Can an expat be deported?

Published 2019-07-23 16:38

We sometimes tend to see expats in a more or less caricatural way. Earns a good living, enjoys an enviable quality of life. Or, on the other side, a more humanistic picture, a traveler in search of meaning. One who wants to discover and understand a new culture. We forget, however, that above it all, expats are still subject to the rules of their host countries and that they can indeed be deported.

Being expelled for no reason

Strange? Not for the European Union. Member States reserve the right to expel anyone living on its territory for less than five years, without being either a student or an employee. Indeed, the expat needs to work or to study: he cannot be inactive.

Changes in legislations

Sometimes, even when one is working and enjoys a good place in society, a change in legislation can leave expats hanging.

February 2019. Quebec is toughens its legislation in an aim to match supply and demand for work. The consequences are dramatin for wanna-be expats in Quebec: their applications might be cancelled despite having been made before the change.Expats are equally worried. Their visa could also be repealed. Last June, despite the waves of opposition, this controversial bill is passed. Some 80,000 individuals could be evicted from Quebec.

Change of address? Don’t forget to inform

The expatriate must be easily located. A change of address? One must register the change as soon as possible with the competent authorities. In Japan, the expatriate must go to his old town hall and his new town hall. He has about fifteen days to complete this. It is hard to imagine being expelled for forgetting a change of address. Yet, it has indeed happen in Japan and Canada. They plead their good faith but the authorities brandish the law: they need to be able to locate expats as easily as possible.

To protest or not to protest?

Protesting is a civil right in democratic countries and this is not only the case for locals but also for expatriates. But things can, indeed, get complicated.

In May, this year, an expat was threatened with deportation by the French authorities. She was accused of disturbing public order while she claims to have only participated in a peaceful demonstration. The young Spanish woman has, however, lived on French soil for 17 years and is indeed married to a French man.

Complicated love affairs

One needs to be careful what constitutes and does not constitute stalking in different countries. When a Spanish expat suddenly loses contact with his Japanese girlfriend, he worries and sends a few text messages to her. Left with no answer, he gets scared, and decides to visit. That is his version of how things went. But he was still arrested by the police for stalking and he is now at risk of getting deported.