Expats Over 40: Seize the Opportunity
Millions of individuals harbour a dream of professional adventures on foreign shores. This is especially true amongst those who have years of experience in their native land, and are looking for adventures anew. But to many, this appears to be nothing more than a dream.
Many older would-be expats are wary to fully engage in their pursuit of opportunities abroad. They have serious doubts about whether they will get a job offer, will they receive a visa, and if they would unsettle their family life in the pursuit of taking a chance overseas. They see their dreams as a “young man’s game.”
This however is simply not the case. Opportunities are bountiful for expatriates over the age of 40. Moving overseas is not only possible, but it can be a great decision for both the individual and their families.
Where the jobs are
Of all the business sectors for potential expatriates to consider, the areas with the greatest opportunities tend to be in the sectors of finance, HR, construction, hospitality, sales & marketing and of course, oil & gas. Keep in mind that expatriates who excel in their fields are still in high demand, no matter the industry. This is particularly true for the largest and most prominent companies, who continuously try to acquire the best talent by offering premium salaries and benefits. Experience plays a significant role in these evaluations- particularly for senior executive positions- making these opportunities more advantageous for 40+ professionals than for their younger counterparts. One of the most lucrative advantages expats have against nationals, particularly in regions such as the Middle East, is the high demand for western experience and market knowledge. In the emerging markets in the GCC experience of an already established market is a highly sought after trait, one that can be read more about here.
Retirement concerns overblown
Much has been made of Saudi Arabia’s policy to lower the retirement age of foreign worker to the age of 60. This action is intended to aid in the promotion of local talent and to undercut growing unemployment within the Kingdom. While this may appear to be a strong deterrent for seasoned professionals, this is more of an outlier than the norm.
The United Arab Emirates, for instance, has altered its labor laws where expats can now secure work visas up to the age of 65. Further, the same fees apply to permits for works over-60 as for those 60-and-under. In Qatar there is no limit on retirement age for foreign nationals employed in the private sector; the one caveat here is that they cannot change sponsors over the age of 60, and special permission for sponsorship extension must be granted.
The same stands for visa restrictions. Despite a recent clamp down in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, many countries within the gulf are still preferring to hire top talent from the more mature markets. Irrespective of this, as an expat you tend not have to worry about visa’s as if successful your employer usually completes all of the required paperwork.
Benefits to family life
For many potential expats in this position, they have more to consider than just themselves. The vast majorities have spouses and children who must also be taken into account for such important decisions. Many individuals shy away from pursuing these opportunities because they do not want to unsettle the family dynamic and uprooting them from family and friends.
However, a relocation abroad can provide many advantages to families. On one level, it can provide a unique experience to grow as a family, to help each other to acclimatize to a new and unfamiliar environment. This can lead to greater communication and interaction amongst family members, particularly in the early months of relocation.
Children in particular can greatly benefit from a move abroad. Not only will they be immersed in a new culture- where they can learn a new language, new customs, and gain a greater appreciation of their background as well as that of others- but they can be positioned for more future success. Living abroad will provide children an experience that will be an asset for university applications, a greater range of career opportunities, and much more.
Currently the region is investing heavily in the education sector so your offspring will be benefiting from what can become the futures leading institutions.
Seize the Opportunity
Age is just a number. Don’t think it can harm your prospects of achieving your dreams such as becoming an expatriate in an exotic land. Whether you are a business professional in your 20s, 30s, or beyond, opportunities are plentiful for those who truly have the desire and tenacity.
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