Giving Expats Voting Rights, Losing an Australian Visa, and the First Week of Spring

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on March 23, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

Happy first week of spring…for some of you, anyway.

We have a lot of springtime news this week, including traditions from around the world to celebrate the coming of warmer weather. Also, continue reading for an update on a Canadian hearing on whether or not long-term Canadian expats should be able to vote in Canada while they are away.

This week, we also explore how the Australian government has eliminated one of its most popular work visas and which countries are best for expats looking for a friendly local community.


What Do You Mean I Can’t Vote?

Will expats soon be able to vote in Canada?

The Supreme Court of Canada is currently holding a hearing to decide whether or not Canadians living abroad long-term should be able to vote in Canadian elections. The question has been risen by those who believe that voting restrictions for those who live abroad devalue the citizenship of those Canadian expats. Since 1993, Canadians living abroad for more than five years cannot cast a ballot.

Those who oppose the current law say that citizenship, not residency, is what grants voting rights. In 2014, two Canadians living in the U.S. took legal action after being denied the right to vote in the 2011 election. They initially won, but the government soon appealed the ruling.

What will happen? Stay tuned for what’s to come.


Spring has Finally Arrived!

Now that winter is coming to an end for many locations all over the globe, people are preparing for warmer weather, longer days, spring rain, and much more. I’m excited to enjoy all of this. In anticipation, and to recognize the first week of spring, I did some research and found how various regions celebrate the coming of spring. Here are some of my favorites:

Poland– To mark the first day of spring, people of Poland participate in a 16th-century tradition called the Drowning of Marzanna. Dolls made from straw, who symbolize the cold and sadness of winter, are paraded through the streets and then thrown into the river to celebrate the “death of winter.”

India– In late February or early March, India celebrates Holi, a festival for the triumph of good over bad. Originated as a Hindu tradition, Holi is a cultural experience that is now celebrated in many parts of the world. People participate in bonfires and parties the night before, and the next day they have a giant color-fight in the streets, throwing dyed powder at each other.

Japan– I think this is my favorite springtime tradition that I’ve read about. The Japanese festival of Hanami sounds spectacular. The cherry blossom festival is a world famous spectacle that takes place from March to early May, where people enjoy parties and picnics under the beautiful trees. This tradition has been around for centuries.


Why Would Australia Get Rid of Their Most Popular Visa?

The Australian government has chosen to get rid of one of the most popular routes to the country. The subclass 457 visa for skilled overseas workers was once a widely used visa for trained workers to start their new lives. Instead, the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa was introduced on March 18 to take its place. The 457 visa was popular among the Indian community.

Though the new visa option will still allow overseas workers into the country, those who were looking to gain permanent residency may be having a harder time, since it will be more restrictive. That’s not the only negative difference between the two visas.

There is also an added minimum work experience of two years, making it more challenging for some younger foreigners to obtain the visa. This shift will lower the number of overseas jobs, since the government wants sponsoring companies to contribute to the Australian Skilling Fund, costing them 1,200 Australian dollars per employee per year. Also, with the TSS visa, the maximum duration has been lowered from four years to two years.


Feel Welcome in Your New Home

Expat Insider holds a yearly survey that asks 1,300 expats of 166 nationalities from 188 countries or territories about different aspects of living abroad. There are 43 different aspects that survey participants are asked to rank on a scale of 1-7. Here is what Expat Insider has found to be the top 7 countries for expat residency:

  1. Portugal– Portugal was ranked highest for having friendly locals that are welcoming to expats. 94% of expats living here say they are satisfied with the local attitudes and lifestyle.
  2. Taiwan– A third of the survey takers in Taiwan said that they would stay here forever if they could!
  3. Mexico– 73% said that the friendly community made it easy to feel welcome and make friends.
  4. Cambodia– 92% of the survey takers said that they feel right at home when arriving in Cambodia.
  5. Bahrain– Ranked highly for being an easy place to live without learning the local language and friendly community.
  6. Costa Rica– Ranked as the best country to make friends, due to a hospitable local community.
  7. Oman– Oman also has friendly locals, making for an easy transition.


Don’t Forget Gold!

When is the last time you thought about buying gold? If it has been a while, maybe it’s time to start thinking about it again Consumer Resource Guide– it’s as valuable and easy to buy as ever. Gold is the most popular of the precious metal investments. It has historically held its value, which can’t be said about all other forms of paper currency, coins, or other assets. If you want to keep your wealth from one generation to the next, choose gold.

Keep reading below to hear Erin Fischer explain why you should still be buying gold, and she’ll even point you in the right direction when you are ready to buy!


Thank you for reading this week’s round-up! If you’re interested in learning what it’s like to expatriate, don’t hesitate to ask some questions. At Escape Artist, we aim to ensure that your travels abroad run as smoothly as they can.

Whether you are planning on living, working, retiring, or investing overseas, Escape Artist can help you every step of the way. Don’t forget to check out the eBook store for the 2018 Expat Tax Guide and our wonderful country guides!

For more information on what’s going on in the international scene, check out some of this week’s newest articles!

P.S. Do you have questions about how to live abroad and what the experience is like? Are you looking for international investments? Want to meet like-minded people who are in the same boat as you? Come hang out with other EA readers and the Escape Artist staff! We will be hosting an event this year and can’t wait to meet you!

Click here to find out more information and to stay in the loop on locations and dates! It’s important that this event be exactly what YOU want – no alternate agenda or product pitches! This is about answering YOUR questions!

In order for the event to be a success, take a second to fill out this survey. By sending us your thoughts, you can tailor the event to your specific overseas needs. We will also be supplying a 10% discount during registration to everyone that filled out the survey to make the event possible! 

See you there!

Only the Best for Your Gold
By Erin Fischer

You’re doing your precious metals a disservice right now. More on that in a bit. First, let’s touch on why gold is currently available at a surprising discount…

In recent weeks, gold prices and premiums have been situated particularly low, considering the volatile markets should be giving gold a boost. Despite looming threats of President Trump’s trade war, deficit spending along with December’s tax cuts, and plummeting equities, the gold price has been relatively unaffected by these changes.

As of late, gold prices seem to be held in place by a relatively stronger dollar and looming uncertainty. In this respect, gold is serving its role in your portfolio as a hedge against the unknown. While the gold price got a short-lived safe haven boost following the resignation of Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn and the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a moderately stronger dollar seems to be keeping the yellow metal from making further increases—but many experts believe the market is slowly starting to turn.

There are signs the excess production and tired liquidation from the previous gold bull is becoming fully absorbed into the market. Once that happens, new price increases will lead to buying…not selling. That’s when the next bull market in gold gets going.

Further, for several months now, gold has been nearing peak production, which means gold production may have reached the highest levels it ever will. If this proves true, gold prices and premiums will only continue to expand from their current levels as supply decreases. But if you’re considering adding gold to your portfolio at these discounted levels, you’ll want to consider putting away your gold someplace safe…

Acquire and Secure Your Gold While You Can

In our 35 years of business, we can’t begin to recall the number of clients whose precious metals stored at home were lost to theft, natural disaster, or just plain forgetfulness. While some cases were very minor, others resulted in clients losing thousands—or even being tortured for the location of their metals. Yes, that actually happened.

You’re smart, so obviously you want to keep some physical metal at home in case of an emergency, but how many times have you actually had a crisis that made it necessary to have all of your metals immediately? For most of us, the answer to that question is never.

Just like it’s important to diversify and protect your portfolio with overseas real estate, you should also consider diversifying your metals by storing them away from home in a safe location outside the United States. As an offshore investor, you probably already know your assets are much safer stored with a credible third-party facility unaffiliated with the U.S. government. (Preferably, one that isn’t a bank—look to the Cyprus banking crisis to be convinced why you shouldn’t store your metals with a government-regulated bank.)

So, back to that disservice to your precious metals. Even if your holdings are stored with a credible third-party facility, you could still be getting more from your metals.

How Can I Get More from My Metals?

Besides the security of entrusting a reliable facility with one of your most valuable investments, you probably choose to store your metals with someone else based on two factors: cost and ease of access.

You likely spent months or years saving your hard-earned money to invest in precious metals. The last thing you want to do is pay hundreds or even thousands more just to keep your metals safe. If you’re going to spend money, it should be going toward gold or silver!

When ASI and world-renowned Perth Mint teamed up to introduce our newest platform for investing in precious metals, we wanted to make investing just that—investing, not unnecessary spending! With this platform, you can invest in precious metals at some of the lowest rates in the industry—but with even more benefits than ever seen before…

As mentioned earlier, ease of access is essential. Why pay for something if you can’t tailor it to your needs? In this 21st century world of instant access to everything, you may want a little more from your investment. You can access your bank account online, so why not be able to do the same with your precious metals? Pssst… We’re letting you in on a secret—you actually can…

Picture this: you just landed in Panama for a visit to your second home, and on your smartphone, you get an alert that the price of gold just went up $20. Since you’re sitting on a good amount of gold, you want to liquidate some of your holdings while the price is up. But obviously, you’re nowhere near home – and while it may be 9am in Panama, it definitely isn’t back in the States… Not a problem!


With the new Perth Mint Depository Distributor Online (PMDDO), you can now buy and sell precious metals 24/7 online from any device, get live portfolio valuations, and even arrange a monthly gold and silver savings plan—all for a minimum investment of just $50! Investing with PMDDO is simply one of the most cost-effective ways to invest in precious metals, with premiums as low as 0.2%. And all of your metals—including unallocated metals—are 100% backed with comprehensively insured physical metals—a feature that many other facilities can’t offer!

So, if you get the urge to buy into gold while the spot price is down (even if you’re vacationing in Panama), ASI and the Perth Mint can help you do just that. Plus, you can even get FREE storage* for your metals—making it easier than ever before to start investing in precious metals! To give your portfolio the security and convenience only the Perth Mint can provide, please call us at 800-831-0007 or click below to open your FREE account.

open account

*Free storage is available for unallocated gold, silver, and platinum.


Corozal Town is located in the northernmost district of Belize, the Corozal District. The town itself offers a laid-back, slower lifestyle than many bigger, busier cities or tourist-filled locations. Its proximity to the Mexican border, and the Mexican city of Chetumal, makes it a great place for duty-free shopping. It also means that the bustling city life is just a short trip away for those who begin to miss it.

What Corozal has to offer is a simple life off the beaten path, and North American retirees are becoming increasingly aware of this, which is why there are now hundreds of retired expats living there. This means that not only is the lifestyle calm and quiet, but there are plenty of social activities among the expat community as well, so calm and quiet does not have to be boring.

About Corozal

The town of Corozal itself (the capital town of the Corozal District) has a population of just under 10,000 inhabitants. It has…

Read more…


People move abroad for many reasons. Sometimes a job takes them there, other times it’s a relationship that makes one decide to pack up and move overseas. Regardless of motivation, unless you’re retired, you’ll likely need to find a job to support yourself in your new home. And unless you plan on border-hopping every three months to prolong your tourist visa, you’ll need some permanent roots and the legal documentation to do so. While many countries offer enticing incentives for being an expat, consider Portugal at the top of your list. Portugal’s residency program is one of the most…

Read more…


Portugal…the first maritime global superpower and the oldest nation-state in Europe. With beautiful landscapes, intoxicating culture, world-renowned cities, and delicious food, it’s easy to see why Portugal is one of the best countries to retire abroad in. And yet, it still feels like the area is a hidden gem among the expat retirement world, floating just under the surface of being too touristy and too expensive – a win/win for those in the know.

Location, Location, Location

Portugal’s location on the map makes it a perfect storm as a retirement abroad destination. As the easternmost country in continental Europe, Portugal is the…

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In Costa Rica, there are several forms of residency options from which to choose. The process is done through the General Directorate of Immigration and Nationality, more commonly referred to as Migracion. You’ll be required to have all of your important documents on hand (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.) and a criminal background check will be required as well. Get yours from the FBI to avoid any unnecessary hassles, as Migracion only sometimes accepts state background checks. All of this is necessary no matter what kind of residency in Costa Rica you’re looking to gain, but the rest is up to you. Here are the four different residency options for Costa Rica and what you need to know about them.


The pensionado program is for anyone who’s already retired and receiving a pension. The income requirement is that you…

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As one of the friendliest, safest, and politically stable countries in Latin America, there’s no question why people are rushing to move to Costa Rica. Not only is the country beautiful, with a variety of fun to be had, it’s also financially sound, making Costa Rica a great country for investment.

Every time I’ve looked into Costa Rica as an investment option, or even a retirement destination, every source seems to note the political stability of the country. There is no unrest, riots, or protests like in many Central American countries. This not only makes Costa Rica a good place to invest, but a good place to seek residency as well.

As Costa Rica’s main trading partner, the United States makes up about 40% of the country’s total imports. The country has strong…

Read more…

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on March 23, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.