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Posts Tagged ‘abroad’

Expatstudy: Interesting Survey of Expatriation (deadline 2/28/14)

January 10th, 2014 No comments

Happy New Year to you all!

I can’t think of a better way to start 2014 right than by partaking in a very valuable and helpful survey of expatriation and international careers.

A researcher and her team in Germany are conducting this important study (more information below).

The full study website
Direct link to survey (which takes about 10 minutes)

Please submit your answers by February 28.
This will contribute to some great insights in this increasingly globalized world.
The results will be shared later this year.

Thank you!

Expatstudy is a research project by Hanna Sophie Simmons for the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich tackling the question how expatriation influences career success. No existing research has ever sufficiently addressed this relationship and standpoints are very contradictory.

Expatriation and repatriation issues cannot be generalized worldwide, as immense differences in repatriation policies, the recruitment and selection of expatriate personnel, sense of loyalty between the employees and their company, international staffing policies, expatriate contract length, and a country’s volume of self-initiated expatriates exist. Thus, with organizations around the world having never implemented a uniform stance on expatriation, more conclusive research on the relationship of international assignments and repatriates’ career success is absolutely essential.

We need your support and EVERYONE is welcome!

Whether or not you have ever been on an expat assignment, IT DOESN’T MATTER, you CAN still participate. YOU are the key to helping make this study unique and successful.

Without research, there is no development. Without your participation in this survey, there will be less research. So please dedicate 10 minutes of your time and participate. Your effort will not go unnoticed and will be greatly appreciated.

US Tax deadline April 15, and June 17 for US expats abroad

Just a friendly reminder that the April 15th tax deadline is fast approaching with our friends at the IRS. Americans living abroad have until June 17th to file their returns, but still any taxes owed to the US government that are outstanding must be paid by April 15th.

For those in France, the US Embassy Paris has a page dedicated to taxation resources, including many links to IRS and forms (like the 2555-EZ form for Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion). As the article stipulates, if you’re American and work and reside outside the US, you may be able to exclude up to $95,100 USD annually in foreign income. Check out the links above for further information.

AARO has some views on taxation of Americans abroad, worth the read.

Voting from abroad in US elections (update)

If you’re American and live abroad, that does not mean you have to put your political views on hold come election time.

Make sure to check out this website Vote From Abroad for information on how to vote from other countries. A video is below. (Disclaimer: This is a Democrat-affiliated organization).

The US Embassy in Paris has also send out helpful information, below the video. The US Embassy’s page on Facebook is also a great resource.

In addition, the non-partisan, non-profit association Union of Overseas Voters has a site at WeVote.fr for tips. You can join them on Facebook.

They have also made these information sheets available for you:

Important Voting Facts for US citizens

About the Union of Overseas Voters

Flyer for help sessions in person in Paris (1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 2-5pm at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris)

Merci for the helpful documents!

If you have any stories about voting from abroad, feel free to post a comment. Happy voting!

Message from US Embassy Paris

Have a say in our country’s future. One of our most treasured values is the right and the privilege to vote – to participate actively in our country’s democratic process. This November, U.S. citizens will elect a President, a Vice President, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House of Representatives. The U.S. Embassy in France encourages all U.S. citizens to participate in this year’s elections, and stands ready to help you vote.

Almost all overseas U.S. citizens can vote. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now allow adult children who have never resided in the United States to vote using their parents’ state of voting residence. Details are available on the FVAP website at http://www.fvap.gov/reference/nvr-res.html.

Register and request a ballot. To vote, new laws require you to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) this calendar year. The FPCA allows you to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. If you haven’t yet done so, we urge you to do so now. The easiest way to complete it is online at www.FVAP.gov. Depending on your State’s rules, you then send it to your local election officials electronically or by mail.

Mailing guidance. Print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. You can drop off the postage-paid envelope (containing your FPCA) at the Embassy, and we will mail it back home for you without the need to pay international postage. If it’s easier for you to use France’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.

Embassy Paris drop box: You may drop your signed, dated, sealed FPCA registration or ballot in the Consular Section drop box:

a. Go to the Consular Section entrance of the Paris Embassy with your registration or ballot;

b. Announce that you would like to drop off voting materials;

c. Present suitable ID (preferably a passport);

d. Present the registration or ballot;

e. After the security check, place the ballot in the ballot box.

Need help? Go to the Embassy’s voting website page to receive assistance. Voting Assistance Officers or private U.S. citizen volunteers in France may also help you. (NOTE: It is acceptable for private U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens’ groups to collect FPCAs and deliver them to the Embassy on behalf of other eligible voters, as long as each FPCA is in its own U.S. postage-paid envelope.)

Make your vote count! Follow your State’s absentee voting procedures carefully. Send in your FPCA before the registration deadline. When you get your ballot, vote and mail it promptly so it reaches local election officials by your State’s absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Questions? If you have any questions about registering to vote, please contact the Paris Voting Assistance Officer by email at VoteParis@state.gov

As expat numbers grow, what does it take to succeed abroad?

December 12th, 2011 2 comments

The BBC has two recent pieces on expatriate professionals, one here from Dec 5, the other here from Dec 11.

The latter article has a list of “Top three relocation tips“:

-Research language and red tape – especially visas
-Closely involve the family
-Keep a firm grip on the process – or have someone else do it

Some excerpts are below (my emphasis in bold).

What are your experiences as expats or potential expats? What are the most challenging issues for you? What are the greatest opportunities that expat life can offer?

5 December 2011 Last updated at 00:02 GMT
Exodus: Movement of rich people – a life at home abroad
By Rebecca Marston
Business reporter, BBC News

An Italian professor of maths moves from Rome to New York State, a lawyer moves from Sydney to Hong Kong after a spell in the Cayman Islands in between, a Portuguese executive moves from Mexico City to Bogota, a violinist leaves Serbia for the UK.

The movement of professional people on this scale was unimaginable 10 years ago.

The cross-border migration of highly-educated people from upper-middle income countries rose by 44% between 2000 and 2006, according to a recently published study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In low income countries the cross-border movements also jumped significantly, by 28%.

Intra-company transfers in developed countries rose 39% between 2005 and 2008, and this does not include intra-company transfers within the European Economic Area, says OECD policy analyst Jonathan Chaloff, even though the scale of those “can be considerable”.

“What is clear is a trend towards an increase, albeit interrupted by the economic crisis,” says Mr Chaloff.

Multi-national companies and government organisations confirm that view….

….Some get a strong taste for the life, but for others it is fraught with pitfalls both practical and emotional; there is homesickness, or relationship breakup….

….One of the key mistakes companies make, he says, is to assume that someone who has successfully completed a project in one country will be able to do the same elsewhere: “Most people say you have to be resilient – I think its more than resilience.

“We would argue very strongly that having intelligence on this person, knowing how they tick would help immensely. Some of it is about what you know but that’s only part of it, its about your approach to it as well.

“You may think ‘this guy has done a good job delivering in this country – lets get him to do the same in India – he’ll be good at that’ – well, will he?”

But as globalisation and economic growth – where ever it may be found – continues, the experience of moving countries and continents is becoming better understood….

Many move for a better life and more money, although firms – and relocatees – report relocation packages are less generous than they typically were five years ago. This partly reflects that these days it’s not just the most senior executives that are moving. Amongst the number of middle-ranking professionals seeking a new life abroad is rising, but they are cheaper and may not be expected to stay as long.

Brookfield’s Scott Sullivan says there is a move to more flexibility: “Companies are attempting to leverage flexibility by offering what is really needed for an individual assignee… as opposed to a blanket policy with full entitlement to all provisions.”

Relocation itself is big business. Brookfield says relocation expenses for its business total $3.6bn a year….

And parts of the second article below…

11 December 2011 Last updated at 17:37 GMT
The new job that means relocating your life
By Rebecca Marston
Business reporter, BBC News

The world awaits professional skills but it takes a huge range of abilities to make the move to another country

“I often wonder why people don’t take the opportunity to move abroad more often – if you don’t like it you can always go back,” says Colin Smith, general counsel in Hong Kong for hedge fund managers Orchard Capital Partners Limited.

He’s one of a growing number of professionals to whom the location of a job is as important as the length of commute for most of us.

His qualifications as a corporate lawyer make him very portable.

“Banking and corporate legal professionals move quite a lot, what we do can essentially be done in any global financial centre. I have requested every move I’ve made myself.”

One of these moves was to Sydney, which he decided to leave for what might seem a contrary reason: “It was primarily my work-life balance.”

For a corporate lawyer, a 12-hour day is a short one. Perhaps the workload was too light.

Colin explains: “In Sydney, life was good. Every weekend was like a holiday. But, after five years it switched from every weekend being a holiday to almost every weekend in the office. Plus in comparative terms, it is very expensive. I decided to relocate again to find a better balance.”

That sort of moving around takes some organisation – something that many people would find far too daunting.

Check list
On top of the challenge of preparing for a new job, with a new office, in an alien location, there are visas to arrange, flights, accommodation, and shipping your goods – after you have decided what to take.

Colin says the most important thing to tackle is the visa: “That is the first issue, but if you’re moving with a company the firm works that out for you so you don’t have to worry about that.”

For these intra-company moves, there is often plenty of help, with the firm paying towards housing, flights, one month’s accommodation and the shipping of goods.

Even with that help from the firm, there are still other vital practicalities to be tackled.

“You have to find out who provides telephones, the internet, the best way to get to work.”

Most multi-nationals provide a check-list for staff moving, as well as the practical help. And there are relocation firms themselves to whom you can turn for advice….

The Euro-trip is still “a rite of passage”

I loved this BBC News look into interrailing around Europe (from a British perspective). I know that as a student in Angers, France from 2004 to 2005, and since then, I’ve been able to visit many countries in Europe. But the Angers year was more akin to backpacking with friends and staying in hostels. There is excitement, new discoveries, self-reflection, learning about new cultures and languages, accompanied by the occasional logistic problem, cultural barrier, perhaps pickpockets…but it’s all part of the adventure.

If you’re lucky enough to do it, go for it.

This particular article talks about the differences (modern technology, nicer hostels, the Euro…) that have changed backpacking today…but much remains the same. My favorite passage is below. What are your experiences in traveling Europe this way?

“…The essence of an interrailer is constant, Matthias Schwender, who runs an independent hostel in Prague, said to me.

“Someone who is independent-minded, that can connect to other people, that is culturally aware, wants to learn about new cultures and cities, they want to know where the locals go. They know the value of taking some time off in your life for travelling.”

Another interrailer, Titi, argued that you learn about Europe’s tumultuous history by being there, understanding what happened, rather than reading about it in books.

Bad habits to avoid as an expat abroad

This article comes from Expatica and talks about the behavior of “ugly Expats” rather than the stereotypical “ugly American” image.

You’re probably familiar with the expression “Ugly American,” a pejorative and stereotypical term for US expatriates who alienate the locals with their loud and disrespectful behaviour. It comes from the 1958 book The Ugly American, a cautionary tale that tells the story of corrupt and ethnocentric American bureaucrats in Southeast Asia.

One of the characters in the book characterizes Ugly Americans like this:
“A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They’re loud and ostentatious.”

Ugliness: it’s not just for Americans anymore
This being the age of globalization, it seems unfair to single out Americans as the champions of boorish behaviour abroad. In the spirit of inclusiveness, I’d like to propose we retire the expression Ugly American and replace it with Ugly Expat. Cultural disrespect is an equal opportunity sport, after all – one the entire world is eager to play.

The habits to adopt if you’d like to be an “ugly Expat” are below. They are also the habits to avoid if you want a rich cultural experience. I advise the latter!

I have many French friends (indeed, my girlfriend of three years is French) and believe interaction with the locals is key in my experience here. Not only does it help my French language skills, it helps me understand the different cultural perspectives that are at play here. That does not mean I do not mingle with expatriates, as I actively do. I just don’t limit myself to a certain group.

Being at the cross-roads of cultural interaction can be confusing at times in terms of identity (which country do I call home?) but in the end I think it’s rewarding.

Keep an open mind when moving abroad. There will be awkward times, misunderstandings and sometimes discomfort, but that’s part of the learning experience.

1. Don’t waste your valuable time researching your destination or its people before you move – a country’s history or dominant cultural values are no concern of yours. And for heaven’s sake, don’t throw away your money on any of that cross-cultural training mumbo jumbo – everyone knows what a scam that is.

2. Likewise, don’t bother reading up on the causes and symptoms of culture shock, or how to alleviate it. That’s what Valium is for. (Pack lots!)

3. Isolate yourself. Shut yourself up in your compound/condo and refuse all contact with local people. If there’s an exclusive expatriate club nearby, rejoice: you’re saved! Choose your new friends with care, weeding out any prospects who have ‘Gone native’. (Being too chummy with the locals is a dead giveaway.) Successful candidates will have already aced the 12 steps and will embrace you as a kindred spirit.

4. Show off your wealth, especially if you live in a developing nation. Your baubles and fancy toys will breed admiration and respect among the impoverished masses, who will revere you as a role model.

5. Under no circumstances should you eat local food. They eat that unsanitary crap because they don’t know any better; you do. (You can’t be too careful – who knows what you might pick up?) If you’re offered anything unrecognizable, be sure to show your disdain by peppering your refusal with terms such as “dysentery” and “intestinal worms.” Gagging noises are optional.

6. Let everyone know how backward the country is, and how much better things are back home. I can’t stress this enough – never let an opportunity to compare the two countries pass you by. It’s your duty to teach the local populace a thing or two, and opening their eyes to their own inferiority will endear you to them. (Bonus points if you can insult cultural and religious icons or other objects of reverence.)

7. Speak your own language exclusively, especially if it happens to be English. (If the locals haven’t bowed to global pressure and learned it already, that’s their problem.) In a pinch, speaking very s-l-o-w-l-y and very LOUDLY should help them understand you. Trust me; they’ll love being talked to as though they were five years old. If they still don’t understand, throw your hands up in disgust and walk away, muttering under your breath. There’s some body language that won’t get lost in translation!

8. Don’t try to understand – much less accommodate – local customs. If it’s not The Way Things Are Back Home, it’s irrelevant. (Let them know they’re not fooling you with that siesta thing, for example. Everyone knows daytime napping is nothing but sheer laziness. The steaming midday temperature is just an excuse.)

9. Treat your household staff like the servants they are. They don’t need a day off, and you and I both know that hot water would only spoil them. Since it’s for their own good, I’m sure they’ll thank you later.

10. Social networking was invented for people stuck in godforsaken places like this. Spend all day on Facebook, Twitter, and email, lying about how much fun you’re having. Then log onto Farmville and spend some quality time doing whatever it is people on Farmville do.

11. Drink. A lot. It makes life so much fun, both for you and those around you.

12. Take your frustrations out on your husband. It’s all his fault, anyway. If it weren’t for his precious career, you’d be back home among people who matter, instead of wasting the best years of your life in this hellhole.

New birth abroad consular rules to start January 18

January 17th, 2011 1 comment

This message from the US Embassy in Paris…

U.S. Embassy, Paris

Redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad

(Upgrade of Systems: January 1 to January 18, 2011)

The Department of State is pleased to announce the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with a variety of state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft.

Beginning January 18, 2011, overseas posts will still document the citizenship of children born overseas to U.S.-citizen parents, but the CRBAs will be printed at our passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana, using the information provided by overseas posts. By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, we will help ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud.

Additionally, the Department will no longer issue the DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad. Instead, the Department will simply provide new FS-240s in response to requests for additional, replacement, or amended CRBAs.

In order to upgrade our systems for this change, the Consular Section of the Embassy in Paris is suspending CRBA adjudication from January 1 through January 18, 2011. CRBA applications submitted during that time will be adjudicated after January 18.

***

For details on consular services, births abroad, you may refer to the Embassy website page: Birth of U.S. Citizen Abroad.

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) If you are going to live or visit France, please take the time to tell our Embassy (and/or Consulate) about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/).

Country Specific Information is available for every country of the world. These pages include such information as location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. We strongly encourage visitors and persons residing in France to refer to the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information Sheet for France and Monaco at the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1116.html.

Your U.S. Passport
Remember to renew your passport and your children’s passports in a timely manner for departure from France. It takes at least 14 business days to receive a new passport, and you may need to schedule an appointment with our office, so plan ahead if you are traveling soon. Information on passport services is available on our website at http://france.usembassy.gov/passports.html. Important note: the Immigration and Nationality Act (U.S. C. 1185 (b) requires that U.S. citizens enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

US midterm elections: electronic voting from abroad for 25 states

October 12th, 2010 No comments

I got this message from the US Embassy in Paris concerning voting in the upcoming Nov. 2 US midterm elections.

Electronic Voting System Project
October 12, 2010

Attention U.S. citizen voters:

The following 25 states, or parts of these states, are participating in an Electronic Voting System project:

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia

If you vote in one of these states/counties, you should follow the instructions in the attached Electronic Voting System Fact Sheet to find your respective state, and use all of the voting options available to you through www.FVAP.gov. Many of these state tools allow you to use a full ballot reflecting all contests (federal, state, and local). Follow the instructions for returning the voted ballot.

If you subsequently receive your blank state ballot from your state after submitting the online ballot, you should vote and return the state ballot immediately. The state ballot will take priority over the electronic voting project ballot if both are received by the state deadline.

If you have already received, voted, and returned your state ballot, you should not participate in this project.

If you have questions about this project, or about voting by absentee ballot from France, please contact the voting assistance officers by e-mail at: VoteParis@state.gov
or, at the following telephone numbers:

04 91 54 96 10
01 43 12 29 93
01 43 12 20 93
01 43 12 20 21

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

And now, for a reverse: French expats

November 18th, 2009 3 comments

Plus de deux millions de Français à l’étranger

La Tribune.fr – 09/11/2009 | 12:56 – 544 mots

Au 31 décembre 2008, il y avait 1.427.046 expatriés inscrits au registre consulaire des Français établis hors de France, soit 7,6 % de plus qu’un an auparavant.

La moitié d’entre eux (48 %) est installée en Europe, 20 % en Amérique et 16 % en Afrique. L’Asie-Océanie et le Proche et Moyen-Orient ne représentent que 9 % et 7 % des inscrits, mais ce sont les deux régions qui enregistrent la plus forte croissance, avec respectivement + 10 % et + 12,6 %. L’inscription au registre consulaire étant facultative (mais vivement recommandée), tous les Français qui s’expatrient n’y sont pas inscrits.

En réalité, ils seraient au total quelque 2,2 millions à travers le monde, une population hétérogène, mais bien intégrée. Selon une étude, menée en 2008, par la Maison des Français de l’étranger, plus de 80 % d’entre eux affirment bien maîtriser la langue de travail locale. Et seuls 19 % disent éprouver des difficultés majeures à s’insérer dans la vie sociale de leur pays d’adoption.

Des salariés à hauts revenus
Les expatriés sont des salariés à fort niveau de revenus. 89 % d’entre eux ont un emploi et 60 % gagnent plus de 30.000 euros nets par an, selon une enquête menée en 2008 par la Maison des Français de l’étranger et fondée sur les témoignages de quelque 3.000 expatriés et 300 candidats au départ.

Une autre enquête, réalisée à l’automne 2008 par TNS Sofres, affine le portrait : les expatriés sont des salariés employés par une entreprise locale ou sous contrat local à 48 %, 29 % d’entre eux sont détachés ou expatriés. Enfin côté rémunération annuelle, l’éventail est large selon TNS Sofres : de 28 % qui gagnent moins de 30.000 euros, à 21 % plus de 76.000 euros.

Le retour s’anticipe
Une protection sociale qui peut coûter cher Le salarié qui part travailler dans un pays étranger s’attend en général à devoir s’adapter… Il s’attend moins, en revanche, à devoir le faire quand il rentre. « Pour les impatriés, le retour est souvent difficile, raconte Hélène Charvériat, déléguée générale de l’Union des Français de l’étranger. Pour éviter un trop grand décalage, les entreprises essaient de ne pas faire partir les gens plus de six ans. » Elles ont, en outre, intérêt à évoquer les conditions du re- Quitter la France, cela peut être aussi quitter la Sécurité sociale.

Pour rester affilié à l’organisme, il convient de cotiser à la Caisse des Français de l’étranger (CFE). Celle-ci compte 4.500 entreprises adhérentes et couvre un total de plus de 180.000 personnes dans le monde, principalement en Afrique et en Asie. Elle propose une couverture en matière de maladie et maternité, vieillesse et retraite de base de la Sécurité sociale et accidents du travail et maladies professionnelles.

Pour diminuer les formalités à accomplir, la CFE a passé de nombreux accords de gestion avec des assureurs complémentaires. « Pour la retraite, nous faisons le lien avec des organismes spécialisés, comme la CRE [Caisse de tour dans le contrat de départ. « Nous n’avons pas suffisamment de visibilité pour garantir d’avance tel ou tel poste à un expatrié, relève Hans Vanbets, responsable du management des talents du groupe BNP Paribas.

Mais nous pouvons l’assurer de réintégrer des fonctions comparables à celles qu’il occupe à son départ. » Quelles que soient les précautions, les impatriés n’en ont pas moins besoin d’être accompagnés à leur arrivée, ne serait-ce que sur le plan matériel.

C. G.

Categories: Expat life, French, Taxes Tags: , ,
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