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The top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat

A guide to the top 10 healthiest countries to be an Expat

Countries all over the world offer a variety of appealing aspects that may drive expats to relocate there. In recent studies, 6 of the top 10 most healthy countries in the world to live in are situated in Europe. Factors that were considered for the study were life expectancy rates, tobacco use and obesity rates.  Note that any list is somewhat arbitrary and subjective, but here are the top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat for 2019 are the following (in no particular order):

1. Iceland

Iceland has been regarded as one of the healthiest places to live (outside of Europe) for multiple reasons. The population of Iceland live off of a farm-to-table philosophy, meaning they believe in eating foods that are naturally abundant and fresh. They also have phenomenal governmental policies that regulate industrial pollution and encourages businesses to use clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources that aid in the well-being of the countries health standards. The local population has also said that they believe that “Water therapy” is a reason that contributes to their happiness and health. Water therapy is when you sit in the waters on the natural hot springs found all over Iceland, and allow yourself to relax in the volcanically warmed waters. Another very important reason as to why Iceland had made it to the list is their gender equality policies. Iceland was the first country to fully remove the gender gap pay and is a leading country for all gender inequalities for the world.

2. Switzerland

Switzerland has long been known to be one of the happiest and healthiest countries in the world. The way of life encourages a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. One of the reasons Switzerland is famous for is investing in its population. Government spending is budgeted for high standards of education, excellent health care and for innovations for the country. A well-balanced lifestyle has allows the people of Switzerland to be one of the countries with the lowest level of depression in the world.

3. Spain

Why put Spain on the top 10 healthiest countries list? Spain has one of the highest life expectancy rates, and it continues to increase as the years go on. Environmental factors, such as access to clean water and sanitation, a Mediterranean diet, minimal use of tobacco, and low obesity rates are just a few other reasons why Spain continues to be a desirable and healthy country to live in. Spain is also known for its close and important familial ties and bonds that are ingrained into the local population. This, of course, isn’t the main reason why Spain tends to flourish, but it definitely is an important factor.

4. Norway

Norway has also been placed on the top 10 healthiest countries to live in. In a traditional Scandinavian way of life, Norway places a high value on a well balanced, active and healthy lifestyle. Another key point that drives Norway to the top of the list is shorter working hours, where employees are almost never required to work past 4 p.m., as well as a cultural environment that minimally encourages the drinking of alcoholic beverages.

5. Italy

The importance of leisurely dining and a well-balanced diet is extremely common in Italian culture. As the Italians say, always chose quality over quantity. It is common for Italians to source their food, oils and spices from local and non-commercialized sources. Their focus on a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes local fruits, vegetables, oils, and fish, is also sourced as a core reason as to why Italy has continuously made it to the list.

6. Sweden

A second Scandinavian country to top the list of the healthiest 10 countries to live as an expat is Sweden. Known for a lifestyle of moderations (food & alcohol), Sweden is famous for living under the philosophy of “Lagom”, which indirectly translates to English as “not too little, not too much, just the right amount”. This allows the population of Sweden to live a casual lifestyle, eat in variation and walk everywhere.

7. Israel

The Israelian population flourishes in a culture that promotes a vibrant lifestyle, spirituality and a positive healing environment. They focus on an extremely healthy, fresh and delicious diet that promotes the well being of the nation. Their healthy eating habits and lifestyle is one of the main reasons why Israel is one of the leading countries for life expectancy rates in the world. The emphasis on family and family values are also leading causes for the countries health prosperity.

8. Japan

The first of two Asian countries to be recognized as one of the healthiest countries to live in in 2019 is Japan. One of the main reasons Japan is highly regarded for its health standards is due to their diets and lifestyle. Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which is due partly to its green landscapes, its family values, and its well-balanced eating habits.

9. Singapore

The second of two Asian countries that have made it to the top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat in 2019 is Singapore. Leading with one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, Singapore has continuously considered as being one of the most sought out countries to live in as an expatriate. Singapore is well known for being extremely safe and has some of the best food in the world.

10. Australia

Known for the Gold Coast and beautiful sandy beaches, Australia has continuously been placed on the list for the healthiest countries to live in as an expat. Complete with a sport and outdoor culture, Austalia is one of the most active and adventure seeking countries in the world. While some may indulge in a bit too many Fosters and shrimp on the BBQ, this outback country is an excellent expat destination. The country is well known for it’s laid back lifestyle – the Australian population is known for being mostly healthy and happy!

 

Although these countries are listed as being the top 10 healthiest countries to live for an expat, it is still crucial that you obtain international health insurance if you are planning on pursuing an international relocation. Staying healthy is not easy, but everyone gets sick or has an injury at some point in their lives – that is why it is critical for you to prepare for the worst by obtaining global health coverage that will be there when you need it!

Contact us today at info@tfgglobal.com to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.

Thailand to mandate health insurance for expats

It has been recently reported that the Thai government is in the process of mandating mandatory medical health insurance for expatriates living in Thailand. The requirement is targeted for expatriates that are living in Thailand on a one-year non-immigrant visa, with an emphasis on those living in Thailand over the age of 60.

Over the past years, it has become increasingly difficult for those living in Thailand over the age of 60 to procure health insurance. There are very few local insurance companies that will cover those in this older demographic, and those few companies that will cover those 60 years and older are demonstrating predominantly expensive premium rates. There are even some foreign plans that will place limits on your global health coverage after age 65 or terminate coverage at age 70. The best plan for older expats that our firm has found is the Cigna Global Health Options plan we offer online to expatriates of any age – expats even in their 80s and 90s can get a quote online.

The proposed Thai legislation will require expatriates to be covered for the minimum amount of 400,000 ฿ (~ $12,570 USD) of in-patient coverage, and 40,000 ฿ (~ $1,270 USD) for out-patient care. Expatriates that are currently living overseas and meet the minimum required amount of coverage will be exempt from obtaining these Thai insurance policies.

These mandates have been derived with several government bodies in Thailand’s government. The process for finalizing these policies are currently in the stages of cabinet approval and is designed to aid and ensure the health protection for long-stay visa holders currently, or soon to be living in Thailand. It is important that expats monitor developments on this policy and make sure that they have adequate health coverage that will meet or exceed the requirements.

Thailand is a beautiful country and a very popular destination for expatriates from around the world. Medical care can be quite expensive and it is vital that you obtain a comprehensive global health policy for Thailand that will cover you both locally, regionally and globally. This is because you may move to another country or region and you don’t want to re-apply for medical coverage, especially if you develop a pre-existing or chronic condition.

Make sure you are fully prepared and covered before making your move abroad. At Expat financial, we can offer plans designed for your specific needs while living in Thailand that will exceed the requirements set up by most local governments at excellent prices and form large and respected providers. Click here to receive a quote, or contact us at info@tfgglobal.com

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10 tips on how to keep your expat kids healthy & happy overseas

Here are Some Tips for Expatriate Parents on How to Keep Your Kids Happy and Healthy Overseas

Moving abroad is often a difficult transition for expatriates and their spouses, but often even more so for their children. You want to make sure that the transition to life abroad is as effortless as possible. One of the most important considerations for expat parents is how to keep their expat kids healthy and happy abroad. We have noted several steps that expatriates can take before and after they move overseas to make sure the little ones and even teen expatriates will maintain their emotional and physical health.

1. Adjusting to their new school abroad

While you are trying to welcome your new environment, don’t forget to help your children to choose a school. Picking the right school requires you to do adequate research before moving abroad. It can be vital to the health and happiness of your children. For most children, the transition to a new environment can require sufficient counseling to help them integrate.

2. Make sure they are vaccinated

Obtaining the necessary vaccinations is important if you are moving overseas, but especially for children. Talk to your doctor and make sure they are up to date on their vaccination schedule and also make sure that they are properly vaccinated for diseases that may exist in your new home country abroad. When it comes to vaccinations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

3. Encourage them to pack their things

Another step you can take to help your children to stay positive is to include them in the packing process. Encourage them to pack their belongings, and choose what they want to take on the plane and what gets shipped. Of course, also make sure they don’t forget their favorite toy or blanket!

Portrait of happy mother and baby girl on street overlooking rooftops of rome on sunset

4. Be mindful of their mental health and adjustment abroad

Moving abroad is a big deal for adults, but even more so for your children. They are moving away from all what they are familiar with – home, friends, cousins etc… Don’t try to avoid their questions and anxieties. As soon as you know there’s going to be a relocation, include your kids in the conversation. Listen properly to their questions and concerns. They have to make new connections in a brand new culture. While they may be excited, it can be quite daunting. If you can see assistance both before and after you go and be very mindful of their mental well-being after you move abroad. Think about having them join a team or club while abroad. Also, maybe include your kids in the process of decorating their rooms. Let them choose their furniture, paint colour and bedsheets.

5. Keep copies of your kids’ medical records

One of the biggest challenges when relocating with children is looking for high-quality medical care. It is always suggested to bring your children’s medical records wherever you go, as well as vaccination updates, and allergy history

6. Research destination illness and health warnings

Many countries are providing diseases and health warnings on their travel websites. Expats should consult these sites before moving abroad. In most cases, children are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Through adequate research, you should be able to identify the signs and symptoms of some common local diseases. It also helps to take preventive actions such as vaccinations and checkups for your kids before you move.

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7. Help your children to keep in touch with home country

Moving abroad will be a landmark event in your children’s lives. It is suggested that you help your children collect all of their friends’ contact information, put them in an address book. Another helpful step would be to create photo albums to preserve their memories from their home country. It will also be a good idea to host an unforgettable goodbye party to celebrate this life-changing decision.

8. Find local expat kids groups

There are local expats groups or communities resources online, through social media or employee networking. Bring your kids to these child-friendly activities. It has been proved that these similarly minded expat parents can help expat children to acclimatize to the new surroundings faster.

9. Learn the language together with your children

It is a good idea to begin a language course before relocation. However, to better help your kids’ transition, you are recommended to take the time to learn the new language with your kids. It will help them to see there is a learning curve for everyone. And if you are enjoying the new language, they will be more likely to also.

An elementary age girl is holding her stuffed animal at the doctors office. Her mother is talking to the doctor in the background.

10. Obtain international health insurance to cover you and your expat kids

It is crucial for every expat family to take the necessary action to ensure that their spouse and children’s health and well-being are protected and provided for via an appropriate level of international health insuranceExpat Financial offers a wide array of excellent global health plans designed specifically for expatriates of most nationalities around much of the world. You should also consider purchasing the expatriate dental coverage option.

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized evacuation quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Five Tips for Learning a New Language If Living Abroad

5 Tips for Learning a New Language If Moving or Already Living Abroad

Moving to a brand-new country is never easy. Learning a new language can take years. And moving to a brand-new country while attempting to learn a new language can be downright daunting.

For an expat in a non-English speaking country, the question simply becomes: how can I learn the local language fast? While there is no magic pill to learn a new language overnight, there are ways to pick up a language quickly. While this task of learning a foreign language may seem huge, there are ways to make your life a bit smoother – here are five tips to learning a new language, while living abroad:

  1. Understand that learning a new language is difficult! There are multiple ways of learning a new language and not every way will work for you. No one is expecting you to learn a brand-new language perfectly and to be fluent speaker right away, especially if you are learning a language with many complexities like Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean, or Hungarian. The faster you can come to terms with this notion, the faster you can get over any anxiety and embarrassment that may come with learning a new foreign language. Relax, figure out what method works for you, practice, and enjoy the process.
  2. Immerse yourself in the language. Pay attention to the street signs, the advertisements on the sides busses and on billboards, read food labels when grocery shopping; all of this helps (especially when learning a new language alphabet). Celebrate your wins when you recognize what the words or phrases mean. Try ordering your daily cup of coffee at your neighborhood cafe in the local language. Find out the keywords or phrases to get by and say pleasantries like please, thank you, may I, sorry, etc. and use them on a daily basis. They will become automatic and make you more confident.
  3. Self-study. If you like to learn on your own there are many books out there on learning new languages. You can check out local books stores in your new country, many of which will have books on learning English or baby books. Don’t discredit these books, reversing how you view the language may be quite helpful. And there are thousands of YouTube videos, podcasts, and apps to help you self-learn – most of them free. Listen or watch videos on your daily commute or for a few hours a day when possible. Making use of technology can be a lighter and easier way of learning as many apps aim to make the learning process fun and game-like. Talk to the locals who speak English, they can help correct you and guide you. If you don’t know a local who can help, join a learning group.
  4. Join a learning group. This will allow you to be in a structured environment to learn the new language. You will get feedback, be sounded by others from various different countries who are trying to learn the local language and may even receive assignments to test your knowledge. Find fellow expats, but beware of slipping back into your native tongue.
  5. Get creative. Make flashcards, try to write up your work emails or everyday texts in English and the local language, visualize the new language rather than relying on a direct translation. Have fun with friends or family members who are trying to learn the new language, get into a habit of picking a category to talk about ex. “colours” or “foods” and say the examples in the language. Watch the news for articulation and pronunciation. If you are in a big city check out a play, visit museums, and see movies in the language you are trying to learn.

And finally, something thing you might want to consider before choosing a language learning method is what purpose are you looking to achieve by learning a foreign language? Do you need it mostly for writing? Talking? Business? Can you get by without learning too much of the local language? Learning a new language will always assist in ensuring a good quality of life and freedom within your new country. A new language will assist 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 of 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. If you have any questions regarding international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs as an expat, please contact us or complete the quote form.

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International Payroll Tips for Expat Employers

Global Payroll Tips for Expatriate Employers

Paying expat employees is increasingly more common as companies expand their businesses into global markets. There is not one straightforward way to ensure you’re paying your expat employees given that laws are different in every jurisdiction.

What is certain, however, is that human resources and payroll professionals are required to acquire knowledge of international payroll management systems, which are becoming more complex since they vary from one organization or company to the next.

Therefore, there are varying procedures and methods for how international employees are paid.

We’ve put together a list of our top five tips for dealing with international payroll so you can avoid legal problems. While our firm does not provide global payroll service, we are happy to provide some helpful tips that may assist your organization. We can even refer you to a global HR firm if required.

But first, what exactly is international payroll?

What is international payroll?

International payroll refers to the list of a company’s expatriate employees and includes information on how and when the money they are owed will be paid to them.

There are, generally, two aspects of global payroll obligations to remember:

  1. Withholding the correct payroll taxes.
  2. Income/tax reporting.

“Withholding tax” is the amount of an employee’s pay withheld by the employer and sent directly to the government as a partial payment of income tax. These concepts are essential for you to understand so you can avoid problems.

If your expatriate employees are required to travel often, then it is critical to design a payroll policy about how long an employee must stay in one state before withholding must be taken into account.

Remember also that specific expatriate payroll-related concepts include foreign currency exchange transactions as well as US payroll.

Given you need to be compliant with specific laws, rules, and regulations that vary in different areas and are sometimes quite complex and overwhelming, it is recommended that you hire legal or tax professionals to assist you and your firm.

Legal and tax professionals have extensive knowledge of the specific taxation, employment laws, and fluctuating foreign currency trends. These professionals would be able to support you in achieving the best method for setting up a successful international payroll system that works best for both you and your firm.

 

The International Compensation System

Recognizing international compensation plans when reporting expatriate employees’ income and tax is important.

An international compensation plan may include base salary, benefits, and other incentives as part of the expat employee’s monetary and non-monetary return for work.

Some aspects of international compensation plans include contributions to foreign pension plans, foreign trust reporting, and foreign deferred compensation arrangements.

Some US expatriates working for foreign corporations may participate in international pension plans. However, the tax arrangement may not meet “qualification rules” in the US, so this must be taken into consideration.

Discussing how best to treat contributions to your foreign compensation plans with tax professionals is recommended highly, as they can also advise on reporting requirements that may apply in addition to an expat employees’ tax return.

You’re not alone if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or even confused about where to start or how to structure or enhance the HR policies in your company or organization to better facilitate the international payroll for expat employees.

We have compiled five tips for you to keep in mind as you go forward.

  1. Understand the difference between various mobility policies 

It is important to hire professional consultants who can provide guidance on a variety of mobility issues by identifying benefits available in the new location. These professionals will also be able to structure a new global employment strategic plan, as well as developing a worldwide expatriate compensation and benefits plan. In some nations, local benefits coverage and medical facilities may be limited. Local currency fluctuations and the financial stability of the local insurance company are significant concerns for expatriate employees. Expat Financial can source international group insurance plans from a variety of large and respected insurance companies for multinational companiesNon-government Organizations, non-profits, governments, and international schools.

Several benefits are available, such as Group LTD, AD&D, Life Insurance, Health, Dental, and Emergency Medical Evacuation & Assistance Insurance. The risk and the administration for numerous operations and countries are pooled under one plan. Benefits can be paid in several major currencies. For companies with less than three expatriate employees or individual expatriates, we can also provide individual International Health Insurance protection as well as individual life and disability plans.

  1. Tax knowledge is a must

It is critical that you understand the foreign payroll withholding requirement and are able to determine whether the various compensation aspects are taxable or non-taxable. Our firm can often refer clients to expatriate tax specialists and even global payroll firms with excellent global tax knowledge.

Expat Financial may be able to provide international pension plans from large and established insurance company. These plans are usually free of taxes on accumulations, and there are no withholding taxes on benefits paid.

In addition, a variety of investments can be made available. The administration costs are also typically much lower for the company and the employees than setting up individual plans. Check with your tax advisor to confirm your tax status at your location.

  1. Organize documentation of payroll operations

Managing the documentation of payroll is very important. It provides the payroll team members with operational standards and policies. Due to the complexity of international payroll, different staff members may have different payroll methods. Maintaining payroll documentation can help administrative staff to manage payroll operations efficiently.

A tailored international group insurance plan provides simple administration platform for your HR department. It can facilitate instant communication online between employees, insurance companies and HR administrators. This is most especially convenient for highly mobile expat employees.

It is imperative for your expat employees to move from one country to another without worrying about switching from one local health insurance plan to another. It is crucial that HR managers consider excellent administration when choosing a global medical plan for their expat employees.

Contact Expat Financial to learn more.

 

  1. Provide ongoing training for payroll team members 

The role of an international payroll specialist requires strong professional skills, as well as extensive knowledge of new technologies and software in an ever-evolving business environment.

Arrange annual training and professional upgrading programs in international payroll for all team members to enhance knowledge, learn trending methodologies, and stay up-to-date on the latest best practices. Training programs should ideally include a comprehensive range of webinars, seminars, and forums.

Opportunities to network are also a great plus. Building an international payroll network can be helpful in advancing your company’s HR team and their performance.

  1. Optimal payroll productivity

International payroll management usually requires a cross-department effort from the finance, administration, and HR departments. Therefore, it is vital to connect global payroll to the business administration process and continuously update your management strategy.

For example, implementing a reviewing process within each party involved (such as HR & Finance) before delivering the review process results to employees is a great idea that can be used to avoid mistakes and improve expatriate employee satisfaction. Continuously building your communication with employees is critical to a great international payroll procedure.

A Reminder About Global Insurance Requirements

While international payroll is a very complex and vital requirement for expatriate employers, it is also important to consider the insurance needs of your globally mobile employees.

Expat Financial offers international group insurance plans for expatriate employees. We can even source expat group insurance plans for multinationalsNGOs and governments that have groups of three to 1000 expatriate employees working overseas. We offer numerous global benefit plans that are available to meet almost any budget requirement you may have.

With extensive global experience, knowledge, and contacts, Expat Financial is a leading source of group international health insurance plans that offer global health insurance coverage from various leading insurance providers that offer only the best plans.

For companies with only one expat employee, we have excellent global health plans that you can obtain a quote and also apply for completely online. We also offer xpat life and disability insurance plans as well as source special risk plans including war and terrorism insurance.

We are also a major provider of international insurance solutions to companies across many sectors of the economy and regions of the world.

Contact us today to obtain a quote, learn more, and we can answer your global insurance questions. If you require a global payroll specialist, we may be able to refer you to a company which can assist your HR Department and of course your expatriates.

Read more to learn why an international group insurance plan is superior to placing your expat employees on domestic policies.

The top 5 countries to raise expat children in

Are you planning to move abroad with your family? According to a recent survey report, the top 5 best countries to raise expat children in 2017 are Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The rankings are based on various factors such as quality of life, political influence, business friendliness, cultural heritage, entrepreneurship, and ease of obtaining citizenship. In this article, we will introduce these top 5 countries to raise expat children abroad.

  1. Switzerland
  • Introduction: Switzerland is among one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world. Bordering Germany, France, Austria and Italy in Europe, Switzerland ranks at top globally for its quality of life, government stability, healthcare standards and economic development. The overall standard of living is high.
  • Healthcare: Medical services are considered to be of the highest standards in Switzerland. Expats living in Switzerland will find many English speaking medical staff and doctors. However, expats are strongly recommended to purchase international health insurance plans before relocating to Switzerland, especially for those who plan to give birth in the country.  International health insurance will fully cover the medical costs of giving birth, including medical check-ups to baby’s hospital stay, plus post-natal care. Without appropriate health insurance, the medical bills can be very high.
  • Safety & Security: Switzerland has been consistently obtaining high marks for safety and a healthy lifestyle. According to the Government of Canada, the public transportation in Switzerland is excellent. Expats living in Switzerland should exercise normal precautions as petty crime could happen in public areas.
  • Children’s Education: According to the survey, the education system in Switzerland gets top marks on a global scale. This is not only because the schools in Switzerland cater to international families, but also the flexibility of its education system. According to The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), each of the 26 individual regions has its own education department and own school curriculum. Local state schools are free of charge. However, many expat families prefer international schools to help their children with the ease of transition and continue their education in a familiar language and curriculum.

        2. Canada

  • Introduction: Known for its cultural diversity and natural beauty, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Few countries can compare with the geographic diversity of Canada. The official languages are English and French. Canada is a high-tech, developed country with a high standard of living. The country’s economy mostly relies upon energy, agriculture and minerals.
  • Healthcare: The provincial medical plans provide Canadians with excellent emergency and non-emergency care, and it is publicly funded. Expatriates who are not covered by provincial medical care should obtain international health insurance plans. The medical cost for inpatient care at hospitals without it can be very expensive.
  • Safety & Security: Being one of the safest destinations in the world, the crime rates in Canada are low. Expats living in Canada should maintain common-sense precautions however, such as not leave valuables unattended to protect the security of your property.
  • Children’s Education: The standard of education in Canada is high. There are many public-funded schools and private schools including language schools, career schools, community colleges and secondary schools. Since Canada is a bilingual country, English and French language schools are available throughout the country.

        3. United Kingdom

  • Introduction: The United Kingdom contains four countries united under one government. The countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With an area of around 242,500 square kilometres, the nation has a population of 65.1 million people. The capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom is London. There are also many cultural heritage sites across the UK, due to the nation’s long and rich history.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare service in the UK is generally of high standards. It provides patients with primary care, in-patient care, dental care, etc., and it is free of charge. There are also private medical facilities throughout the country. Most expatriates living in the UK would want to seek medical insurance coverage globally. Additionally, it is important to obtain an international health insurance plan that will allow the private medical facilities access, due to long queues at public facilities.
  • Safety & Security: The public transportation in the UK is excellent. According to Government of Canada, the risk level of travlling to the UK is “exersise a high degree of caution” due to the threat of terroroisim. Although terror attacks can strike in any nation, due to the recent increase in attacks across Europe, expats should be weary of the increased risk.
  • Children’s Education: More than a quarter of the world’s top 200 universities are located in the UK. The education system in the UK is famous for its high quality, excellent education methodologies and research facilities, as well as academic freedom. Across the UK there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education and higher education. After a student reaches the age of 16, he or she may choose to continue studying. Further Education is not compulsory. The UK school system is more lecture-based, with a few assignments throughout the semester. The cost of education in the UK is high, but not as expensive as in the US, as the government sets limits for tuition fees.

4. Germany

  • Introduction: With a total population of 82,667,000 people, Germany is a leading European country. As the world’s second-largest exporter, the standard of living is high in the nation. The Official languages in Germany are German and English. The high-income capital city is Berlin. Germany is also known as one of the most industrious countries in Europe, with major industries including automotive engineering, technology, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Germany is excellent. The government-funded public medical care system provides healthcare services and products to patients, and the private medical facilities make a considerable contribution to society. The medical staff and doctors in Germany have usually received extensive medical training. Many expatriates living in Germany will want to obtain international health insurance plans to cover their medical costs in private healthcare facilities.
  • Safety & Security: Violent crime in Germany is low. There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Germany, according to Government of Canada. Expatriates living in Germany should exercise normal security precautions if attending large crowds events or visit local markets.
  • Children’s Education: Germany’s education system is different from the ones in many other countries. Lectures in public schools are usually taught in German, where expat children will gain a high academic ability of German. After grade 4, the students are separated by their overall academic performance and are divided into three different kinds of schools: Realschule, Hauptschule or Gymnasium. Realschule focuses on theory learning from grades 5 to 10. Hauptschule focuses on practical skills more than theory. The Gymnasium is a path to the university. The education system in Germany is different from state to state. There are also many international schools. Among these private schools, Montessori education is one of the most popular teaching models in Germany.

5. Japan

  • Introduction: Located on the east coast of Asia and southwest to Taiwan, Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city of Japan is Tokyo, with a population of approximately 9 million people in the area. The country has one of the world’s largest economies, and is famous for its highly skilled workforce and fast pace. As a developed country, expatriates will enjoy a high standard of living in the city. Also, Japan’s population enjoy the highest life expectancy rate in the world.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Japan is among the best in the world. The universal health care insurance system offers citizens with fees set by the government. The healthcare insurance is mandatory and is required by law to all residents. However, hospitals are privately run and owned. Expatriates living in Japan for under a year is suggested to buy international health insurance to cover the medical cost.
  • Safety & Security: There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Japan, according to the Government of Canada. However, after the strong earthquake on March 11, 2011, reconstruction efforts are ongoing at Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki. Therefore, some transportation routines may be unavailable. Expatriates visiting these areas will want to make sure that you have secured accommodations and transportation. The overall crime against foreign nationals is low. Expatriates are advised to exercise normal levls of caution throughout their stay in Japan.
  • Children’s Education: According to a recent study, the Japanese education system leads the world in numeracy and literacy skills. The Japanese school system consists of 9 years of compulsory education period and 3 years of senior high school. There are many after-school workshops where students will learn more than in the regular classes. According to a recent survey, nearly 85% of the students feel happy in school.

Don’t forget International Health Insurance 

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world. We offer plans from several different international health insurance companies that are designed for foreign nationals living outside the country for which they hold a passport or some local national living outside the US or Canada. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

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The ultimate packing list for long-term relocation abroad

Top 7 Packing List for Expatriates Relocating Abroad

After you have done your research on your destination country’s healthcare, housing, and job market, you are ready to pack and move. The process of packing and loading can be very stressful and tedious. In this article, we will discuss our top 7 tips for creating the ultimate packing list for long-term relocation abroad.

1. Important Records and Documentations

Pack important records and documents such as airline tickets, passports, visas, your children’s school records, shipping documents, medical records, etc. in a safe place. Some crucial documents require both the original and a copy for each of your family members. Please make sure that you have packed you and your family’s:

  • Birth certificates
  • Passport and Visas
  • Medical records
  • Health Insurance documentation
  • Mediation Prescriptions
  • Credit Cards
  • Immunization records

2. Medical Supplies

Pack medications that you may need as soon as you step on the new city. If you have a medical condition that required continued medication, make sure you pack enough medical supplies. This will save your time and money in finding new substitutes in a new country. Other essential medications include:

  • First aid kit
  • Anti-allergy medicine
  • Prescription medicine
  • Water purification tablets
  • Tylenol for Children’s fever

3. Electronics

Proper electronics will be a necessity during your trip and expat life. Please check these essential electronics before you go:

  • Flashlight
  • Camera
  • Home appliances (optional)
  • Laptop
  • Voltage converter
  • Portable charger
  • Smartphone
  • Headphones

 

4. Clothes

It is important to not only know where you are moving to but also what activities you want to do in your new destination when packing clothes. Below are the suggestions:

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Dresses or Suits
  • Bathing suits
  • Pyjamas
  • Sewing kit
  • Disposable towelettes
  • T-shirts
  • Winter coats
  • Socks & Jeans

5. Shoes

When packing, it is important to consider what footwear will be most appropriate for your various activities and destinations. Whether you are going to a meeting or hiking Kilimanjaro, it is critical that you plan ahead so you don’t find yourself wearing your trainers to close that deal.

6. Place Large Signs on Household Goods

For those who are packing heavy furniture, place large signs on these appliances. For example, if there are some items that you need immediately in your new home, place a “FOR IMMEDIATE USE” sign on it. This will keep you organized on moving days and avoid any complications. Your new employer abroad may provide you with relocation assistance.

On departure day, remember to close and secure all windows and doors, clean and vacuum the house, turn off lights and electronic appliances, and check all the closets, storage areas, and drawers to make sure that everything has been packed. Make sure you also have your mail forwarded.

7. Don’t Forget International Health Insurance

Perhaps we are biased, but you should definitely remember to purchase an international health insurance plan to fully cover yourself and any dependents who will be living with you abroad. A global medical plan cannot only cover large medical expenses, but it can also cover you for preventative health and medical tests that can help you maintain you and your family’s health. This is especially true of many countries where most local public healthcare facilities may not be up to western standards. Without an appropriate international health insurance plan, expatriates could end up receiving large medical bills that could put their financial status at risk.

Expatriates living and working abroad will benefit from an international insurance plan with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation and repatriation. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your expatriate insurance requirements. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Five Advantages of International Health Insurance for Expats

Five Advantages of International Health Insurance for Expats

Moving abroad can be an exciting and life-changing event. However, expatriates working and living abroad may face diverse healthcare needs. In order to access the desired healthcare facilities and services, it is critical to obtain an international health insurance plan. In this article, we will explore five advantages of an international health insurance policy if you are an expatriate planning to live, work or retire abroad or are already an expat.

  • You Have Freedom to Choose Your Doctor Internationally 

An international health insurance plan provides an extensive medical care network. Therefore, you have the freedom to choose healthcare professionals and facilities globally. This is very helpful when your destination healthcare facilities do not meet your medical requirements, or your family members need certain medical specialists. Note that some plans will restrict you to receiving medical coverage in a particular region or offer global coverage. Most plans will offer you the ability to add treatment in the USA.

  • Avoid Long Lineups 

In most countries around the world, many public hospitals and clinics are often overcrowded, with long lineups and extended waiting periods. However, private medical facilities are often able to provide faster medical appointments and surgeries. With an international insurance plan, expatriates can use private medical facilities through a medical network and avoid long lineups.

  • No Language Barrier

One of the most challenging issues that expats might experience while abroad is the language barrier. Sometimes expats can’t access the local healthcare system because they don’t speak the language. For example, in China, though some public hospitals have opened international medical departments to serve expats, these healthcare facilities are only available in major cities. If expats are residing in smaller commercial centres or visiting some rural area, then they may fail to access the medical assistance they need. Note that private hospitals in China are very expensive, so make sure you have adequate coverage.

With an international insurance plan, you can be connected to local private medical facilities with English speaking medical staff and doctors. They often provide a higher quality of care and better service than public facilities. Most of them have also received Western training. Additionally, an international insurance provider such as Cigna can provide language assistance and interpretation service at no cost to you. This is very helpful for expats with an international background during every step in seeking medical assistance.

  • You are Often Covered Wherever You Go

Many expatriates may already be covered by their local medical plan; however, most local plans are not designed for expats. An international health insurance plan can provide complete coverage for you and your family around the world. This is very important for expats who often travel from one country to another. Obtaining an appropriate global medical insurance plan will not only protect you and your family from health risks but will also provide you with peace of mind. Note that expat health plans are not generally portable back to your country of citizenship or to some countries where local regulations don’t allow the insurer to maintain your coverage.

  • Avoid Financial Risks

As reported in the news, research, and surveys, the cost of medical care is increasing globally, especially emergency care. An international health insurance plan will help you avoid financial risks while living and working overseas. Most plans will provide hospital coverage, routine medical checkups, prescriptions, etc. You can also add dental, vision and wellness care. Expats should make sure that the insurance plan has medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. In some severe situations, evacuation is required to receive urgent medical care.

Obtain International Health Insurance from Expat Financial  

Whether you are living or working abroad, or planning to, Expat Financial is your trustworthy companion with proven expertise in financial and insurance services area. As a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd, we have extensive experience in working with individual and group expats to assess their global insurance needs. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across much of the world. We also provide excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have any particular questions regarding expat health insurance, please contact us or complete the quote form.

 

 

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, making friends and adapting to their new surroundings. We have put together five tips for expatriates who want to learn how to live abroad like the locals.

  • Learning 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 begin to open up to you. It is not just a way of communication; it shows your respect for the local culture. Don’t struggle to become fluent, try to start with some basic greeting expressions. 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 sooner you will be 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 expats of similar backgrounds, 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. To get involved in the local culture, expatriates are encouraged to go out and attend local events such as a colleagues’ party, or high tea with your new neighbor,. 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 up 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.

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, a total of 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 globe. In this article, we will discuss five reasons to become an expatriate in Hong Kong.

Convenience 

If you ask expatriates, who are already living in Hong Kong about what their impression is 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-Eleven’s in the world. Most of them operate 24/7. Some restaurants offer late-night meals until 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, and you’ll have a fast 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 license plate number for future references.

Healthcare 

The medical facilities in Hong Kong are considered to be of high standard. There are 11 private hospitals and 42 public hospitals in Hong Kong, and both 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 extended waiting periods prevalent in the 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 leaders in education in Asia, according to many global rankings. The education sector in Hong Kong is based on the British model, and 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 the 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 center 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.

Safety 

Hong Kong is a large city, and as with any metropolis of this size, crime is more prevelent. However, 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 be your first stop.