Top 5 most livable cities in the world for expatriates

In many surveys of the quality of living over the years, there are five that are often viewed top global cities for expats and locals alike. There are many factors are taken into account when considering a top city for expats: drinkable water, electricity, transportation, housing, safety, pollution levels, city infrastructure and much more. They are all important considerations when determining the allowance for expatriate workers in expat assignment and creating an effective relocation policy for organizations. While what makes a top city is open to debate and is quite subjective, in this article, we will introduce five extremely livable cities in the world for expatriates take into consideration when assessing an expat destination or on assignment. Since the cities note below change in their rankings on various studies, we have included them below in no particular order.

5. Vancouver, Canada 

In the Economist’s August 2016 report, Vancouver, Canada ranked the 3rd best cities of the world. The ranking was based on a series of factors related to healthcare, safety, and security, infrastructure, environment, etc. Vancouver is a multicultural cosmopolitan city with natural beauty, attracts many expats every year. Living in Vancouver, you will have the chance to access to many leisure activities, a much more favourable climate with mild winters and exciting events and festivals. While real estate prices are extremely high in Vancouver, the city remains an excellent place for expatriates to live, work or retire. To learn more, please read our Vancouver expat city guide.

4. Munich, Germany

Munich is an attractive city with rich culture and cultural heritage ranked 3rd most populous city in Germany. Also, as a major international business centre and expatriate destination, Munich owns headquarters of many multinational companies and advanced technology organizations. It has repeatedly ranked into the top 10 most livable cities of the world. It is the most populated city in Bavaria and lies on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. The city is well known for the Oktoberfest, especially at the famed Hofbräuhaus beer hall. This great city is a favored tourist and expat location where modern and traditional coexist.

3. Auckland, New Zealand 

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and economic centre. It is the most populous city in New Zealand. Living in such a multicultural and diverse city, expatriates will enjoy vibrant outdoor sporty life and relaxing weekend beach life. As one of the business and industrial centre of New Zealand, many international companies and organizations have offices in Auckland. The climate is usually warm and humid.

 

2. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich has consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the world, according to many expatriate surveys. Zurich is considered as an important financial centre in the world with many banks, financial institutions, and the world’s 4th largest stock exchange centre. The city is clean, safe and there are generally no language barriers for expatriates. English is widely spoken, especially in the workplace. The standard of healthcare in Zurich is high. Expatriates should obtain compulsory private medical insurance before moving to Zurich.

1. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is recognized as home to famous operas, stunning architectures, art galleries and beautiful streets. In addition to the best coffee shops, this excellent expat city has consistently ranked as a  top destination by many well-known magazines. Vienna is also a center for many big international organizations such as the United Nations and Organization for Security & Co-operation in Europe.

Bring International Health Insurance with You 

It is critical for expatriates to obtain international health insurance before relocating to a new city abroad. An international health insurance plan will provide international citizens and their families worldwide coverage (except in the USA unless you add it as an optional benefit). Whether you are residing the countryside or the city, it is vital that you purchase a plan that allows you to seek medical care internationally. Expatriates living and working abroad will benefit from a global medical policy with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation and repatriation.

Expat Financial offers excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Source: Mercer recently releases a list of the top cities to live in based on a study that they make every year.

2017 Travel Destinations: Best of China for Expats & Visitors

Top Travel Destinations for Visitors & Expats in China

With roughly 5000 years of history, China has a very rich heritage to see and explore. In this article, we have listed for you the top 10 travel destinations of 2017 for expats and short-term visitors to China:

1. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world. It across several provinces such as Beijing, Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This is because the Great Wall is built at different dynasties by different emperors. The Great Wall has earned “the New Seven Wonders of the World” and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China. Having visited the Great Wall of China in 1982, this is the most impressive structure in China and definitely worth a visit.

2.The Forbidden City in Beijing

The famous Forbidden City, was a palace from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty, crossing the years 1420 to 1921. It served as the home of kings and their queens, as well as the political and ceremonial center of Chinese government. You will see a wide range of artwork collections in the museum. The palace was built with whole logs of precious wood. If you are in Beijing, you should definitely visit this important site.

3. Taishan Mountain 

Taishan Mountain is one of the most famous mountains of China, and is considered an exceptional historic and cultural value. Also, the ancient Taoist tradition started there. Located in Shandong to the west, Taishan Mountain covers an area of 426 square kilometers and it 5,029 ft high above sea level. From ancient dynasties, many famous poems were based on the beautiful scenery of Taishan.

4. West Lake in Hangzhou

There is an old saying in Chinese “Paradise in Heaven; Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth”. Many famous traditional love stories took place in West Lake, Hangzhou. It has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a must visit for expatriates in China. It owns many garden-style parks, traditional bridges, and hills.

Recent years, Hangzhou has become a technology and economic center of China. Also as one of the most important tourist cities in China, Hangzhou is attracting more and more visitors and expats all over the world.

5. Guilin – Li River 

In North Guangxi, Guilin is one of the best-known tourist destinations in China. There are a lot of rivers in Guilin, including the most famous Li River. Its length is around 437 kilometers. America’s National Geographic magazine has rated Li river as one of the world’s top 10 watery wonders. Visitors and expats can cruise in boats on the Li river. Despite the beautiful sights, there is a small but wonderful town called Yangshuo near Guilin city. A lot of expats and tourists residing there. It is not surprising to see western cafes and restaurants on West Street of Yangshuo. Also, this is a great place for hiking and cycling.

6. The Terracotta Army

Also known as The Terracotta Warriors, it is a collection of terracotta sculptures of Qin Dynasty, the very first emperor in Chinese history. During ancient China, funerary burry with the emperor is very popular. The army is served to protect the king in his afterlife. There are also horses and chariots included in the army, as well as musicians and officials. Estimates show that there are approximately 8,000 soldiers, 520 horses contain in the Terracotta Army. Experts estimate that there could be more buried inside Qin’s tomb. Visitors and expats can go to the exhibition constructed right above the Terracotta Army.

7. Luoyang

Luoyang is one of the oldest imperial capital cities in China and is quite popular with tourists in China. There are many important historical sites in Luoyang: Shaolin Temple, the origin and home to Kung Fu; And the Longmen Grottoes, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in China. Other popular travel destinations include White Horse Pagoda, Museum of Ancient Tombs, etc. Luoyang has a very pleasant weather all year round.

8. Danxia landscape 

The Danxia national park is located in northwestern Gansu Province in China. The landscape has numerous red rocks, most of which are several hundreds of meters high. The best time to visit Danxia landscape is from June to September. Expats and visitors may want to contact local tour guides to make sure you get the most beautiful scenes.

9. Zhangjiajie 

Zhangjiajie is well-known for its towering sandstone pillars, very suitable for outdoor activity lovers and adventurous people. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a good place for mountain hiking and photography. The park has different areas to explore: Tianzi Mountain is famous for its mists and clouds; Gold Whip Stream is good for a relaxing walking; Natural villages, undeveloped and quiet. Zhangjiajie has a humid climate all year round. Expats and travelers may want to avoid traveling to this region in the winter.

Bring International Health Insurance With You

As you can see from our list above, there are lots of excellent natural and cultural sites for expats and tourists in China. However, medical care can be very expensive in China. It is strongly suggested that you should obtain quality expat health insurance before departure or travel medical insurance for short visits. Medical facilities in many areas are very basic, especially in the countryside. Even in many major cities that satisfactory healthcare in public hospitals for expats are available, the method of payment and the quality of medical treatment may be inadequate. For the popular choice of foreign-run hospitals, expats are usually required to make payment in advance before receiving medical treatment. It can be very expensive for emergency treatment and medications in most of the international hospitals.

For long-term stays in China, it is recommended that you obtain a comprehensive expat health insurance plan, which should cover you for medical expenses, hospitalization and treatments, medicines and emergency evacuations – which are all you need to stay in China. Some Chinese embassies require proof of health insurance before issuing visas especially if you are a foreign student.

Expat Financial offers excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. Our dynamic firm is also very experienced in sourcing group plans for multinational firms with expats in China.

Learning the local language is crucial for expatriates on overseas assignments

Learning the local language is crucial for expatriates on overseas assignments – Language Tips for Expats

According to a recent survey that was carried out by Rosetta Stone, approximately three-fifths of global mobility experts believe that learning the local language is crucial to a successful expat assignment. Indeed, if an expat employee is able to communicate with the local business team and partners, then it definitely helps when building the bridge between local business leaders, expats, and the head office. In this article, we will discuss how more easily speak or learn your host country’s language as an expat. This may help you have a more successful and happy expat assignment.

Most Spoken Languages in the World

Out of the most popular languages, Chinese Mandarin is often seen as the most important language for expat employees, especially if residing in China, which is one of the largest economies in the world. Other popular languages including Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Russian and Japanese. Spanish is the primary language of Central America and  South America, not to mention Cuba and parts of the U.S..  French is also widely spoken in varies countries, including Canada, Belgium, Haiti, etc. Arabic is mostly spoken in the Middle East and Egypt. It is the sixth official language of the United Nations. For expatriates planning to live and work abroad, it is recommended to have a working knowledge of your destination’s foreign language. Learning the local language will help you have a much better chance to start a conversation with local people, employees and better integrate. It can definitely also advance your career in your new assignment country.

How to Learn a Foreign Language

  • Join a language learning group or attending a course: There are usually many language learning groups available in major cities in popular expat destination countries. Try to find a local colleague or friend who would be willing to help you learn the language. If you can not find anyone who speaks the language or there are no language learning groups, try to apply and attend a language learning course. Many language learning schools provide modern language teaching techniques and updated learning materials in a small class size. Some of them even offer expat students to take part in the local cultural activities. For busy expats, taking private language lessons are more suitable than taking group lessons. Private language lessons are flexible, with options on the certain fields, such as business communication. Another popular option would be taking an online language learning course. It is flexible and location independent.
  • Employer-Sponsored: It is recommended that the expat employer provide some language courses both before and during the expat assignment. Even just learning a few words and phrases can help your expat employees better integrate into their new surroundings.
  • Self-studying: Some expats will try to learn a new language themselves through spending a couple of hours each week and using a dictionary to enlarge your vocabulary at any time during the day. According to scientific research, language learning is based on repetition. If you spend some time every day to study the foreign language, you are likely to learn it well within a few months. A dictionary is a very useful tool for you to consult when you are finding the necessary words. Expats can use either an actual dictionary or a translator app. There are also lots of great online courses, such as ones offered by Babel and Rosetta Stone.

  • Immerse yourself in the language: Being immersed in a foreign language means that you are interacting, listening and speaking in the language daily. There are many conversation examples and lessons on Youtube and live stream radio on websites. And these are all free to access. Reading the local language can be very difficult for expats, but try to start from local magazines or newspapers, read a short article at the beginning, look up any words that you don’t understand. This will allow you to recognize commonly used words and phrases.
  • Embrace making mistakes: The best way to learn a new language is practicing. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Focus on the practicing process other than on perfection. The more you speak, the better chance you will get to the ideal level.
  • Learn important vocabulary: One of the most important things about learning a new language is vocabulary. Even if you don’t understand a whole paragraph or a sentence, knowledge about some keywords will help you to understand the general meaning of a conversation. It is better for expats to focus on learning the most common words, and figure out which category of vocabulary is most relevant to you. Another important vocabulary is about health care. In case there is a medical emergency, you are able to talk about your medical condition to medical staff.
  • Don’t Forget About Dependents: If you are an expat with a partner or children living abroad, it is also critical to assist them in their new language endeavors. Check if the local school will provide lessons in the local language and suggest that your spouse enrolls in some courses as well.

Don’t Forget Your International Health Insurance 

Learning a new language and living abroad is a wonderful experience within the reach of you and your family. That new language will assit you should you require medical care from a facility or doctor who doesn’t speak your language. A great medical plan will also provide medical insurance support in all the major languages. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world who are about to move abroad or already there. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan – we are your advocate. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Insurance options for companies with only one expat employee

Our firm has worked with many companies and organizations with hundreds and even thousands of employees that have only one or two expatriate employees posted abroad. These firms are not able to adequately cover their expat employee and his or her dependents under their domestic plan and should definitely not try for a variety of reasons. The human resource manager is often faced with a dilemma of where to find adequate insurance for the lone expat employee and may have a limited experience or understanding of expat insurance, not to mention no expat insurance contacts. So what is a company or non-profit with only one or two expat employees to do? Let’s learn more.

What to do when you have only one or two expat employees?

Attracting and retaining expat talent for your firm’s global operations is not easy. Finding the right person to help grow your sales or run operations abroad is both challenging and rewarding. If you want to attract the best person for your expat position, it is vital that you offer him or her the best global insurance coverage possible. It may not be easy to match your existing domestic benefit plan coverage for an expat position, but it is possible to gather coverage that will meet your duty of care obligations and properly cover that employee and any dependents who will also live abroad. There are many insurance coverage requirements if you are hiring an expat employee, but we will deal with the three most important ones: Life, Disability & Global Medical Insurance. Note that all individual policies are medically underwritten, unlike most international group insurance plans, so keep this in mind if you are sending an individual expat abroad. Also, there are significant pitfalls in covering your expat employees on domestic plans in the new country location that we have described in a separate article.

Global Life Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

Your company’s existing domestic benefit plan will most likely offer a multiple of annual income in the local currency, but most expatriates will be paid in USD or Euro and will expect to be covered for 1 or 2 times annual income if he/she should die from an accident or illness. There are not a lot of global life insurance options for individual expats, but our firm does have access to some excellent life insurance plans that can cover most expats around the world. The premiums will, of course, depend on the age, occupation, and location of the employee. An employee being posted to a high-risk country such as Afghanistan will most likely have to obtain Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage, which may also be an adjunct to the life insurance for some expats in more “safe” countries. The typical plans will exclude war and terrorism, but it may be possible to quote AD&D cover including war risk depending on the location of the policy and employer. Final premiums will depend on the health, age, location, occupation of the employee. Unlike a group plan that we can offer, it is possible that the employee won’t qualify for coverage.

Finally, that “consultant” that you are hiring or who is only working for you – it may be tempting to have him or her secure insurance coverage on his own, but many companies who employ consultants abroad are taking a risk. That consultant may be viewed as an employee should he or she only work for your firm and should he or she become sick, injured or die while being posted abroad, your company may be held responsible regardless.

Expat Disability Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

One of the most important parts of your expat employee responsibilities is securing adequate disability coverage should he or she become sick or have an accident that will make it impossible for him or her to work. However, global disability coverage is often not secured by expat employers and domestic workers compensation plans will generally not extend beyond the national borders. Unfortunately, the risk of a disability is extremely high for most persons under age 65 and this represents a huge liability and risk for both the employer and employee. Part of your duty of care is to help the employee secure global disability coverage. Expat Financial offers an excellent individual expat disability insurance plan from William Russell that can provide income protection after 3 or 6 months waiting period. The longer the waiting period, the lower the premium. We can secure individual short-term disability, but this can easily be self-insured by most employers. A long term disability can not.

Individual International Health Insurance Options for Expat Employers

Many expat employers will have their domestic employees covered by private or public health insurance schemes or a combination of the two. However, most human resource professionals and their advisors will have limited or no experience in the unique challenges associated with covering expat employees posted abroad with or without their family members. Some will keep the employee on the domestic health plan which almost certainly will not adequately cover the employee abroad in an effort to save costs or simply a lack of understanding of the domestic policy and requirements for healthcare while living abroad.

That is why it is vital for HR professionals to provide a comprehensive international health insurance coverage that will meet your duty of care and other employment responsibilities. We have seen too many expat employers ask the employee to obtain his or her health coverage on his or her own, but you as the employer will be responsible should that coverage not be adequate. This can lead to a failed expat assignment, large unfunded medical claim or your prospective expat employee seeks a job with another employer. If the expat employer has more than 2 or 3 employees, Expat Financial can probably source a group plan, but under 3 most expat employers will want to secure an individual plan for that expat employee.

Most global medical insurance plans will cover hospital, out-patient care, wellness and evacuation & repatriation. Some expat employers will also want to secure dental and vision coverage. if the employee has a spouse who may become pregnant, it is vital that you include full maternity coverage – however individual plans will have a 9 or 12 month waiting period. While it may be tempting to obtain the least expensive plan, you do get what you pay for and we recommend that expat employers secure the best possible coverage with or without a deductible to help lower the premiums. As noted above, the employee or his/her dependent’s health may impact the approval or coverage that is secured. Rates will depend on the ages, citizenships, health status, plan options, deductibles and country location of the expat employee and any dependents. Most American expats will want a plan that fully covers treatment in the USA, but this will mean a higher premium. If you have an expat employee posted in the USA or in a nearby region, you will want to make sure it covers treatment in the United States. We have an excellent global health plan from Cigna where you or your employee can get a quote and even apply or expat health insurance.

Obtaining Individual Expat Insurance for that Lone Expat Employee

While you may want to turn to your domestic consulting firm or broker for the above coverage, it is very likely his or her firm will have very limited experience in global life, disability, and health insurance – this is even the case with the large insurance consulting houses. Like most things in life, it pays to talk to an expat specialist firm and that is where Expat Financial and its parent TFG Global can be of assistance in understanding your organization’s international insurance requirements. Also, we do not charge a consulting fee as we are compensated by the insurer with the same rates regardless. We also have long established insurance provider relationships and excellent service and support. We may be able to assist on other insurance matters related to your expat employees, such as kidnap & ransom and even business travel insurance for domestic employees who travel abroad. To learn more, contact us today if you are sending one, two or a hundred expat employees abroad to expand your global fortunes. We look forward to being part of your international relocation efforts.

5 Tips for expats to live like a local when moving abroad

In this article, you will learn about how expatriates can adjust to their new county by learning about the local culture, make friends and adapt to their new surroundings. We have put together five tips for expatriates who want to learn how to live abroad like the locals.

  • Learn the Language

Expatriates will find that learning the local language is crucial when trying to immerse themselves in another country and culture. Once you start to speak the local language, the locals will start to open up to you. It is not just a way of communication, it shows your respect to the local culture. Don’t struggle to become fluent. Try to start with some basic greeting expressions – as long as you try, that’s all that counts. You can get assistance with learning a language from a variety of online resources, such as Babel. Others will take language classes before and after moving abroad. However, there is no substitute for diving right in when you move to your new location. The less you use your native language, the faster it will be before you are conversing with the locals over a cup of espresso. Finally, it is important to learn the local customs of your destination country to avoid embarrassment and better integrate into the culture.

  • Making Connections

Many expatriates may tend to make friends with other expats of similar background, especially if they are going to local expat pubs and gatherings. However, it is a good idea to try to make some local friends as well. It may be difficult at first, but having a few trusted local friends will enrich your expat experience and will help you adapt the cultural differences. Don’t expect to feel immediately accepted and comfortable in your new environment, but try to be open and friendly.

  • Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture

There could be many elements to make you feel that you are a foreigner, no matter in your daily life or at work. In order to get involved in the local culture, expatriates are encouraged to go out and attend local events such as colleagues’ party, high tea with your new neighbor, etc. These important social interactions will make you want to explore the new culture and keep the curiosity about the destination country.

  • Integrate Into Local Community

Some expat experts recommend that you try to live like the locals and integrate into local communities. As an expatriate, you have a lot to contribute such as volunteering and sharing your skills and experience at local educational institutions. It is also encouraged for expats to keep their hobbies while living abroad. If you are fond of painting, then join a local artist club; If you love sports, you can join a sports team. Once you obtain local connections and a group of friends, you will start to enjoy the expat life.

  • Eat Like the Locals 

Enjoying food with new friends is one of the best ways to break the ice. That’s why we recommend that you try the authentic local cuisine at restaurants. If possible, avoid the familiar chain restaurants that you visit in your home country. When shopping at local grocery stores, try to imitate the shopping list locals make and buy locally produced food.

How to Handle Health Care When Living Abroad

To stay healthy and fit while living and working abroad, there are many health risks that you want to avoid. To better plan and prepare a safe and rewarding journey before departure, one of the most important considerations is international health insuranceExpat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and excellent service and support to clients around the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual expats.

Six tips for planning an international relocation

Moving abroad requires a great deal of planning, especially for those who are planning for a long-term assignment, travel or retiring abroad. If you are planning an international move, you will find the pocess can longer than you think it will. To better assist you during the transition, we will discuss 6 quick tips on how to plan an international relocation for future expatriates.

  • Making Decision and Check All Important Documentations

It is critical that future expatriates should make a decision as early as possible. Once you have firmly decided to relocate overseas, you are able to move forward and make plans. Getting started a year or 10 months in advance will provide you with enough time to plan and react.

Another important reason for making an early decision is due to the processing time of work permit or visas required in your destination country. In some countries, it can take up to a year to process and approve a visa. Therefore, it is suggested that future expatriates apply and submit the required documentation as soon as possible. Make sure that your official documents, such as passport, birth certificate, ID card, driver’s license, etc… are all valid. Please check to see if your family member’s documents are in order as well if they are moving with you. In general, entry into any countries for tourism or business trip requires that your passport be valid for at least three months. If you are planning a long-term relocation abroad, it is better to have your passport with at least 6 months’ validity remaining.

Obtain other required documentation such as your children’s school report card, which is vital if enrolling in a new school in your destination country; and all legal documents that you plan to take with you: birth certificate, marriage certificate, medical records, bank drafts, medical insurance documents, etc.

  • Arrange for Necessary Vaccinations 

As international travelers, they may face many potential health risks and diseases. According to a new study published recently on Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of the international travelers in the USA did not get vaccinated between 2009 and 2014. This may result in severe infection in countries where many diseases are prevalent. It is critical to arrange for necessary vaccinations before departure. For example, if you are moving to Hong Kong, suggested vaccines to consider are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Measles and Yellow Fever.

It is important to note that each country may have different vaccination entry requirements. It is recommended that future expatriates contact their doctors to verify additional vaccinations requirements of the destination country or region.

  • Job Search 

Another consideration is obtaining a job overseas. Most expats will want to start researching employment opportunities in your destination country long before leaving. It is important to know whether you need any additional certifications or training, such as TOEFL/IELTS certification of English proficiency, research abstract (for early-stage researchers), teaching portfolio, a complete list of publications, second language skills, etc. We encourage future expatriates to apply for a job as soon as possible due to the processing time of work permit application.

For younger people who haven’t found a job but decided to move abroad, many countries offer special programme to provide them with work opportunities. For example, in Canada, The International Experience Canada provides young people aged 18 – 35 from all over the world to work and travel in Canada. Future expatriates should try to do research and participate in this kind of programs and gain valuable working experience. Please keep in mind that in some countries there might be age restrictions. Please check carefully before you apply.

  • Financial Assessment

Before moving overseas, it is suggested that expats have a full financial accounting and take into account the cost of living in your destination country, including apartment rental rates, property purchase cost, school tuition fees, meals and more. Try not to forget any moving expenses such as boxes and packing materials fees, transportation of furniture. If you are lucky, your employer may provide some assistance and subsidies for your expat assignment. All future expats should also look into your expat tax obligations in both your home country and your destination country. Check out our links page for some great expat tax accountants. Contact your bank and get a global account for internet banking. If you have mortgage or loan payments in your home country, please also set up a direct payment account with your bank while you are away.

  • Language Training 

Communication is crucial for expatriates who want to live and work overseas. If expats are relocating to a destination country with language barriers, the interaction could be very difficult for their integration and even career. This is especially true if expats are in dangerous situations or medical emergencies. Therefore, it is recommended that future expats receive basic local language training before departure. It will also accelerate the adjustment of foreign expatriates.

expat healthcare if critical

  • Obtain International Health Insurance 

International health insurance coverage is obviously a necessity and should be future expats’ top consideration. Make sure you and your family are covered by a comprehensive medical plan in your destination country. Expat Financial offers a wide range of expatriate health insurance plans designed specifically for any expatriates of any nationality around much of the world. With expat health insurance plans, you and your family’s health are protected through an appropriate level of expat insurance. It is quite easy for expats to obtain a quote for one of our comprehensive international health plans. For more information and to review the plans that we offer, contact our office or visit our international health insurance page. You can still purchase global medical coverage if you have already moved abroad.

TFG Global & Expat Financial Exhibiting at PDAC 2018 in Toronto

As an extremely experienced global insurance brokerage with extensive clients around the world operating in the mining resource space, TFG Global and it’s Expat Financial division will be attending and exhibiting at the PDAC 2018 convention in Toronto from February 4th till the 7th, 2018. As a proud member of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), we are excited to participate in the event where we hope to meet other suppliers and executives from the mining industry who will be attending from around the globe.

The event will take place at the  Metro Toronto Convention Centre with 1000 exhibitors and over 24,000 attendees from over 130 countries. Our firm has worked with mining companies with operations around the globe for many years, including those operating in high risk countries. We encourage mining executives, especially those in CFO, Operations and Human Resources positions, to visit our booth number 6428N in the Trade Show North pavilion.

We hope to meeting small and large mining companies which require global mining insurance solutions for their expatriate staff posted at remote mining sites around the world. We offer international group insurance plans that include:

If your company is operating in the global mining space, we would be pleased to examine your current requirements and policies while obtaining quotes from the market that will fully meet our company’s duty of care to your employees posted overseas. Mining employees posted overseas are a very valuable and sought after resource, so it makes sense to work with an expat insurance specialist firm that can help source the best coverage that will both retain and attract mining talent.

We will also attend the Canada Africa Chamber of Commerce mining breakfast on March 6th, 2018. Our firm has extensive experience in covering mining employees in Africa. In fact, in 2015 we saved a mining company in Africa over $400K per year in expat life insurance premium after they agreed to let us quote on their global benefit plan after three years trying to get a meeting. If your firm is in need of a global mining insurance coverage, please visit our booth at the PDAC or contact us today.

Urgent medical claim problem resolved by Expat Financial

This urgent medical claim from last night is why you should use our firm for your group expat insurance needs:

We received an email from the HR Manager for a group client of ours in the Middle East at 8PM last night our time – An employee’s spouse in Europe was urgent need of an operation. We were informed by the Global Mobility Manager that the surgery was a life and death situation, but the hospital outside of the large and well known global insurance company’s network – which is the largest in the world. The hospital was unwilling to accept a written guarantee of payment from the insurance company and their evacuation provider, ISOS – which is unheard of. The hospital wanted claim paid in advance, which is generally not possible. One option was to have employer or the employee pay the claim to hospital & get reimbursed. This is  often the fastest solutions for these situation as the insurer can then simply reimburse the claim and if the insured’s family member does not have enough money or credit limit on hand, most employers will.

But we immediately called the expat group insurance company and got a work around by having International SOS wire payment with insurer’s permission. It simply took a little broker advocacy. Payment was then wired by ISOS. The claim issue resolved. The employee was very much relieved and thanked all involved this morning. He mentioned in an email to us: “Really many many thanks for this!”

We asked the HR manager for permission to post this blog with no reference to the insurer, client or employee/dependent name etc… and he mentioned – “This is fine and true and I would like to thank you once again for your help.”

This is what we do as our client advocate, even after working hours and during weekend – it is what sets our firm apart. Expat Financial is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. and is a global insurance brokerage firm.

To learn more about what we can do for your expats employees, contact us or visit our corporate page.

Expat Employers – Obtain a free country risk profile report

TFG Global and it’s division Expat Financial is now offering a complimentary country risk report to global HR managers who allow our firm to examine their global benefit plan and obtain quotes from the market. Such international group insurance plans can include vital health, evacuation an/or life insurance for their expatriate employee population.

If you are sending your employees abroad, it is vital that your organization live up to it’s duty of care as failure to do so will expose management, employees and the company to legal and financial liabilities. As we all know, it is a very chaotic and dangerous world out there and civil unrest, crime, war and terrorism can strike wherever your expatriates are posted, especially in high risk countries. Our firm has extensive experience in covering expatriates in high risk regions. We have had to work with clients who have unfortunately been impacted by terrorist attacks, kidnappings and civil unrest – our level headed and quick action was invaluable for our clients and their employees.

We are very pleased to extend this offer to companies willing to work with an specialist firm such as ours. This extremely detailed and valuable country risk profiles will provide a important insights for your company and expats. It will also allow management to plan for more eventualities and minimize risks. For our kidnap and risk insurance clients, they will be given complimentary online access to this information that is constantly updated and extremely detailed.

The country risk report and travel guide reports will provide the following information that will enable you to make more informed decisions when sending employees overseas on long and short term assignments:

  • Destination country’s risk score – from stable to terminal threat
  • Areas of concern
  • Travel safety and pre-trip recommendations
  • Risk projections
  • Analysis of security – including crime & terrorism risks
  • Security recommendations
  • Political risk profile
  • Details on specific regions of the country where precautions are recommended
  • Medical profile
  • Kidnap & ransom profile number on a scale from 1 to 4
  • Details on recent incidents.

We have the ability to obtain a risk overview & travel safety report for up to 180 countries and 400+ cities. To obtain a report and talk to us about the insurance for your expat population, please contact us today. If our company is assigned as your broker of record for your existing or new global benefit plan, the above reports will be available for any country that you are sending employees to upon request.

 

Legal Notice Regarding this Offer: The above offer can be withdrawn at any time without notice. We can only release one country report to companies or organizations who have 2 or more expatriates employees which allow us to obtain quotes from the market for their global expat insurance program after releasing the current plan contract, premiums, reports and expat employee census information that is vital for us to obtain accurate quotes and provide our report and recommendations. The above offer is not available to expat employers based in the USA and other select countries. We reserve the right to not quote or offer this report to your company. The reports are not available to individuals.

6 Reasons to become an expatriate in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan metropolis located in Asia. As a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, it has a thriving economy with easy access to all major cities in East and Southeast Asia, including Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul.  As a critical and influential business center in Southeast Asia, fully 115 countries have consulates in Hong Kong, surpassing any other city in the world. The official languages in Hong Kong are Chinese and English. Hong Kong has attracted international visitors and talents from across the world. In this article, we will discuss 5 reasons to become an expatriate in Hong Kong.

Convenience 

If you ask expatriates who are already living in Hong Kong about what their impression of the city, they would tell you that Hong Kong is a vibrant city with the highest efficiency and convenience. According to CNN Travel, Hong Kong has the highest density of convenience stores such as 7-Elevens in the world. Most of them operate 24/7. Some restaurants offer late-night meal till 3 am in the morning. Hong Kong also has a very well established public transportation system. In addition to speed train and bus, Hong Kong has more than 18,000 taxies serving the public. Anytime you want to get around Hong Kong, choose a taxi or train or a combination of all, you’ll have an efficient and convenient trip.

It is important for expatriates to note that taxi fare information will be listed on the inside of the taxi. If encounter any problems, please take down the taxi driver’s name and licence plate number for future references.

Healthcare 

The medical facilities in Hong Kong are considered as high standards of medical practice. There are 11 private hospitals and 42 public hospitals in Hong Kong. Both public and private hospitals are equipped with the most advanced medical technology. Most of the medical staff and doctors can speak English. The public medical system delivers a comprehensive range of medical services including emergency medical treatment. Private hospitals in Hong Kong have partnered with the United Kingdom under international healthcare accreditation. Most expatriates in Hong Kong would want to use the private medical system due to the long waiting period in public system.

The medical cost in the region is very high. Expatriates living and working in Hong Kong would want to obtain international health insurance before departure. Many expats in Hong Kong will add optional dental care for their family. For more information regarding Hong Kong international health insurance options, please click here. The Allianz plan can offer excellent health coverage in Hong Kong.

Education 

Universities in Hong Kong are recognized as top schools of education in Asia, according to many global surveys. The education sector in Hong Kong is based on the British model, even primary school is highly competitive. There are also many private international schools span from grade one to grade twelve. Most international schools use English-based curriculum and IB (International Baccalaureate) program. Expatriates who want to enroll their children in private schools should start the application process as early as possible to secure the limited number of spaces available.

Expat Community

As an international business centre in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong is known as a city with a large expat population. According to research, the majority of expatriates who are living in Hong kong mainly come from the United States, Britain, and Australia. In addition, foreign residents include Malaysian, Portuguese, Japanese, Canadian, Indonesian, etc. living and working in the city are also quite common.

Safety 

While Hong Kong is a large city and with any metropolis of this size, crime will be more common, but in our opinion, we would consider it a very safe city. As a traveler there, I have never felt unsafe. The city has an excellent police force and is a great place to live for an expat family. You should be careful to avoid doing a foreign exchange on the street and also be aware that some goods offered to you may be fake. You should keep your ID on you at all times just in case you are asked for it by local authorities.

A Great City of Business

Without a doubt, Hong Kong is a great city to become an expatriate. This bustling city is home to hundreds of corporate and branch offices of large global companies that are operating in Asia and around the world. An expat career in Hong Kong should be a highlight of any resume and should also allow you to move forward in your company. It is one of the most business-friendly cities in the world and government red tape is at a minimum. If you are an expat searching or a great place to work or a business wanting to explore opportunities in Asia, Hong Kong should probably be your first stop.