Expats Are Coming Home… Foreign Expats Are Going Home. To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn.

Jessica Lee Uncategorized

So there's an outflux of talent happening stateside, says this article in Workforce. Foreign expat workers are returning home because to paraphrase (maybe exaggerate, a little…), it's the pits here. There's the lack of visas and greencards. Oh, and there's also the lack of jobs. And what some are saying is that the outflux, and therefore shortage of talent itself, isn't even the scary part. What should scare you is that we've yet to see the impact of it. When the next Google launches and it's an India or China based company, we'll all sit back then and say… Oh snap! Shoulda paid attention to that post I saw on Fistful of Talent a few years ago… wink, wink. 

Coming_to_america Meanwhile, our own expats are returning home as well. And welcome home, I say, to some of my friends. You've been globetrotting and living lavishly abroad – and I've missed you! I'm glad you're back here facing reality: no more expensive, fully furnished condo in a swanky neighborhood. No driver taking you to and fro. No deep expense account for your dry cleaning and fancy meal. No housekeeper coming to your fully-paid pad to clean up after you. Welcome home and welcome back to reality.

Okay, so some of the stereotypical expat good life started to wane even before the
recession. But really, it's not out of passive aggression that I say welcome home to my expat pals. I'm really not jealous. The truth is, we need you back. Because, believe it or not, this swapping of expats is all quite actually really good news to me. Foreign expats going back home. Our expats coming home. And when the dust settles? I'm hoping we get some good competition going.

Sure, there are many foreign expats are going back to their home countries with toolboxes full – really full – of skills and biz savvy that can be translated on their home turf into something good, and probably something innovative. But fear not. Because who's come home? Some of our very best and brightest. Our expats returning home to the US – these are no dummies. It's some of our cream of the crop. And sure, for many, we may have brought you home because of the downturn and all those costs associated with expat assignments, but the important thing is, you're back. And there's some serious work that can be done on the home turf. 

So while some may worry about the potentially crazy-scary innovations that may result in other countries because of foreign expats leaving the US, I can't help but to wonder, maybe this is exactly the kind of kick in the pants we need to get moving towards doing something different and new – and with our own expats now home to make some of that happen.

Now before this begins to sounds way too nationalistic and us versus them… I'm of the mindset that competition is healthy for spurring innovation globally. A little innovation here, a little innovation there, I'm totally happy with everyone winning as a result of this. And the reality is, soon the tides will turn again. We'll send our own soon to be expats to
other, different countries (with drastically different pay and benefits packages, I
think, that are more localized and less expensive)… and our doors may open back up a little wider with newer and different opportunities for expats from other, different countries to help fill the new, different voids we have. And then back and
forth we'll go… it's going to be turn, turn, turn. 

And this isn't a bad thing at all, I think.