Americans lose their wanderlust, prefer the green green grass of home
The number of U.S. citizens in Britain fell 3.8 percent, to 126,000, in the year through September, Bloomberg News notes, due largely to declining employment by U.K. banks. But the trend appears more widespread. The article cites a KPMG International survey of 60 companies based here and 40 based abroad, which found that 41 percent of employers plan to review expatriate programs, and 22 percent had recalled overseas workers or made them local employees in the past 12 months.
Of course, there are exceptions. Some recent college graduates, striking out in the U.S. job market, are finding better luck in China -- even if they don't speak the language, The New York Times recently reported. China's economy has recently performed better than that of the U.S., though both countries have enacted economic stimulus bills worth hundreds of billions.
The slowdown is hurting expatriates to the once-red-hot Persian Gulf. At least 75,000 Egyptian workers have returned from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf countries since October, according to The Los Angeles Times. Illegal workers from India are returning home in droves as well, Reuters reports.
And though many Americans were drawn in recent years to Dubai for its heady lifestyle, it turns out that ther's no free lunch -- at least not anymore. "You have to work harder than ever to find a job," notes Shelter Offshore, an online resource for international living. "You have to be prepared that many companies' positions in Dubai are unstable and that you could therefore be left without a contract, and that if you lose your employment contract you have to leave Dubai within a month. You have to pay for your rent up to a year in advance and if you lose your job and have to leave you may well not get that back."
Given such circumstances, many U.S. workers are finding that foreign countries are a great place to visit -- but not to live.