued program funding. However, a notable amount of survey participants struggle to track ROI information as it relates to international assignments—27 percent do not know the percentage of assignees that leave the organization within 12 months of repatriation and 31 percent do not know why they leave.”

Encouragingly, survey participants, year-on-year, continue to exhibit inclusionary mindsets as it relates to the definition of a “family” within their policies for benefit purposes. Fifty-five percent include unmarried domestic partners/companions of the opposite gender and 49 percent include unmarried domestic partners/companions of the same gender.

These broader definitions are most evident in European and Asia Pacific-headquartered organizations, and also within the financial services and high technology industries. In circumstances where organizations may offer incentives for assignees to accept international opportunities, many survey participants also take into consideration dual-career couples and their children.

For instance 21 percent provide job search support in the host country and 21 percent reimburse education expenses for the spouse/partner. Forty-one percent offer language training and 37 percent offer cross-cultural training to the assignee, spouse and their children.

Overall, the use of international assignees will remain the same amount or more for 86 percent of survey participants.

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