10 Expat Countries That Aren’t So Great
Expats often retire to different countries for different reasons. Whether you’re trying to make millions in Hong Kong, team up with anime enthusiasts in Japan or just get away from the hustle and bustle, there’s a lot of choices out there.
Currently it’s estimated that at least 2.2 million Americans are living as expats and enjoy that lifestyle, and most wouldn’t want it to be any different. But living as an expat isn’t all nice and green, as it’s claimed to be.
Numerous expat destinations are often sinister and have a darker side. While living as an expat can be a dream, getting spun into their sinister plans could become a nightmare! If you plan on expat lifestyle, here are few countries you should stay away from.
1.Japan – Beware of the Justice System that Relies on Coerced Confessions
Japan’s Homicide rate is a measly 0.3 every 100,000, which is considerably lower than 4.7 in America. Terrorism is almost nil here, and only 12 people were shot in 2013, and only 3 in 2012. While all this looks like Japan is a nonviolent, safe haven, it’s one place where the police force is brutal at best and any issues with the law will leave you begging for death!
Suspects are often treated brutally, tables are rammed into them and threatened mercilessly, and left sleep deprived. Staying silent is considered the same as accepting guilt!
On the other hand, the only way to escape the merciless onslaught is signing a confession, which can’t be retracted later – this means, they’re sentenced based on their confession. According to an estimate, at least 10% of those facing jail sentences aren’t guilty and yet, the government doesn’t want to reopen their cases!
If you have Japan on your list – think again!
2.Thailand – Do You Really Want to be Jailed for Insulting The King’s Dog?
Considered as one of East Asia’s paradises with attractive women, low cost of living and enjoyable weather, Thailand is all that and more. Only the more isn’t so nice – you can be jailed for a decade if you insult the King’s dog!
A step back to medieval times? Well, it may as well be, if Thailand is your destination of choice! Thailand can puts Royalty-loving British to shame, with their unshakeable loyalty to the crown!
Did you know there are strict laws that hand down severe penalties for insulting or even criticizing the royals? Post 2014, the laws have been expanded to include the royal pets!
In December 2015, Thanakorn Siripaiboon was presented and charged guilty for a “sarcastic” comment online about the king’s dog, named Copper. Of course, these laws are for foreigners too! In 2007, a Swiss expatriate was sent to jail for a decade because he spray-painted the king’s picture. Even the present US ambassador, Glyn Davies, is now being investigated because he criticized such “dumb” laws.
3.Vietnam – Brutal Laws on Drugs
Vietnam has fairly relaxed drug laws on the surface. You aren’t prosecuted for carrying drugs like other countries here, but rather, sent to rehabilitation centers for curing addiction. Doesn’t that sound impressive? Not!
In reality, these so called “rehabilitation centers” are forced labor camps that are run brutally. People who are sent here are tortured and made to work unbearably long hours making private company products and missing work hours means they’re beaten mercilessly.
Even if you show up, some guards just want to smash your face with their fist and you can’t do anything. It’s worse than a prison and some are held like that for years without any hope of glimpsing sunlight! That’s why inmates often execute violet breakouts here.
4.Italy – Lose Your Money to Taxes
Italy is known as a perfect country with world-class culture and pleasant weather. Not many know that it’s featured on the list of worst countries for expatriates – thanks to high taxes. The tax rate is very high and is often crippling.
It’s highest amongst all of the G20 nations and even high-income earners can barely expect to take a little more than half of their salary! That’s not all. Expats here have to declare their overseas assets and the fines are heavy if you miss / forget anything, as it’s considered intended non-disclosure.
5.India – Traffic to Die For
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a 2011 movie had many turning their eyes to India. It’s a story about British retirees moving to India and enjoying their time with hearty adventures. However, did you know that India has a high traffic death rate? According to data WHO collected, in the year 2009, 105,725 lives succumbed to fatal traffic accidents.
If you aren’t worried about lying dead on the road, or encountering a life altering experience due to an on-road collision, heading to India is OK. Did you know the maximum penalty for killing someone in an accident when caught is just $780 and a year imprisonment at most? Even Driver’s Licenses aren’t suspended for a first offense. Crazy, right?
6.Nicaragua – Endemic Corruption
Nicaragua is a hotspot for expats and coupled with the many benefits foreigners are offered, it’s busy throughout the year. The place is scenic, with warm weather and a great cost of living. Any complaints? Apparently, not!
Transparency International says Nicaragua is one of the most corrupt societies in America. In 2014 their ranking was 133 out of 175 countries, just one spot above Russia. Haiti and Venezuela also scored poorly in Latin America and no one retires there.
Though corruption here doesn’t affect foreigners, residents are often left bearing the brunt. Most of them will have a story about being hassled by policemen for bribes or having had to bribe just to get simple things done here. Even so, many still head there, with views to die for, who can blame them?
7.Singapore – Insanely Strict Laws
Singapore, though a small island country, is known as one of the safest and cleanest nations. It’s a top pick for expats who want to make money. Even so, wealth creation opportunities and the cleanliness don’t come cheap. The government here has notoriously strict laws regarding cleanliness – probably understandable considering many countries can be filthy at best.
Spitting or littering is fined, as are throwing away cigarette buds or chewing gum. These fines don’t exempt expats or foreigners and littering can attract a fine of up to $1000! Urinating in public places like an elevator? Perpetrators can be arrested! Needless to say these practices are disgusting but the fines are ridiculously high.
Did you know failing to flush public toilets after use can land you a fine of $150? Some of you are probably thinking that’s not so bad…lol.
8.Britain – Unaffordable at Best!
Scenic hills, attractive villages and a busy capital, Britain has got everything going for it in the looks and money department, besides offering the appeal of a safe haven for expats. There’s Royalty, tea, food and what not! But it’s not what it seems – for most people it’s just completely unaffordable to live in the UK.
The UK is faced with a bad housing bubble, thanks to the Chinese, Russians and Saudis, who are rich, and sink their money into properties throughout London. This makes buying a property anywhere in this country nearly impossible with exorbitantly high costs.
The average British wages are £26,500 ($40,200) / year, which means, Wales or England would be out of their budget. Even with a 20 – 30% hike over the average estimation wouldn’t make much of difference, which means, buying a property is out of reach for more than 29%. Expats are often around London, so the chances for them are slim.
9.Dubai – Insane Drug Laws
Dubai is touted as a fairly liberal commercial capital. Common sense dictates not to do anything with drugs when you’re in a foreign country. If that country is Dubai, you shouldn’t even think or read about drugs! That’s because the laws in Dubai are quite different and even without breaking any laws, you can still get muddled up with legal problems here.
Anywhere in the UAE, authorities check the blood of anyone entering the country and even traces of drugs in your blood can be counted as drug possession here. This means, you might be handed a mandatory sentence of 4 years. Even better, drugs in the UAE don’t include only drugs! It could be herbal spice or even your prescribed painkillers!
Back in 2005, a British woman was held on drug charges when it was actually her pain medication that was prescribed for her and showed up in a random screening. So, it’s not just banned substance that counts as drugs here.
Did you know that a Swiss national was once jailed when he had about 3 poppy seeds on his shirt that fell from the bread served on his flight?
10.China – Pollution at it’s Worst!
China is developing as a superpower and is one of American’s dream destinations, as much as it is for Europeans. So, what’s the problem when there’s money to be made here? China’s air is one of the most polluted in the world and if you don’t want to die, you’re better off staying away from Beijing!
Though we’ve seen how polluted China has become, the reality of it became very clear when the WHO announced that China hit a pollution level that was 50 times over the safety limit in November 2015. Even China’s very own news agency that hardly criticizes anything about their country said it was “doomsday” and some outlets described the announcement as “airpocalypse.”
In December Beijing had to shut down after issuing red alerts complete with air raid sirens, after the smog hit Beijing. Offices and schools were shut immediately and millions were left stranded. According to a study result published in 2015 by PLOS, a scientific journal, at least 1.6 million people die in China annually due to pollution. This works out to 4400 every day!
If you’re still tempted to move there, carry a gas mask and hope it helps!