Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Expat Resources, Guides and Networks

If you are considering moving abroad and want to know where to find information about jobs, articles and tips for traveling, studying and living in a foreign country, country guides or simply advice by or network with other expats, then the following links might help you.

I. Expat Websites: An Overview 

There is not an expat website which contains enough or updated information for all countries. Even content-rich and popular expat resources such as Transitions Abroad, HSBC Expat, Expat Focus and Expat Women have some drawbacks.

Transitions Abroad  is an expat directory containing websites and articles about traveling, living, studying and working abroad. Here are some of their best expat resources by category:

Despite the fact that there are many separate resources and articles in various categories, the website does not provide structured country guides. Transitions Abroad is also not the best place to find immigration information, although some general links are mentioned.

HSBC Expat  targets expats' financial and investment planning but the company has also prepared comprehensive country guides with information on immigration, culture, business etiquette, education, entertainment and medical issues. You can also explore their Cultural Tips, the Global Tax Navigator, findings of the 2011 Expat Explorer Survey - the world's biggest expat survey - and FT View From expat reports.

Since their country guides were prepared for business professionals and travelers, employment information is missing (trends and jobs) but they could have provided more information on housing. They haven't included many European countries and immigration information does not always refer to government websites.  

Expat Focus has made available guides for 80 countries but there are no links for some countries (e.g. for immigration).The case of Anglo Info and Easy Expat is quite the opposite: their guides do not cover as many countries but they contain many useful links in each section.

Expat Women is a website addressed to expat women but it provides a lot of information useful to both expat men and women. Expat guides are in the form of articles which cover a range of issues and provide links in a number of categories, by country. The monthly newsletters cover the newest articles and blogs as well as recent tweets on expat issues.

While it is claimed that around 200 countries are on the list, not all guides are complete (which depends on the expat communities and popularity of the respective country). What distinguished these country guides is that there are many links for expat communities, international schools and relevant local websites (see ‘general links’). On the other hand, there is not much information on accommodation and employment trends and websites. The section ‘Looking for Work’ contains information about the process of job application rather than employment trends and advice where to find jobs. Immigration information from reliable sources is included in the ‘Settling In Tips’ section but this section is not present in all guides. In March 2012, the creators of the website decided that no new links will be added but information on the website will remain accessible.

Expat websites cover different sets of countries, and many of them target specific aspects of the expat life and/or audience:

Apart from their main website, Just Landed launched websites for expat healthcare and marketing; expat news provided by Expat Forum and Telegraph Expat are frequently updated; Expatify has published real estate guides; the immigration guides of Expat Careers are written as interviews with immigration lawyers; Expat Blog is a directory for expat blogs while Expat Direct and Expat Hiring provide a platform for expat jobs; most of the expat guides are free but not the guides of Inter Nations and Expat Info Desk, etc.

Information should be combined from a range of sources and my advice is that you verify carefully visa requirements – sometimes immigration requirements are explained in detail by immigration firms but official government websites are more credible.

More expat resources may be found via social media - the numerous LinkedIn local expat and industry groups of Expat Finder and daily news by Just Landed, Blog Expat and Expat Workforce published on are some examples. Many of the expat websites in the below list have pages on Facebook and Twitter.

Information from over 20 expat websites is grouped into the following categories: General Expat Resources, Country Guides & Articles, Immigration Information, Expat/Immigration News, Expat Jobs, Expat Blogs, Forums & Interviews, Expat Health & Medical Tourism, Travel Resources.

II. General Expat Resources (Expat Websites)
  • Anywork Anywhere – useful links for international jobs, volunteering, travel communities and accommodation, visa information  

III. Country Guides & Articles 
  • Anglo Infocomprehensive guides: emergency numbers and useful links in each section; guides provide info on immigration, employment, accommodation and healthcare
  • Country Information (Facts & Figures) - links to various country guides, statistics and demography sites compiled by Search Engine Z; the websites were not created to help expats in particular but they can be very useful in case of missing or incomplete country information
  • Easy Expatcomprehensive city guides in a number of languages, useful links in each section including immigration, employment, accommodation and healthcare. Many of the guides were written in 2008, some information may be outdated 
  • Escape Artistarticles ‘Live in…’ and ‘Real Estate in…’ with links, some of them are ads; and paid expat e-books
  • Expat Findercountry and city guides, some guides contain links on jobs and immigration; expat associations indexed in the Directory; city guides and cost of living guides can be downloaded for free once an account is created 
  • Expat Focuscomprehensive guides for 80 countries; many of the guides contain links in some sections. Read carefully b/se links are often part of the text, i.e. there are almost no hyperlinks; expat associations are included 
  • Expat Womenuseful links by country and category - expat associations, international schools, interesting local websites, and sometimes job websites are all in section ‘General Links'; if immigration, accommodation and work information is included, it is usually in section ‘Settling In Tips’; ‘Looking for Work’ section contains information about job interviews and application rather than employment trends and advice where to find jobs; articles on a range of issues including financial matters, starting a business, jobs, children, volunteering and traveling. Country information will lead you to the US Library of Congress Country Studies
  • HSBC Guides – comprehensive guides for business professionals and travelers covering business culture and etiquette, history and economy, travel and healthcare; there is no information on local jobs and housing; in case no official immigration sites are mentioned, immigration information should to be double-checked  
  • Inter Nationsarticles in a number of categories containing some links; full guides are paid
  • Telegraph Expatguides for 20 countries with some links - sections finance, health and education; free downloadable guide for Australia; short comments and recommendations by location in the directory

IV. Immigration Information 
  • Anglo Info – information in sections “Moving” and “Working”, links to official websites; more links in 'useful contacts' for the respective country
  • Anywork Anywhere – links to official websites for visa information by country
  • Easy Expat – visa information and links in section ‘Departure’; links to official government websites or law firms, some information may be outdated (for guides written in 2008/09)
  • Expat Arrivals – visa information and links for some countries in section “Work Permits” and “Working” 
  • Expat Careers – visa information about 21 countries by immigration law firms – links to official websites and law firms
  • Expat Finder - visa information and links for some countries in the Expat Guides- choose a country, visa information is provided in the articles ‘Working in....’ or ‘Jobs in...’  
  • Expat Focus – visa information and links (but links are not provided for all countries) 
  • Expatica – visa information and links (for 10 European countries and South Africa)- see topic ‘Moving to - relocation’; links to law firms in the legal listings for the respective country; visa information in the survival guides
  • Expatify – visa information and links to official websites, law firms or other websites, double-check information for guides written several years ago
  • Expat Women – visa information for some countries in section “Settling In Tips” 
  • HSBC Country Guides - some links to official government websites or Visa HQ – a website providing visa information for travelers, not enough information for other types of visas 
  • Inter Nations – visa information and some links; full guides are paid (membership is required)  
  • Telegraph Expat – visa information and links for some countries available in ‘Financial Management’ guides 

V. Expat/Immigration News 

Expat Websites 
  • Easy Expat Blog – expat trends and international news; twitter round-ups 
  • Expat Finder – general expat news, news on expat finance and healthcare issues 
  • Expatica - monthly round-ups for Europe, immigration and HR trends; local news for each country 
  • Expatify - expat news, trends and tips

Other Resources for Expat/Immigration News
  • Totally Expat – international expat news provided by Fragomen, a leading law firm
  • International mobility and employment trends outlined in reports by global HR and consulting firms such as Adecco, Hays, Kelly Services, Manpower, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mercer, etc. Note that some of these firms have regional sites with focus on labour market trends in the respective country/region
  • Immigration updates by lawyers; curated on social media and blogs; highlighted in the news, by academic and research centers as well as official government sources (links to some official blogs can be found on the right side of my blog)

VI. Expat Jobs 

Diversified Search Strategies for the Deep Job Market [Useful Tips & Sites]
  • However, diversified search strategies taking into account expat and many other sites will yield better results for finding jobs which, just like web directories, may be located at ‘deeper’ levels. The main question should be not whether to consider expat and non-expat sites, but how jobs are advertised – directly on the website of the company, on major job sites or through recruitment agencies. Mind that, although many employers are using all these means, positions in service-oriented economies (e. g. Monaco, Channel Islands, Luxembourg, etc.) are mainly announced via staffing firms
  • While there are not many countries which target foreign workers in particular (i.e. separately from nationals), some may be interested to fill skills gaps because of current immediate needs. This is the case of New Zealand targeting workers in construction incl. skilled engineers and health & safety managers to help rebuild Christchurch after the earthquake. Actually, getting a job and a visa will be much quicker if there is a match between your expertise and the Canterbury Skill Shortage List as well as the other essential skills lists. Australian and NZ returning expats interested in working in their native countries can register their interest on the Track Me Back site
  • Look for employment sites in English but also in the regional language. For instance, vacant positions on the Norwegian public employment site are published in Norwegian but some positions are published in English. Sometimes, positions in English may be found among positions announced in the respective local language(s). You can access the NAV site in Norwegian and use Chrome browser to translate
  • In addition to global and national job sites, consider also regional sites and business directories. In France, the site Regions Job will let you search jobs by regions; and the business directory Where In Sophia  listing all companies based in the Sophia Antipolis technology park in the South of France, known mainly for the presence of engineering and IT firms, may lead you to employers in other areas. In North Denmark, potential employers from life sciences and ICT clusters may be discovered via the websites BioMed Community and BrainsBusiness
  • Search for professional associations and business sites - “Invest in…” sites, Chambers of Commerce and business directories (both general yellow pages and industry-specific ones); rankings of best employers (although they are not always objective or complete)

Job Search Engines & Directories
  • eFinancial Careers - a Dice Holdings company, Finance Jobs & Internships in the UK and worldwide (sites in 22 markets and 5 languages across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific)
  • Job Listings (job banks and directories; jobs by country/region and category) by the Riley Guide, a comprehensive and well-known job resource cited by many HR and expat experts

Links to Job Websites & Articles about Careers
  • Anywork Anywhere – links to job websites by sector, in alphabetical order; links to volunteering and working holiday programs    
  • Contact Expats – links to job websites including local and regional websites 
  • HSBC guides - information about business culture in the country guides 
  • 100 Useful Job & Internship Resources by Daily Tekk - job search engines, resume and social networking sites; career websites and tools for HR professionals; start-up jobs; entry-level jobs
  • Paguro - international job websites  

Expat Websites: Job Boards and Job Websites by Country 
  • Anglo Info – many useful links to job websites in section ‘Employment -- Find a Job’; links in 'useful contacts and resources' for each country 
  • Expat Finder – job websites and advice where to find jobs in the guides: expat guides -country - articles ‘Jobs in...’ or Working in...’ – links to local job websites; positions on the website visible to anyone, by country and sector 
  • Expat Focus – links to job websites in the country guides – no links and info for some countries but several job websites are mentioned for others
  • Expatica - links to local job websites in section ‘Employment’; job positions on the website; links to job portals and agencies in the respective country (choose a country, then see the links in ‘listings’)
  • Expat Women - links to local job websites are provided for some countries either in ‘General Links’ or ‘Settling In Tips’ section 
  • Expat Workforce – connecting native English speakers abroad with employers 
  • Inter Nations – employment overview and links to job portals by country, full guides are paid 
  • Just Landed – many useful links to job websites in the guides; job positions on the website by country

VII. Expat Blogs, Forums & Interviews 
  • Expatica - forums for 10 European countries and South Africa 
  • Expat Info Desk Blog – some expat interviews; some blogs by expatriates in the guides (the short articles in section ‘Destinations’) 
  • Inter Nations - recommended blogs by country; forums and networks by country of origin and expatriation; info accessible only to members (by invitation) 
  • Just Landed  – forums by country: go to ‘community’ and then choose a country from the list 

VIII. Expat Health & Medical Tourism

Healthcare information and links to providers & hospitals in the country guides:

 Articles & Resources 
  • Expat Health - a website about health-related issues launched by Just Landed 

Travel Health Online by Shoreland, a medical publishing company - travel health and safety guide by destination, travel medicine providers; you need to create an account (free) to access data

Travelers Health - health-related info by country by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

IX. Travel Resources
  • Best travel resources by Transitions Abroad: travel websites, blogs, budget travel, travel guides, maps and news, etc. 
  • Search LibGuides for travel & tourism guides and resources  
  • Travel Guides by Book Boon - they can be downloaded for free 
  • Travel & Places - travel articles and tips published on Squidoo and HubPages

The post was updated on 01/08/2012

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