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Expatriates seen as driver of economic growth

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Expatriates seen as driver of economic growth

In today's globalized economy, people often move between countries to take advantage of international employment opportunities. Some regions, such as Europe, the Middle East and Asia, are attracting expatriate workers in record numbers as people migrate overseas to seek a higher quality of life. In addition to providing professionals with more career options, expatriation is seen as a key driver of economic growth, especially in countries such as Egypt.

The road to recovery
According to the Saudi Gazette, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi recently said that expatriates represented a unique opportunity for economic recovery in the country. Egypt relies heavily on import and export trade in addition to its tourism sector, which have each been negatively affected by the political instability of the country in recent years.

"Your support is crucial to the growth of the Egyptian economy," said Morsi, speaking at the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as quoted by the news source.

Expatriates often choose to stay in short term lets and furnished extended stay apartments upon arriving in another country. However, many quickly invest in local economies by purchasing homes and properties, which can have a significant impact on regional economic stimulus.

Many Egyptian citizens fled the violence that erupted in the country following the revolution and ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and a significant number have settled in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Saving for the future
Some economists consider expatriates to be drivers of economic growth due to the level of commitment that moving to another country requires. Many expatriates are professional people with families, providing countries with additional skilled workers who want to settle down. In many cases, expats realize the importance of saving for the future, and this mindset also applies to investing in property.

According to the Arab Times, expatriates throughout the Middle East indicated that saving for a home was their top priority. The news source polled expats from many countries on their primary goals while living abroad, and property ownership was cited as the most urgent objective of a majority of respondents.

Not only is this good news for developers seeking to sell more inventory, it also represents a significant area of growth potential for residential property management companies. Expatriates may have a strong desire to get on the property ladder after relocating to another country, but until they have the financial means to do so, many choose to stay in serviced apartments and other mid- to long-term rental properties.

In addition to expatriates who want to invest in property overseas as their primary residence, the news source reports that a growing number of people are seeking to purchase second homes abroad as a financial security measure. Some respondents indicated that owning property in the Middle East offered the opportunity for relocation in the event of unexpected circumstances in their home country.

Cutting the red tape
Moving overseas is a particularly enticing prospect for many people, especially those from the U.K. A recent poll conducted by Lloyds TSB International revealed that many Britons who had emigrated overseas on a temporary basis had no intentions of returning. However, according to The Leader, U.K. residents who primarily reside overseas need to be aware of new governmental guidelines set to go into effect in the summer.

The news source reports that the new Statutory Residence Test (SRT) will determine an individual's residency status depending on the length of time they have been out of the country. Expatriates will automatically be considered overseas residents if they have been abroad for more than one of the previous three tax years and spent fewer than 16 days in the U.K. during the most recent fiscal year.