Expat oil and gas workers heading home in dramatic industry turnaround

Published:  14 Jan at 6 PM
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Cross-border travel has been the norm for oil and gas workers looking for lucrative expat assignments overseas, but many are now returning to their home countries.

Although high salaries and acceptable working conditions are still the norm in the worldwide industry, many Australian, American and Brazilian expats are giving up overseas work and heading home. Specialist recruiters say that visa restrictions are the main reason for the exodus.

Now that oil and gas workers with on-the-job experience in overseas locations such as the Middle East, Africa and South America can still command high salaries at home due to their expertise, working legally abroad is getting too difficult. The Gulf States in particular are cracking down on the number of skilled expat workers, even although their own nationals are mostly unable to fill the vacant positions.

A recent survey of overseas workers and their employers in the sector revealed that less than 50 per cent considered there were no barriers preventing them from working overseas. Over 50 per cent said they had encountered problems, with visa difficulties at the top of the list.

Experts suggest that the most popular industry destinations are the US, Brazil and Australia for their number of projects, working conditions and pay, but agree that visa restrictions for expat workers are toughest in the three locations. Local employers are attempting to lure back local talent working abroad in order to avoid the red tape associated with work permits.
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