US and UK governmental disregard for expat diasporas displays contempt

Published:  7 Jun at 6 PM
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British and American expats contribute skills and money to many economies across the world, but seem to be regarded with contempt by their respective governments.

The USA expat population stands at around 8.6 million scattered across the globe, but a recent survey revealed only seven percent believe they are fairly represented at government level in spite of being taxed on their income abroad. Although three quarters of the number are prepared to vote in the upcoming Presidential election, the vast majority represented themselves to the survey as dissatisfied for the second year running.

Proof of this strength of feeling lies in the ever-increasing number of US expats renouncing their citizenship, with 33 per cent stating FATCA and Federal tax burdens as the cause. Another issue is that many foreign banks are now closing US expat accounts rather than having to deal with FATCA’s intrusive requirements and the huge fines for ignoring the new regulations.

Although British expats may well feel sorry for their American counterparts, the treatment afforded to those UK citizens who chose to leave the UK is even more detrimental. The run-up to the UK’s crucial Brexit referendum has highlighted a total lack of governmental concern as well as information for its citizens living, working or retiring in EU member states.

Typically, this follows up on poor treatment overall, including a lack of support from British embassies and consulates, the controversial 15-year disenfranchisement of expat voters, the scandal of frozen pensions and a total lack of interest in where, how and even if UK expats are living. In today’s technological age, the internet is being used by a number of countries to document and take care of their expats, whilst the UK tries its best to forget they even exist.
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