The reality of being an expat in a strange land

Published:  4 Apr at 6 PM
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Many long-term expats become so fond of their adopted country they’re happy to stay for the rest of their lives – but what if they’re forced to leave?

Whether expatriation is for work reasons or because you’re no longer in tune with the country of your birth’s direction in this changing world, settling down in your adopted country can lead to your wanting to stay for the remainder of your life. For many expats over the years, staying for ever has been easy, but permanent residence isn’t granted as often as before, and former promises are being reversed by lawmakers all over the world.

One young expat spent most of his life in Saudi Arabia after his father arrived with his family in 1993. He fell in love with the country and grew from childhood to adulthood whilst his father was working day and night in gratitude to the country for giving his family a chance to improve their lives. The young boy worked hard at school, taking his inspiration from his father, and the family went on picnics, had barbecues and took part in religious pilgrimages. Importantly, the boy was able to spend precious time with his family and friends, gathering memories throughout his developing years.

Time passed and, although the family weren’t citizens of the Kingdom, they’d made their lives there and were grateful until, one day, a letter arrived from the father’s employer, MTC Saudi, stating he was no longer needed and would no longer be sponsored for his and his family’s visas. The cold, hard letter, dated one day before the father’s contract was cancelled, wasn’t personalised in any way, and shattered the family’s life and hopes for the future. The young man kept hoping while his parents packed the family’s belongings in preparation to return to their home country, but there was no good news.

Whilst the family attempted to unravel the strings of their lives in the Kingdom, their son was forced to accept the land he loved didn’t want him or his family any more. Leaving was the hardest thing he’d even done, and resulted in his determination to never stay in any country long-term unless he could become a citizen.

This genuinely sad tale may well be repeated in many European member states due to Brexit unless both sides of the argument realise that wrecking the all-too-human hope for the future isn’t justified under any circumstances. Politics was supposed to be about people, but now it’s all about the money.
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