Dangers for expat professionals and where they’re worst

Dangers for expat professionals and where they’re worst

Dangers for expat professionals and where they’re worst

One all-important aspect of emigration for whatever reason is safety and security.

The thought of living and working in a totally unfamiliar country is exciting and scary at the same time, but it’s best to check out on the destination itself before accepting that tempting new job. Especially for those brought up in first world countries, the thought of danger to life and limb is usually confined to obviously deadly locations such as Somalia or Libya, but it’s disturbing to realise just how many world countries have their dark sides.

Checking out the annual Travel Risk Map is advised, as it identifies risks include medical matters, road safety and other threats to health as well as the likelihood of axe-wielding maniacs and suchlike. Obviously, the vast majority of safe countries are found in the ‘first world’, with Nordic lands at the top of the list. Iceland, Finland, Greenland, Sweden and Norway are safe as houses, but not a deal of use for expats looking for hot weather and year-long sunshine, however impressive they may be for medical care, road safety and overall security.

If tropical diseases are your nightmare scenario, avoiding all of Africa is the best idea, but for those who’re prepared to take a chance, staying out of the Central African Republic, Niger, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea is essential, no matter how high the salary. Syria and Yemen are also bad bets as regards bugs in general, as is North Korea, into which you wouldn’t be allowed anyway.

If you’re a frequent traveller, you’ll know full well that threats to expats from terrorism, insurgency, social unrest, political violence and violent crime are far more prevalent in today’s world than are weird tropical diseases. Again, African and Arab countries have far more than their fair share of such dangers, although a few Asian countries seem to be catching up fast. Afghanistan needs to be avoided at all costs, and road safety in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Thailand poses far more of a risk than most expat travellers may realise.

MD of International SOS Doug Quarry believes the threats described above are now impacting many more countries than in the past. Infectious diseases and epidemics are a real threat for expats nowadays, even although decision makers are more aware of the issue. It seems nowadays that international employers are taking their expat employees' personal safety far more seriously than in the past, thus planning ahead for disruption before it threatens expat employees and business itself. Perhaps the present situation in Hong Kong is a microcosm of the macrocosm now facing international expat travellers and their employers.

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