What’s the Future of Moving Abroad?

The future of moving abroad and being an expatriate seems uncertain right now, until Covid is completely eradicated from the world, but things are getting better, countries have opened up, restrictions have lessened.


The future of moving abroad and being an expatriate seems uncertain right now, until Covid is completely eradicated from the world, but things are getting better, countries have opened up, restrictions have lessened.

Most people went from hating it, to wishing a few things from the lockdown would not end, due more quality time with their loved ones, working from home, starting a business, among some other things. Most office-goers were excited about working from home. For more than 50% of employees, remote work helped them achieve a better work equilibrium. But a few people negatively affected by the lockdown were people who love traveling.

Traveling plans were canceled. Emergency flights were booked. Plans to shift to another country were postponed. The pandemic challenged expatriates everywhere around the world. But we are some stubborn kids. As soon as lockdown restrictions were lifted, there were 15 million increased foreign tourist visits compared to 2020.

I am the host of the ‘Are we home yet?’ podcast and I’ve interviewed 100s of expats. Many of the podcast guests are happy to have moved from their native country to somewhere else. So I wondered what the future of moving abroad is.

Here is a list of a few trends visible in the market.

1.  Traveling is still affected

There has been a 4% increase in international travel in 2022. It is a 73% decrease though in overall foreign visits compared to 2019. Many countries have lifted pandemic restrictions. But people are being cautious and avoiding movement. This fear in people will take a while to be eliminated. Hence, the future of moving abroad seems to be uncertain and limited, and not in the robust way that it used to be, at least for the near future.

2.  Stricter eligibility criteria for moving abroad

Have you tried flying overseas when the Covid restrictions were uplifted? No? Lucky you! The hassle of traveling paperwork became become very annoying for a couple of years  The ticket price had become more expensive, you needed  an antigen certificate younger than 72 hours, and in some places you needed to present a vaccination certificate, showing that you had been vaccinated against Covid .   Aspiring expats already had to look into a lot of paperwork, but it then increased with another piece, a vaccination certificate is mandatory as well.  And although many countries are reducing the restrictions, it will still take some time for things to be back to normal.

Moving Abroad
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

3.  Acceptance reduced among some locals

Covid spread fear of strangers in communities. A deadly virus brought in by tourists/foreigners was the thought among some. As an expat here in China, I and other expats have talked about locals moving away from us when we entered the metro, locals holding their nose when they were in close proximity of a foreigner, locals turning away from a foreigner and and even locals telling others locals that they could get sick from being near a foreigner.  Clearly not all locals had such strange thoughts, but experiences like that would make any foreigner feel uncomfortable, unwelcome.

4.  Strain on the pocket while moving abroad

Is anyone ready to talk about inflation?  Me neither. The rates have drastically increased since the onset of the pandemic. People have made viral videos about how their entire monthly grocery budget can only buy their weekly groceries in 2022.

This situation has affected the expatriate dream of many people. We might witness an increase in people moving abroad to less expensive countries. More expatriates in African and South Asian countries for monetary reasons.

5.  New government schemes for expats

The future of moving abroad might seem shaky, but governments of many countries are trying to help expats. Here are a few of the attractive schemes by some countries.

  •  Dubai is giving one-year virtual working visas for remote working professionals.
  • Finland has introduced a ‘90 day Finn’ plan. It allows people to visit Finland and experience the place for 90 days.
  • Barbados has introduced new immigration policies for remote working professionals.
  • Greece has a tax deduction scheme for expatriates.
  • Maldives, Abu Dhabi, Bali, etc. are a few countries offering free vaccination to tourists and expats.

6.  More awareness among expats

Gen-Z is the generation that tends not to compromise. More people are seeing the benefits of moving to another country. Be it for studies, raising a family, higher-paying jobs, more facilities, or better lifestyle conditions.

7.  The emergence of ‘Workation’

Many people used the extra time during the lockdown and started many small businesses. Most daily office-goers got to experienced remote work life. This led to ‘workcation’ in foreign countries and the promotion of digital nomads. With nothing physically tying people to their native country, they now wanted to explore the options of moving abroad.

8.  Increased employment opportunities

Companies are looking for talent beyond their geological boundaries. The Netherlands has less than 30 hours work week and 20 paid holidays annually. France offers free public healthcare for residents for just 3 months. Portugal has great economic status along with being the 4th safest country as per the Global peace index 2021.

The future of being an expatriate seems uncertain right now. Until the Coronavirus is completely eradicated from the world, people might still not be sure about moving to another country. 

But if you are reading this and asking yourself, “Is it worth moving abroad?” I want you to know that there are many people , like myself, living in a foreign country, making it work, even if it’s a little hard, and getting to know more about themselves and others and life, that only moving abroad could’ve provided. So consider it.

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*** Check out the blog for handy information and a guide to moving abroad and buy the ebook , with a great moving abroad checklist ! 

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