Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Outward migration

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‘Back in Dorset for the week: the cardiologist has departed to finish her dissertation prep and the Kids are moving to cook for a ‘gastropub nearby in Ashley Cross.  Their mother arrives for an extended visit on Friday, which should change the dynamic of the house in interesting ways.

Everyone took good care of my garden whilst I was away, and the or hid, violet, fuscia, fern, creeper, and chili are all thriving in the spring sunshine.

My miserable cold is also thriving; preventing meetings and phone calls for the week.  It’s so far immune to anything Boots can throw at it, so I’ve squirreled myself away to peck at DSC00444 (1039x1300)fundraising, end of quarter financials, and shareholder letters.

It’s a good chance to live a quiet life for the week, catching up on Coursera lectures (Algorithms and EU Law), Masterchef and House of Cards.  Back in the US, it’s tax time, and the WSJ Expat had a very good, very sobering article on the tax traps that can catch US citizens working overseas.  Once again, it’s worth hiring experienced help when you set up and when you operate transnationally in order to avoid expensive omissions. 

The UK government also started nosing around whether I needed to start participating in the National Insurance program now that I have my Indefinite Leave.  Most of my income redirects to the Netherlands (where I pay health insurance and pension tax premiums monthly there), so I didn’t meet the £8060 threshold for needing to sign up locally.

Lyman Stone posted a wonderful bit of research over on Medium, asking how many Americans are actually leaving the country to work or live abroad, and where they are going.  The US government doesn’t track these movements well, being much more focused on immigration, and the net outward migration is around 1%  of  the US population.

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No surprisingly, most emigrate to Mexico, the UK, Europe and Canada.  In many countries with smaller populations, US-born residents end up being a significant minority within the population (a greater impact in Norway, for example).

He notes that migrants form cohesive communities of fellow nationals, and their home countries develop policies  to encourage philanthropy, money transfers, investment, travel, and political advocacy in developed-nation capitols...France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Portugal all actively engage with their diaspora populations, maintaining official counts and often trying to bring them “home.” 

This is not the case in the United States, unfortunately.  Its left to groups like the ACA and the ABC.  On the plus side, we don’t lose voting rights after prolonged expatriation like the British do.

Furthermore, given that the US-born diaspora is one of the most widely dispersed diaspora in the world, the United States will face growing pressures to maintain a global diplomatic and security presence.The United States is in a position of managing a diaspora spread through over 100 countries. Commonly enough, Americans view the rest of the world as the rest of the world’s problem. Unfortunately, in an increasingly globalized world, that attitude will lead to disastrously bad policy for Americans abroad.

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