Younger expatriates are looking to reshape the world

Published:  21 Nov at 6 PM
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It’s possible the early decades of the 21st century will be recognised as the restart button for the human race’s subliminal desire to roam.

Some 60 years or more ago, the term ‘expat’ was set alongside ‘gypsy’ and ‘traveller’ for many Brits who simply couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to leave their country of origin for an unknown fate in a country where English wasn’t spoken. The exceptions who proved this rule mostly headed out on diplomatic missions to lands where no decent Englishman would want to settle permanently. The advent of cheap air travel changed the habit of many lifetimes, giving wanderers a chance to explore the entire planet given enough time and cash.

Nowadays, being an expatriate in a strange land is so normal that those who haven’t travelled are considered old-fashioned at best and parochial at worst. In this shrinking world, overseas assignments, retiring abroad and finding new opportunities in a new country are the norm, with increasing numbers deciding never to go back to their previous lives. Those most likely to return are professionals who’ve taken on overseas assignments in order to embellish their CVs and increase their bank accounts, seeing their time overseas as just another rung on the stepladder of financial success.

Prioritising the earning of large amounts of cash makes life back home far easier to contemplate, with dozens of expat surveys giving an annual lowdown on the most remunerative overseas postings. This year, Bahrain topped one list for its easy settlement, good work-life balance and huge earnings potential. Once the bank account’s bursting at the seams, returning home is still the accepted norm.

However, in the West’s present-day state of chaos, political confusion and looming economic troubles, it’s the younger expat communities worldwide who’re passing on going back to their roots, preferring to stay in fascinating, fast-developing hubs such as China, India and Southeast Asia. Entrepreneurship is alive and kicking, fuelled by the IT revolution. The world is in a vast state of change, led by people happy to make wherever they are their permanent home.
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