Will the coronavirus panic change the expat world for ever?

Will the coronavirus panic change the expat world for ever?

Will the coronavirus panic change the expat world for ever?

Border closures are leaving millions of expats worldwide with no way to stay and no way to leave.

Expats who’ve taken their qualifications, knowledge and aspirations to countries all over the world could be forgiven for feeling resentful that all their efforts may count for nothing now that the pandemic is controlling their lives one way or another. Those who travelled as part of their jobs or the needs of their businesses either can’t get back to their country of residence or repatriate to the home country. Others are stuck in transit, not knowing what to do except beg and plead for a flight, knowing full well they’ll almost certainly not be successful, and others are being asked for an impossible number of documents just to get back into their adopted countries.

Logically, although the virus is obviously a threat to life and health just as were its earlier versions, the confusion and mixed messages given to all those affected only make the overall situation far worse than it could have been. For the expats themselves, the frustration being felt as government after government brings in unworkable semi-solutions could well be worse than contracting the mild version of the virus. Those temporarily separated from their families have no idea how there loved ones are adjusting to clumsily-applied lockdowns and quarantine rules, and aren’t at all sure when they’ll be allowed to return home to help.

This pandemic was predicted by experts for some years, but not one single government seems to have put in place a sensible plan to limit infections and get people back where they belong. As a result, fear of the unknown has taken over, with Western politicians’ moves to solve their dilemmas demonstrating a political motivation underscoring every statement made to journalists eager for news on the latest developments. Whilst all this is going down, expats all over the world are angry, nervous or downright terrified at the prospect of being trapped overseas whilst their families become infected or worse.

For many, emigrating was the chance of a lifetime to excel in their sectors, earn a high salary and ensure an improved lifestyle for their loved ones as well as for themselves. Many decided on China itself as the perfect place to grow their ideas whilst being supported by its government and, for a while, their choices bore fruit in a spectacular way. Now, almost all across Asia, westerners are being blamed for spreading the infection, and the lockdowns and cancelled flights are preventing them from leaving. One thing’s for sure, if and when the virus finally dies down, the expat world will never be the same again.

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