Over 40% foreigners living in Egypt were looking for a better job
Egypt is a country which is something of a mystery to many people and one which has very much been in the news over the last few months. However, there is no doubt that the intrigue and the mystery of Egypt is attracting more and more expats to the region for a variety of different reasons.
We will now look at the reasons why people move to Egypt and comment upon the reasoning behind these. A recent poll conducted by Expat Forum on behalf of Barclays Wealth International found out that Employment (42.31%) is main reason for those of you choosing Egypt as your expat destination.
It seems that employment is one of the main reasons why anybody moves overseas for a new life although without knowing exactly where these expats are coming from it is difficult to compare the relative employment markets of their “former homeland” and Egypt itself.
However, there is no doubt that Egypt has a variety of different attractions regarding employment and the mix between unskilled and skilled employment has been changing.
The main sectors in the Egyptian employment market are agriculture, media, petroleum exports and tourism and interestingly, despite the fact that more expats and are moving to Egypt, there are currently 3 million Egyptians working overseas. Many people will be unaware that Egypt has received foreign aid from the US government since 1979 which has been used to improve communications and the actual infrastructure of the country. However, with regards to natural employment arenas there is no doubt that tourism is seen by many as the one area of hope for the future.
Standard of living (11.54%)
A number of people will be surprised to see that the Egyptian standard of living is a reason to move to the country when a number of prominent human rights organisations have been severely critical of the Egyptian regime. Actually, nearly 12 out of each 100 foreigners living in Egypt decided to settle down in the Nile because of its standard of living. It is worthy of note that there have been recent movements on the political front, but there is no doubt that the difference between those enjoying a good standard of living in the country and those at the bottom of the ladder is enormous. Therefore, while the relative standard of living in Egypt and the cost of living in Egypt may be attractive for some people, this is not the case across-the-board.
It is interesting to learn that many believe basic goods and basic food prices in Egypt are artificially high because of government actions yet many expats believe the country has many attractions. The government has promised to invest significant amounts of money in the short, medium and longer term and it is hoped that this will pull more and more people out of poverty.
There are many people who come back from holiday with ideas of romance and new relationships and it has to be said that Egypt attracts more than its fair share of attention in this particular area. As a consequence, with just over 11% of the vote, romance is joint second in the list of reasons why people move to Egypt although it is unclear which of these individual romances are successful. If nothing else the idea of moving to Egypt for romance perfectly illustrates the very difficult situation which a number of Egyptians find themselves in – which can often lead to them finding love with western visitors. Money can be tight in certain areas of the country and people do struggle to bring up their families.
On the plus side, despite the often negative headlines regarding holiday romances in Egypt that are people who meet their loved ones and their life partners in Egypt and go on to enjoy a full and fruitful life. However, there is no doubt that you need to be careful with regards to holiday romances and if this is the only reason you’re moving overseas then you are literally putting “all of your eggs in one basket”.
As we mentioned above, the difference between the haves and the have-nots in Egypt is absolutely enormous even though government propaganda may not always show this. However, this has not stopped a number of people looking to move to the country in retirement and to enjoy a relatively comfortable life and a relatively high standard of living. If you have money in Egypt then you have access to a higher standard of food and services as well as a higher standard of living than the average person. However, you need to be certain that your finances will support you well into the future especially if you have limited income expectations in the longer term. Easiest way for you to have your finances in order is to set up a date with your wealth manager to go through your financial planning.
Aside from the financial aspects of retiring in Egypt we also need to take into account the very colourful and very interesting life of the country. This is a country which has a well-documented history and one which is still very much on open view to the public. From the Pharaohs to the Suez Canal, from the Nile to ancient Egyptian villages there is definitely much to see for those looking at a new life in the region. The history is there for all to see but there needs to be significant improvement in the underlying economy.
Cost of living (7.69%)
As we touched on above, the cost of living in Egypt is in the minds of many people relatively high as a consequence of government actions. These are criticisms which have been targeted at the Egyptian authorities for many years now and despite the fact the country receives significant overseas aid to improve infrastructure and services this has yet to happen in some areas of Egypt. Thankfully we have seen a recent improvement in the Egyptian economy due in the main to increased revenues from tourism and demand for Egyptian stocks and shares.
However, if you’re looking to move to Egypt to spend your final days you need to be fully aware of the problems and the differences between different areas of the country. You need to choose your location wisely, you need to ensure that you are fully funded and you need to be aware of the often volatile nature of the Egyptian economy. It also pays to be aware of the way thing are done in Egypt, financially speaking. A good way to get familiar with these issues is to take a look at the Barclays Wealth International guide to expatriate banking guide in Egypt.
If you were to ask the vast majority of people about their opinion of the Egyptian weather they would likely suggest it was very hot and very dry. However, did you know that certain areas of Egypt are actually home to snow throughout the year and severe frost has been regularly experienced in other areas?
That aside, it is also worth noting that the average temperature across Egypt is anywhere between 80°F and 90°F in the summer although this can rise up to in excess of 100°F. Winter temperatures tend to be in the region of 55°F to 70°F although some of the more mountainous regions of Egypt will experience significantly colder climates. The weather itself is impacted by the steady wind from the north-west which blows over the Mediterranean coast and can help to reduce the impact of the often hot climate. It is not difficult to see why Egypt is attracting significant tourism numbers!
The Egyptian government has for many years been targeted by various humanitarian groups in relation to the treatment of the Egyptian population and in a similar vein a number of economic experts believe the authorities have largely been at fault for the economic stagnation of years gone by. However, if you take a look at basic Egyptian taxes you will see that the maximum income tax rate is just 25% which is just half of that in the UK. So while there are difficulties with the Egyptian government policies in the area of economics there would appear to be scope for significant savings for those living in Egypt and susceptible to income tax.
Indeed, despite recent rumours that the Egyptian authorities were looking to increase tax rates yet further, having increased them from 20% to 25% at the top end, this has been refuted by the authorities. On the downside, while taxes are relatively low across the board, Egypt business leaders have been very critical of the manner in which business is carried out across the country and the difficulties accommodating investment. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to acknowledge as many options as possible, in order to maximize your wealth. Per instance, opening an offshore bank account can save you all the hassle of political and economic uncertainty, including the latter all the national taxation jargon.
Joint fourth on the list of reasons to move to Egypt was the crime rate which will vary from place to place. There is no doubt that higher crime rates occur in areas of extreme deprivation and poverty which is one of the reasons why the Egyptian authorities are under extreme pressure to improve their record in this area. Whether or not you would move to Egypt because of a perceived low crime rate is a matter of debate but this was a reason which did register on our online poll.
Travel the world (3.85%)
As we mentioned above, there has been massive interest in travelling around the world and when you take into account the enormous variation of locations, cultures and areas of interest in Egypt it is not difficult to see why the country attracts more than its fair share of international tourists. This is a country which has been wracked by political mismanagement in the past but one which has a history which is well documented and as attractive to travellers as it is long. It is no surprise to learn that more and more people are now looking to sample the Egyptian culture and the extremely impressive tourist venues.
Other reasons (3.85)
There was only one other reason mentioned as a reason to move to Egypt which was family. When you bear in mind the very close cultural history of families in Egypt this is no surprise.
While the number of responses to our poll from expats in Egypt was disappointingly low there is no doubt that employment is the main reason that many are over there. This is an economy which has been struggling for many years but one which continues to receive significant overseas aid and there are thankfully signs of light at the end of the long tunnel. It is hoped that an improvement in the Egyptian economy will lead to more and more people leaving poverty and moving to a more comfortable lifestyle and a higher standard of living.
Tourism continues to bring in a significant amount of money for Egypt and when you bear in mind the number of people who visit and the number of venues to visit this is not a surprise.