Opinion: Will the COVID-19 crisis completely change global mobility?

Article
Published 2020-06-17 14:09

This week, the Expat Mag is offering you a special dossier. Our team has attempted to anticipate the new expatriation trends imposed on us by the COVID-19 crisis. Julien, the founder of Expat.com, gives us an insight of what could be the changes over the next few months...

We never thought this could be possible. Not being able to travel, not even being able to leave our houses… the whole world came to a stop at the beginning of 2020 due to the spread of the Coronavirus. And while the sanitary threat is not quite behind us, the economic aftermath of this crisis is more than ever hanging above our heads. What we are living right now, will probably profoundly change our societies, our economies and our lives. Changes that most likely will still be felt years and years from now. And expatriation will most definitely not be spared. It is tricky to understand how exactly the world of international mobility will be changed by the COVID-19 crisis because a lot of factors come into play. Taking into consideration several factors, I will try to take a few wild (but mostly informed) guesses…

First of all, let’s look at the people who decided to head home ahead of or in the midst of the health crisis. A survey carried out by Expat.com in collaboration with April International, an insurance company, has shown that 18% of respondents - all expats - had decided to head home because of the crisis. Most of them did so to be closer to their families and because they trusted the health system of their home country better. These expats, we could read on our forums, were mostly those who were on internships or on short-term assignments abroad. The 80% who decided to stay put were mostly staying because they already had family lives and long-term jobs in their host countries. That’s absolutely understandable. I was, myself, in New York at the time and although my wife and three year old daughter had moved with me, we were all desperate for one thing: home (Mauritius)! Thankfully, I managed to fly to my parents’ house in France where I still am right now. While it is a relief to be with my family, saying I am not longing for home would be a lie. It is no surprise, therefore, that expats who were not yet settled in their host countries or had no plans to settle permanently would want to move home.

Others, however, had no choice but to go home. Indeed, the economic crisis has, unfortunately, already caused loss of jobs around the world and a few participants in our survey did indicate having had to go home because of loss of a job. And this does not seem to be stopping anytime soon! The International Labour Organization (ILO) has estimated that 55 million people are at risk of losing their jobs because of the crisis with the tourism industry being particularly affected. I do think that a lot of expats living abroad on work permits will be prompted to return to their home countries because of the crisis. Especially because it will be pretty difficult to find a job in the current economic environment. How many expatriate workers will have to return home as a result of loss of job? It is very difficult to make this estimation.

The same economic crisis should also affect to-be expats’ projects of working abroad. Indeed, the sanitary crisis and closure of borders has already seen a lot of people having to defer their departures. But until when? Will expatriation projects be back on track as soon as borders open? It is likely that a lot of expatriation projects will considerately change with the economic crisis looming. Not only are a lot of businesses going to think twice before hiring people from abroad, with all the costs this involves, but one of the priorities of this post-COVID world for human resource is promoting remote working practices. Indeed, one thing the crisis has taught us is how to operate businesses remotely and this is something business-owners will have to be more wary of. This could mean hiring foreign expertise who can operate from their home countries.

On the other hand, the desire to travel and live abroad is likely to spout in some or be exacerbated in others after the crisis. I anticipate that, especially among those young international souls looking to experience the world, the lockdowns and closure of borders would have done nothing but give them more reasons to seek internship opportunities, Working-Holiday visas or jobs abroad. What might change, however, is how we choose our host countries. While the quality of healthcare will most definitely weigh more in the balance today than it did a few months ago, the proximity to our home countries and reactivity of the authorities to the COVID-19 are new factors that will likely be taken into account. A consultancy firm specialised in citizenship and permanent residency has already noted a decline in countries like the United Kingdom. The London-based firm has attributed this shift to the late onset of precautionary measures. I personally do not believe it is difficult to rate governments and authorities on how they have dealt with these unprecedented circumstances, to be fair but expats and expats-to-be will most definitely factor in what they think of how the authorities have reacted to the crisis.

Whether we like it or not, the world of global mobility will be turned upside down after the COVID-19 crisis. We tend to speak a lot about tourism, with the closure of borders, it will most definitely be the first industry to be affected on the short-term but expatriation and global mobility will very much see the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, especially on the long-term. This crisis will define the expatriation trends of the next decade- timing, choice of country and will also change the services required by the expat population especially in terms of healthcare- telemedicine, for example, is about to become the hype new thing! We could spend hours talking about the potential changes in global mobility following the COVID-19 crisis and we could run a hundred surveys- but it is you, it is US who will define what expatriation will look like in a year. So, with the new variants in sight, it is up to you to decide how you are designing your expatriation project. Where are you going? How are you getting there? Who is coming with you on this big expatriation? The world really is your oyster! It is time for you to get out there!

8 Comments
Writerman
Writerman
2 weeks ago

Learning 2016 and blackjak2010 have both made very valid points. What is interesting is that their views were published. Top marks to the editor for not censoring them. In Spain, as I am sure you are well aware, all news is censored and only the government's 'approved news' gets aired. In Spain, which is not a democracy it is a corruptocracy, the population are blindly following whatever they are told via TV. They have swallowed hook, line and sinker every bit of nonsense they have been fed. I have tried to debate this with my Spanish friends but they won’t have it. One actually yelled at me that I know nothing about Spain. Why? Because I asked that she think about what she is being told. I suggested to all of them they do their homework i.e. check the factual basis of what we are being told. Big negative reactions all round! The situation was clearly well planned in advance, as learning2016 indicated. World governments acting in concert in such a short space of time? And the very questionable actions of the WHO? The coupe d’état has become a coupe mondial. It has happened. Anyone with a brain knew it was coming and here it is. There were clues starting in 2015 and brought into plain site in 2017. Another clue was the near instantaneous use of conditioning language such as, ‘front line workers’ a war slogan, should have been, ‘key workers’. The very deceptive phrase, ‘social distancing’ should have been ‘medical distancing’ but its use prepares us for informing on our friends and neighbours. Informing on anyone who does not abide by whatever the government is going to enforce. There are many other examples. World populations have accepted their fate. There will be no return to ‘normal’. I wait to see how the mounting death toll from stress and suicide caused by enforced incarceration and the coming spike in severe respiratory infections caused by having bacteria laden masks stuck to faces all day will be recorded. Honestly? I doubt it. There has been little honesty so far. Democracy has been tried and has proven to be inconvenient for whomever so it has been overthrown, worldwide. Things will get worse.

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learning2016
learning2016
2 weeks ago

Good to see another truther here, unfortunately, what good does that do us? I wish this site would allow for parag. breaks. I can't stand reading a wall of text. It hurts my brain. I feel really stuck where I am. I can't get back to the US. I just heard no flights until Oct & then they will extend that date as well b/c they have NO INTENTION of letting us roam free. And I'm not saying there aren't millions of sheeples there, but at least they are smarter than most of the expats I've come across where I am. I've been scared for my safety here with expats accusing me of breaking the LAW b/c I disagree with the masks & of course CV in general or maybe social distancing. I run my local English speaking FB group, & there's been angst in the last week. I've had to remove one person (she was nuts to beging with) for encouraging people to rat out local bizes & people who do NOT bow down & lick the boots of the tyrannical gov't. When I warned the FB group I wouldn't tolerate that, another one PMed me & was condescending, told me how to run the group & she issued another veiled threat that of course they should report ALL breakers of the LAW! i had to ask her to leave twice. The fighting in this group is very stressful, & I'm the ONLY one who's a truther. And there's people there who advertise gov't programs, so I really am scared for my life now that the criminal cops will come knocking on my door soon. I thought Spain had that anarchist city there, no? Now is the time for people to FINALLY WAKE UP & learn that the gov't is NOT your friend & never has been. That in order to be FREE human beings, we need to rule ourselves using the Laws of Nature ONLY! I already stated I was going to go full hog on my FB profile (I had avoided doing that for 5 years now) once the scamdemic broke b/c we are going to either be chained, tracked/chipped, & forced to take the poisonous DNA changing, vaccine anyway, I might as well go out with a bang before I call it quits. I just didn't think the sheeples were going to do THEIR job for them, but that's what the evils wanted &, of course, got. What better way to police the truthers than to use brain dead morons who worship the criminals in gov't & the evil 13 families who have controlled our world for thousands of years. And then I wanted to see what was happening in Mexico in a FB group just in case I can make it over there & BAM, I made a comment about the tyrannical Canadian gov't, b/c when you fly in, you have to be quarentined for 14 days (or is it 10) & they will check up on you. Someone was asking. Someone mentioned that one person was seen walking around the neighborhood & the neighbors all ratted them out too. This made me SICK to my stomach just like the expats here. Thank GAWD I'm not in Canada anymore. So it's been a rough 6-7 days where normally I'm just busy watching, reading, learning, & uploading truther videos, but I ended up going toe to toe with the ENEMY - our neighbors who adore & worship their master & help them punish any & and ALL slaves when they get out of hand. Of course this same scenerio has played out back in slave times & also in the first holocaust. This is our second holocaust. Thanks for listening. Hugs

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learning2016
learning2016
3 weeks ago

I only skimmed the article, so if I missed something, I apologize. Unfortunately NO, we will never return to normal because what no one here seems to understand, is that this is a scam. Truthers call it a scamdemic or plandemic. This isn't about CV, although yes it's a variant of the flu just like influenza is, but never EVER in the history of the flu have we shut down the entire world's economy or life itself. I'm still researching whether they are spraying something in the air to make some people sick, but not others because they have been spraying us since the early 90's and using weather as a weapon since the 40's/50's. Do your research, but it will be hard to find the truth because google censors it. It's called geoengineering & they spray heavy metals which kills the trees, organic farms & harms us. In fact, as I write this the planes are flying overhead again & they've been doing this non stop since the scamdemic started. Once maybe twice a week. I would provide links that this was all pre-planned, but I assume it would get blocked. If you want to learn the truth, reach out. These are very very dangerous times, & CV is only the beginning of what the evils have planned for us. No, I'm NOT crazy, I wish I was frankly. You need to study the truth, NOT the lies spread by all of the governments & their MSM. Ask yourself this one question... You all know that governments are not well run. They take their time about everything & could care less about its citizens right? So how is it, that at the beginning of March when this all started, but the entire WORLD'S gov't & MSM managed to all be on the same page at roughly the same time (1-2 week delay)? In China it started mid Dec. probably b/c it was a test case as I'm pretty sure the US worked with China to develop this virus & spread it. Fauci was part of that btw. I'm also stuck now in the country I wanted to leave from months ago & have been wanting to return to the US, but it's probably safer here than in the US as they will need to bring down the US first before they can make every other country follow suit as tha'ts how it works overall with anything in this world. Every country follows what happens in the US. I will leave you with this. We do NOT control this world. We never have. There are very very evil families who have controlled this world since the beginning of recorded history. I'm actually reading a book now that details all the wars, the name changes, where the families stem from, etc. They have perpetuated war at every turn & not because humans are violent by nature, but because THEY are & they have created a world where the dark side of human nature is showing. This is their doing. This was NOT some natural virus. There are no such things as viruses. There's evidenece about that too I just learned. The only way a human can be harmed, is if it's something man made & its intent is to harm humans & all living creatures on earth. Wake up people, they have been poisoning us for centuries & you should know this just by all the poisons in the air, water, earth & food. That was no accident either. Stay safe.

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blackjack2010
blackjack2010
3 weeks ago

One thing I have learned about Human Nature is that most do not look at the whole picture and tend to comment on the current situation and totally disregard facts, cut and pasted, or forward and share other stories in an instant. That,s our World now. Instant and not checking the facts as they dont matter. People grab some info and run with it as this is current and a good story. No one wants to hear the facts. CV19 is the greatest political hoax ever. From the beginning the media fed this thing as it was close to us and we were all going to die. We all panicked and horded food if we could. But as the facts unfolded we were told that the figures were not at all accurate and were built up to get funding. OK so by now your thinking this is me and a conspiracy theory, No its far from it, Its reminding people that that read something and ran with it in a panic, human nature. OK fact 1 people do not die from CV19, they die from the underlying illness they already had. CV19 is proven to infect and MOST according to WHO do not have any systems and get over it as their immune system fights off virus, bacteria and pathogens. Now I am sorry to say but some people have a compromised immune system, like one of my staffs younger sister, just died from leukemia at 17. Some people genetically are not going to live long. Fact. Now look at the numbers of deaths, greatly, hugely overstated as its good news for the media to fan. The facts are that there is not proof that CV19 killed someone outright, meaning that they had no underlying illnesses like cancer, diabetes, hypertension bronchitis, pneumonia, etc etc. Germany did a whole range of autopsies on CV19 related deaths and found the cause of death as written on the death certificate was something else, but the law now requires a test for CV19 and this is listed on the DC as well. So to get funding the cause of death is CV19. If you dont believe then question why the USA Senate allocated 1.4 billion dollars as the health care system wouldnt cover people with CV19. CHECK. Now each country is doing things differently and doing the best they can. However many are using this pandemic to stop everything, lock down the system and people and then make everything and everyone more accountable. The question you need to ask is why? In Thailand there is a QR code to track everyone. But this is not a WHO requirement, WHO tells us that the thermal checks do not show an infected person. If I could add pic I would but check it out on the who website here https://www.who.int/images/default-source/health-topics/coronavirus/eng-mythbusting-ncov-(80).png?sfvrsn=afa995ff_2 . There are many inconsistencies with CV19 and the bottom line is that the deaths reported to make fear are inflated to cause news. And because of this the World will suffer the worst financial crash in history, FACT. The number is rising daily as no one did the math to see the domino effect of this pandemic. Each day the debt is rising. Governments are borrowing huge sums of money and this needs to be paid back and to who? The more they wait and see what will happen approach the worse this gets. Think of this. The world waits to flatten the curve and then opens up to tourism and business. ONE person is enough to start it all again, but again MOST people will not get symptoms or sick and hopefully proper numbers derived from proper tests (remember the first test kits were faulty and gave false (positives) only then will CV19 be in perspective. Meaning that the financial hardships to come all over the World has to be weighed up against a few people that are going to die anyway from another disease. Food queues, homeless and jobless people are to be the norm? I am sorry the World has come to this and the people that are opportunistically taking advantage of it. I am not a pessimist and in time this scenario will play out as the financially bills start mounting. Good luck all!!

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KudiBudi
KudiBudi
3 weeks ago

Hello I have been a senior tourist in the Philippines since November 2019 and would have had my return flight in April. I decided to stay because I didn't think that the PH would introduce such strict rules. It seems they are following the WHO's full action plan, with exaggerated measures that apparently won't be abandoned that quickly. Conclusion: I will fly home as soon as I can. I wanted to come back this year at the end of the year, but of course this is cancelled now. In order to fly again, it is very important to know what is required in the airports and on the planes, and what the destination country demands. Certainly it will take more time with even more control, people may be suspicious of each other and costs are rising, flying will be a challenge. Wearing masks is a no-go for me. If a vaccination certificate is required, flying is totally over for me.

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hanselmar
hanselmar
3 weeks ago

Now as airplane journeys are toxic travel by car or by boat. If you are from France and you want to travel to Mauritius just take your boat and enjoy the sea. A pensioner from Scotland will take his car on the way to Malta. This takes only 5 days, but if he travels by boat it takes longer. Just remember the way is the destination and you will enjoy every bit of your journey.

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Writerman
Writerman
3 weeks ago

Remote working? A real possibility? I think not. I was part of two working groups, one in the mid-eighties in Scotland and the other in the early nineties in London, which examined the possibility, capability and desire for home working. Many people in the high tech industries, software development for instance, could work very happily from home and research proved they were not only more effective but very much more cost effective. Other businesses that required face to face contact, sales for example, could have worked very well with the sort of conference systems Noel Edwards’ company was pushing in the early nineties. But none of this happened for a simple reason that is as valid today as it was then. Each generation imagines they invent whatever is in their time. Each generation believes their generation is different to the generation before it. None of this is true. Materially there can be differences but human beings are human beings. We do not fundamentally change. Whatever fly was in the ointment then is still there and it is this: The psyche of bosses, well tested, and very well documented, works like this: workers work for me, not for themselves. I must see them, I pay them so I must control them. That’s it. Whether it is an SME or a multi-national corporation, and they are by far the most resistant, that psyche is not going to change because of a virus. There will be temporary changes, they have already happened but long-term? It will, sadly, be business as usual. People forced to go to an office, clog the public transport system, clog the streets, and leave mountains of waste that has to be dealt with. Is this absolutely necessary? No. But the corporate psyche says, yes. If this virus is going to teach us anything it is this: business wise nothing changes. And that is the root of future problems. That is the ‘disease’ that must be changed.

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outsourcer group
outsourcer group
3 weeks ago

To be clear! In the longrun, everything will return to equilibrium&& A powerful political-Eco strategy will return normal!

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