The Future of Expats, post the Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus or COVID-19 has become the most talked topic across the world. Within a span of just over three months this virus has infected people around 203 countries and territories. With 955,000 people infected already and more than 48,000 deaths, this disease has been declared as Pandemic by WHO.

The main source of coronavirus is believed to be the wet market in Wuhan (a city in Chain) which sells both dead and live animals and birds. Such places are prone to be at risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans. This area is densely packed and hygiene standards are not maintained.

The virus which originated from China is now spreading at an alarming rate throughout the world. 

India is also seeing the rise in the infected person day by day. As of today there are 2000+ infected cases. The Indian government has taken up all the necessary measures to cut the rapid spreading of the virus. India is on a country-wide lockdown for 21 days till 14th April. All the International Airports are closed and all the international flights are canceled. 

Expats in India: India is no doubt an Expat destination. At present, the number of ex-pats living in India is believed to be between 20,000 to 30,000. Though this is not a huge number compared to other countries like the US, UK or China, this number is going to increase on a yearly basis. India is now one of the Frontrunners in many fields like IT, Technology, Automobile, and eCommerce. 

Many ex-pats who have returned to their countries are highly unlikely to return back to India even after this crisis period. Reports say that a majority of 7,000 executives from various sectors are unlikely to return from China. Chinese ex-pats working in India are now back in China because of this COVID-19 outbreak.

These Chinese ex-pats were working in various different sectors like electronics, automobiles, eCommerce and mobile phones in cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Gurgaon, and others. The majority of them had gone home during the Chinese New Year at the end of January coincided with the COVID-19 outbreak beginning in China. It is not just China being the epicenter for the outbreak of CoronaVirus, but it is the fear of psychosis which is putting them in trouble.

India has canceled all the Visas till April 15th. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has said that all existing visas issued to nationals of any country will stand suspended till April 15th. Even Indian nationals living outside the country are discouraged to travel to India. And on the return are subject to quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days.

This kind of restriction is enforced even across Europe. The European Commission has put a ban on all non-essential travels and closed the borders with other countries. 

Future of Expats: With such stringent measures being followed across the globe, and India is no exception for this, the future of expatriates looks quite dull. 

  • With the everyday rise in the Corona outbreak, the number of infected persons is increasing at an alarming rate. On average every day, there are more than 50,000 persons getting infected across the globe. The only mantra chanted by all is ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’.
  • With the international flights being canceled and borders getting closed, traveling to a different country for work seems to be impossible in the near future
  • CoronaVirus has been termed as Pandemic by WHO. And in the maximum number of cases, the spread is from a person who has traveled back from a foreign country. 
  • Countries are looking out for new ways of working. Work from Home has become quite common in all the IT companies. Even the G20 summit has been planned via Video Conferencing. These new technology trends might reduce the Expats from flying to other countries in the near future.

Global Economy Impact: With almost a month now, most of the countries have gone to the lock downstate. All the citizens are asked to stay at home as much as possible. Only the essential commodities are made available. Major industries and financial centers have closed down. The World is moving towards another major economic crisis now. IMF has already forecast a recession for the global economy in 2020.

As per the reports from Acute Rating and Research Ltd., the unprecedented nationwide lockdown will cost the Indian economy almost USD 4.64 billion every day. The lockdown has shut the businesses, suspended flights and stopped all modes of transport. The entire 21-day lockdown will result in the loss of GDP of almost USD 98 billion !!

Stocks of all major companies have gone down. The Stock market across all major countries are in a very bad situation. Investors are not pumping money into any sectors, as there is a lot of uncertainty with the given conditions.

Travel, Tourism, Finance, Hotels and real estate are few of the sectors which are affected the most because of this outrage. Many companies have gone to the firing mode. They are planning to reduce their workforce. British Airways has recently announced that it is going to suspend 36,000 employees. Emirates is under huge financial losses. MakeMyTrip, BookMyShow are few other online Apps that are suffering huge losses. 

All the new Startup plans have been put on hold now. Either the Sponsors are not ready to take the risk in such situations or there are no needed resources available to support.

We are still far away to see the light on the horizon. This might take months or even years for a few of the countries to come to normalcy. 

This will have a direct impact on the Expats. The demand for any foreign labor/employee will be reduced. Preference will be more to keep the locals employed and reduce travel or have any outsiders to come and work. 

Even the Expats would think over a hundred times to travel to India or any other country in such crisis time. 

‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ – the new slogan to stay safe and prevent the CoronaVirus from spreading. Even though it impacts on the Expats at this stage, this is the only best option available.  Better to explore the new age technological options like Video Conferencing and apps like Zoom to keep in touch and work remotely !!

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