Survey: More than 80% of expats chose to stay in their host country during the COVID-19 crisis

Published on 2020-06-12 at 09:17 by Anne-Lise Mty
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, and April International set out to find out what expatriates’ responses to the crisis was. We found that while most expats chose to remain in their host country ahead of the crisis, 18% did fly home and another 38% will be heading home once the crisis is over. Find out what else our survey reveals.

The survey was carried out between April and May 2020 with the participation of 725 expats around the world. Most of the respondents were French (60%), Canadians, Americans and Belgians living mainly in the USA, Portugal, Thailand and France.

It's worth noting that only 18% of them returned to their home country when the global health crisis started. The main reasons behind their move were to reunite with their families, and their trust in their home country's health system compared to that of their host country.

What about the 82% who decided not to move despite the global health crisis? Most of them (21%) indicated that they felt safe in their host country, so there was no reason to go back home. Others already had their family in their host country while some simply didn't have the financial means to go back home. On the other hand, 10 % of respondents didn't want to take the risk of travelling during the COVID-19 crisis.

Some expatriates are looking to go back home once border restrictions are lifted. In fact, 38% of respondents said they would go back home once it's safe to travel. The main reason is to reunite with their families. However, some also state that their visa or resident permit is expiring soon while others say that the COVID-19 crisis had an impact on their stay abroad.

On the other hand, 62% of respondents are looking to stay put after the COVID-19 crisis since they already have a stable job and a family in their host country. Some have also set up a business in their host country, so they cannot just leave.

Most expatriates who participated in the survey were aged 18 to 35 (38%) and 50 to 65 (26%). A significant share of them are active -- 46% are employed and 11% are self-employed.