Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When do you feel the need to go home?

Repatriation is a challenging time for expats. Few expats feel the need to return home according to HSBC's extensive Expat survey. Emotionally and practically, once you are an expat there's a sense that you remain so in many ways, and a surprisingly low proportion of the surveyed expats around the world - just 23% - have been through a repatriation process.

But the decision to repatriate is as much the wish or need to conclude an overseas life and reap the fruit of their experience as it is the draw of home. A fifth of expats (20%) returned home for career progression, however, the most common motivation for expats to return home is for family or personal reasons (32%).

Only 4% of expats state the main reason they returned to their home country was due to financial reasons. And when expats did return home, 29% found the higher cost of living a challenge.

While the majority (81%) of expats returning home experienced at least one issue as a result, the main impact was an emotional rather than practical one. Many felt they no longer 'fitted in' when they returned to their home country.

Attitudes towards repatriation also differ by nationality. American and French nationals who did return home are more likely than other nationalities to find fitting in difficult. On the other hand, only 20% of Canadians and 20% of Germans found the experience of returning home challenging.

For many expats, repatriation is not on their radar for one important reason - they have found the improvement in their quality of life they were looking for, both for themselves and their children.

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