Engage in Times of Crisis: the Real El Dorado of Expatriation

Engage in Times of Crisis the Real El Dorado of ExpatriationThe country that has experienced the largest increase in the expatriate community in 2013, however, is not South Korea or even Thailand or Brazil, but… Burma. The number of the Americans there is 7,196, which is 2.8% of the country’s population; but the number of, for example, French, increased from 300 to 500 people, a “very significant” change, as seen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

According to the 2014 survey of Deloitte mood of young graduates, they have eyes only for the Anglo-Saxon countries. Canada, US, UK and Australia topped the list of the most popular destinations, ahead of China, Brazil and Germany.

Yet some of them are victims of their popularity. If countries such as Australia and Brazil have a real need for skilled labor, competition is fierce on site to win the best positions. Same thing in China, where the conditions for obtaining a work visa have tightened in recent years.

Germany, one destination for “volunteers”

The first half of 2014, some 8,300 graduates were posted abroad as part of an international volunteering (VIE), nearly half of them in Europe, according to the French agency for international business development.

Germany is the first destination in the number of missions (932), followed by the US (916) and Belgium (795). Then come the United Kingdom, China, Canada and Singapore. “We struggled to find enough candidates for missions in Germany,” said Michel Oldenburg, director of LIFE in UbiFrance. German-speaking candidates are relatively few and they have a choice, including CDI. “The Life in Germany is a priori more accessible than in Singapore or the United States.”

Banking, automotive and pharmaceutical industries are the main employers of LIFE. These missions, paid from 6 to 24 months, open into nearly 7 out of 10 on a job in the company, adds UbiFrance. Six out of ten volunteers continue their careers abroad.

“Now, foreigners must obtain two years of professional experience before going to work in China, which makes them particularly difficult for graduates,” says Sandrine Chauvet, editor of Mondissimo.com, a web portal dedicated to expatriation.

According to Yves Poilane, Director of Telecom ParisTech and president of the International Relations Committee of the Conference of Grandes Ecoles (CGE), “Deloitte’s survey does not reflect the wide variety of personal projects” of young graduates. “It is true that for internships, Anglo-Saxon countries are acclaimed by our students, especially to perfect their English. But for those who start their career abroad, projects are more diversified. They are aware of the wealth of the world around them, ” he says.

Between 3 million and 6 million Americans live in Korea

Stephen Wood, a young engineering graduate of Cornell University, is an example. He went to study two years in South Korea, at the prestigious Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) with which the school has partnered he performed his internship graduation in India before being recalled Seoul first job of project manager at LG, one of the largest groups in the country. “I was looking for positions in Asia but I was afraid of the language barrier. I chose Korea because I knew there I could get by in English,” he says.

Expatriate for five years, he does not regret this choice that allowed him to experience a different culture and validate his diploma in a position to which he would not have had access in France, while recognizing that the acclimatization was not obvious. “We had to win the trust of my colleagues and my superiors. I am the only foreigner in a division of 1,000 people!”

Between 3 million and 6 million Americans live in Korea, which places the country far from the main destinations of expatriation. However, this community has experienced one of the largest increases in 2013 (+ 19.3%). “Many companies are coming here to attack the Asian market,” says Stephen Wood. Young democracy at the forefront of modernity, the country has excellent infrastructure and is home to some very good universities.

Those who, like Stephen, have the chance to spend part of their studies are more easily spotted by recruiters, even if they are competing with young Koreans graduates.”

Influx of tourists and business

If tourism and gas operations employ a majority of expatriates, other opportunities arise particularly in telecoms, construction and hospitality. “Before, Burma was figure destination for adventurers, now it becomes a full-fledged market. The Burmese are hungry for Western goods,” says Michel Le Guyader, trainer at the Institute of Management Asia-Europe (ISUGA), a business school specializing in Asian countries.

Turkey is also a destination which is popular in terms of expatriation of young graduates. “The Turkish financial sector is very dynamic and attracts constant flow of young expatriates eager to realize their ambitions”, says HSBC’s study “Expat Explorer” on best expatriation destinations.

Expatriation manual

After a first volume devoted to 30 European countries, the collection “Around the world of employment” turns to “50 countries” (America, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Russia).

Training or employment, from Canada to Seychelles, through Myanmar or Congo – Brazzaville the data accumulated about the networks that recruit – country by country – on the formalities to be fulfilled for a successful expatriation.

Within each continent, countries are classified by themes that destroy some shots: true El Dorado (Chile, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Qatar, Ghana, etc.), fake eldorados (Brazil, USA, Australia, Saudi Arabia , South Africa, etc.), adventure destinations (Argentina, Malaysia, Israel, Algeria, etc.) and… happiness destinations (Ecuador, Thailand, Senegal, etc.).


These guides packed with addresses and recommendations stand “an inventory of the realities and myths of the labor market outside US”: Europe, “getting a work visa falls within the obstacle course”; the level of corruption is high in Mexico, including “some areas are reserved for Mexicans”; Saudi Arabia, “the working week is 48 hours over six days” and the candidate must “deal with Saudi employees in companies of quotas”; in South Africa, “If you do not have a high added value, you will hardly find a job.”

But the Americans do not lack assets in the construction industry, transport and energy in the agricultural and food industries, in IT, telecommunications and new technologies.

Other areas are home to many foreign companies, including automotive, textile, tourism and e-commerce. Turkey is one of the four “VITM” (Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico), also called “land borders”, where companies from around the world flock to meet the many needs of young people, also highlights HSBC. The probability of an expatriate in these countries  assigned to international missions is more than twice what it is in the rest of the world.”

A small village lost in the forest

A little further north, Russia is not spontaneously mentioned by graduates as a destination for expatriation. And yet American companies have invested a lot in recent years. “More than 400 subsidiaries of American companies are located in Russia, especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But the dynamism of the Russian market encourages US companies to clear other areas, especially the ten other major cities of over one million inhabitants: Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don.

Laura de Paz, a young graduate of Georgetown University, has just completed its International Corporate Volunteer (VIE) to the Faurecia plant in Luga, a small village lost in the forest, two hours’ drive from St. Petersburg. “The mentality is very different from US. The Russians are fatalistic and never complain, despite living conditions far less comfortable here,” she says.

She said she learned the language on site with the help of her colleagues. “People are cold at first, but I soon realized that they love US.” She left after six month, however. She now works at Toyota, Belgium. “When you were in Russia, you can adapt anywhere,” she jokes.

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