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The HSBC Expat Explorer survey provides insights each year into the life of expats around the world and highlights the locations that expats love. Overall expats are very positive about the experience and there are lifestyle as well as financial benefits.
The economic drivers for moving abroad are highlighted with expats globally having an average gross personal income of just under US$100,000 and earning on average 25% more than they did at home. Switzerland and the Gulf states consistently top the list for those seeking a greater income.
Globally 52% of expats indicate that they can save more money than they did in their home country and 57% have more disposable income.
They also have a broader outlook on economic issues 31% pointing to global economic and 29% pointing to global political issues as their greatest worry. This is slightly ahead of concerns about the economic (29%) and political (27%) climate in their host country.
The time expats have spent and intend to spend abroad is a strong influence on expat attitudes to money management and the survey concludes:
‘Short-term expats are more likely than others to have most of their wealth in their home country, and serial expats – who are more likely to have wealth that requires management – tend to be invested in both their host and home country. With a more nomadic lifestyle, they have a clear need for a global banking relationship as well as a local one to comprehensively support their more complex wealth management needs.’
Property ownership is high amongst expats with 62% of expats owning a property somewhere in the world and 9% owning property in both their host and home country. 37% of expats own property in the country they live in and 32% own property in their home country.
Property ownership is especially important to British expats. 75% of them own a property (placing them third behind Sri Lankans and Egyptians), which is higher than those remaining in the UK where 64% of the adult population own property in the UK.
It is not just the financial benefits that make the expat life a positive experience with 41% saying that the move has given them a more positive outlook on life in general. 22% of expats moved abroad to improve the earnings and 26% did so to improve their job prospects. However, other factors seem to be more important as 38% moved for a new challenge and 34% to improve their quality of life.
Settling in does not seem to be a major issue with 58% taking less than a year to settle in and 20% feeling at home almost immediately. New Zealand topped the table in terms of their experience in their new country, topping both the table for ease of settling up and how easy it is to integrate with the local people. Spain, second overall in the experience table, topped the rankings for the expat’s lifestyle and quality of life.
Having made the move most are happy to stay with only 15% considering leaving their new country ahead of schedule. 53% of expats consider themselves to have a better work/life balance and 52% feel that they have a better quality of life. Material benefits are a factor as 42% take more holiday than they did at home, 39% live in a better home and 25% drive a better car. 44% say they are more active than they were at home and 39% say that they have experienced an improvement in their physical health.
Those with family are very positive. 56% of those moving with family would not have done anything differently and only 4% say it would have been better to have left them in their home country even though 58% report that the cost of raising a family overseas is higher than in their home country.
The longer children are away from their home country the greater the benefits, backing up research on ‘third culture kids’. 24% of all parents report that that the confidence and self-reliance improved as a result of the move. 61% of expat children who have made serial moves were thought to be more open to new experiences and cultures by their parents, compared with 50% of short tenure first-timers. 54% of expat children who have spent a long period abroad are fluent in more than one language compared with 42% of those abroad for the first time and for a short period.
School choices plays a part in shaping children’s expat experience. 65% of expat parents whose children
attend an international school believe their child is more open to new experiences and cultures as a result of the move abroad compared with 55% of those whose children attend other types of schools there.
The age of children can have a big impact with 41% of expat parents with children aged 11 or older saying they found making new friends difficult, compared with 26% of those with children aged four or under. 24% of those with children aged 11 or over say they would have made the move earlier if they could go back and do things differently.
The survey reports that retired expats in Europe have a very positive experience. 55% feel happier since moving abroad. 42% of expats in Portugal are retired (against 11% globally) and 96% of them rated Portugal as a good or very good place to retire to. They are drawn by the climate (79%), lower cost of living (72%) and the lifestyle (57%).
Those retiring to France emphasise the lifestyle with 71% pointing to this as the motivation to move there. Healthcare standards are another factor with 58% pointing to this as a reason.
There are clear issues when people return home. 81% of expats repatriating experienced at least one issue as a result. 53% missed their life abroad and 47% of female expats and 39% of male expats felt that they no longer ‘fitted in’. Money is rarely the reason for moving home with only 4% pointing to financial reasons as the main reason for their return and 29% of those who did return found the cost of living a challenge. Personal or family reasons are cited more than any other (32%), but 28% point to the end of their secondment and 20% to career progression.
Airswift and Energy Jobline have launched the second annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), the energy recruitment and employment trends survey. The report shows a majority expecting increased pay in the next 12 months.
The survey shows the demographic profile of the industry is still dominated by males (90%) and with 49% over 45 and 89% over 35 it is an experienced group.
Despite the difficult years in the oil and gas sector 29% of respondents had seen an increase in their pay in the last 12 months. Most are positive about the future with 52% expecting their pay to increase in the next 12 months and this seems to be supported by hiring managers with 49% expecting an increase.
“Challenges in the market over recent years have led a number of professionals to seek the perceived security of full-time roles – sometimes even at the cost of lower salaries than they might otherwise expect,” said Hannah Peet, Managing Director at Energy Jobline. “But now that the market is stabilising, oil and gas companies may wish to put a greater emphasis on pay to ensure they retain their talent.”
Workers in the oil and gas sector remain very keen on an international career with 87% willing to relocate to another region for work.
“More than any other sector, oil and gas workers are easily willing and able to move wherever good opportunities lie,” commented Janette Marx, Chief Operating Officer at Airswift.
Peet points to the importance of regional experience “Individuals with experience in various geographies are invaluable. They will have decades of technical experience in different terrains – and that knowledge is virtually impossible to replace.”
With only 52% saying their employers encourage cross-regional transfers, Peet points out “We have a highly mobile workforce that increasingly wants to find new challenges around the world. Companies that can’t offer these international opportunities may lose out on top talent,”
The need to attract top talent is highlighted as a key issue, particularly with the digitalisation in the industry. Workers and hiring managers both put training and development opportunities at the top of the list for the things that are most important if top talent is to be attracted. New tech-based roles or mobilising talent from other sectors require companies to lean more on training to get workers up to speed.
Marx says: “More than half of oil and gas workers are willing to move across sectors – but they will want assurance that training is accessible to help them in areas where they may be less familiar.”
The report points out that if training is essential to attracting new talent, then it is absolutely critical to helping current workers seize the opportunities created by digitalisation.
“Companies have a lot of untapped potential in their current workforce. It’s important that they set up a conducive learning environment to help workers along the automation and digitalisation journey,” said Peet.
This comes in a context where 56% of oil and gas professionals saying they are considering a move to a different sector. Renewables is by far the most likely with 28% saying they are considering a move into this sector and this applies to experienced professionals with workers between 35 and 54 marginally more likely to move than younger workers.
Salini Impregilo has won a contract in Saudi Arabia: a project worth about $1.3 billion in Riyadh with the Saudi Arabia National Guard.
The project includes housing and urban planning on a large scale with the construction of 6,000 villas in an area of 7 million square metres to the east of Riyadh and more than 160 kilometres of main roads and secondary routes and related services, as well as a sewage treatment plant and several water tanks above and below ground. The contract is expected to be completed in five years.
The Middle East, which includes Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, is rich in opportunity for Salini Impregilo, one of the foreign infrastructure groups with the biggest portfolio of contracts by value for large, complex projects in the region. At the global level, the Group has been a leader for the past five years in the water sector and one of the leaders in the transport sector.
This latest contract strengthens Salini Impregilo’s role in the building and transport sectors of Saudi Arabia, which is seen investing $88 billion in infrastructure in the next five years.
The Group, which is present in more than 50 countries, is taking part in the construction of Line 3, or Orange Line, of the Riyadh metro system. At 41.58 kilometres, the line will be the longest in the system. Last April, Salini Impregilo won a $300 million contract to build the Al Faisaliah District Redevelopment for the Al Khozama Management Company, which specialises in the development and management of commercial, luxury and hotel real estate. With Fisia Italimpianti, which is controlled by the Group, Salini Impregilo won a $255 million contract with ACWA Power to build a desalination plant in the Shuaiba region in Oman.
In the UAE, the Group is building the Meydan One Mall for $435 million, a shopping complex at the heart of a massive urban development plan between Meydan and Al Khail Road in Dubai. It has a $200 million contract in Abu Dhabi to design and build a $200-million, five-kilometre section of a transit way that will cross two islands to connect the Capital District with the Central Business District in the capital of the United Arab Emirates under its 2030 development plan to foster economic growth. With its U.S. subsidiary, Lane Construction, Salini Impregilo is helping with the expansion of the Al Maktoum international airport in Dubai that will eventually serve 220 million passengers per year, making it the biggest by 2050, according to some estimates.
The American dream has been an alluring proposition for investors as the world’s largest economy has the added attractions of the American lifestyle and a range of lifestyles across this vast country.
There are different options for entrepreneurs wanting to move to America depending on the circumstances and whether you are wanting to move there temporarily or permanently and how much you are able to invest.
E-2 INVESTOR VISA
The E-2 Investor Visa is a visa for those who plan to make a substantial investment in a business in the US. Within six to eight weeks the visa allows the holder to establish a business in the US.
Greenwood, Hanlon & Kendrick point out that many ‘wrongly assume that it only applies to aloof millionaires enhancing their investment portfolios across the pond. Instead, the foundations and scope of the E2 visa are much more grounded, allowing entrepreneurs to build and grow small profitable businesses in the United States, reaching an American audience.’
Investment can be in a start-up in the US or can be by buying a majority interest in an existing business. The investment does not have to be in cash and can be by investing goods, equipment or intellectual property.
An increasingly popular consideration for investors who don’t want to build a new business from the ground up, is investing in a pre-existing franchise that gives you the necessary training, support and branding that can often take years to obtain.
By investing in a US franchise and taking an active role in the day-to-day management of the company, you, your spouse and any children under the age of 21 could find that the E-2 Visa an attractive option.
There are a number of requirements for choosing this route that include: the applicant must be a national of a treaty country; a detailed business plan describing how your franchise will be profitable; every franchise is supposed to employ at least two US nationals; and you have an active role in the business
Franchising is huge business in the US and accounts for 18 million jobs, approximately 14% of all private sector employment. The process of investing in a franchise isn’t as complicated as many think, but there are a number of steps that will need to be completed for a successful E-2 application.
Understandably you’ll need to purchase a franchise in order to fulfil the E-2 Visa requirements, but you should also take into consideration what’s best for you, possibly your family and any lifestyle requirements you may have.
You have to find a desirable and qualifying franchise. This stage is arguably the one that takes the most time as you not only have to find available franchising opportunities, but that they’re a solid investment and a viable option.
EB-5 IMMIGRANT INVESTOR PROGRAM
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) administers the EB-5 Program. The EB-5 gives entrepreneurs (as well as their spouses and unmarried children under 21) a green card (permanent residence). In order to qualify:
Make an investment in a commercial enterprise in the US; and
Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers.
The amount to be invested is currently at least $1million unless it is in a Targeted Employment Area (high unemployment or rural area) where the minimum qualifying investment is $500,000. There are, however, provisions currently being considered which might increase this minimum significantly. The investment can be in cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents or secured indebtedness. The security must not be on the assets of the new commercial enterprise.
The jobs must be created directly within the enterprise or indirectly outside as a result of the enterprise. If the investment is in a troubled business (one which has been in existence for at least two years and has made a net loss during the 12 or 24 month period prior to priority date on the form 1-526) the EB-5 may rely on job maintenance.
There is a significant backlog for the EB-5 Program and many have to wait for several years before they are eligible for permanent residence. In addition investors must do what is necessary to remove the conditions on the conditional permanent residence within two years. This is generally used to ensure that the enterprise is successful.
Given the challenges of obtaining an EB-5 it is worth considering other options:
EB-1A Extraordinary Ability – There is no backlog and this petition qualifies for premium processing, which means USCIS will issue a decision within 15 days from filing. USCIS will judge an application as being ‘extraordinary’ if you can demonstrate that you meet three of the listed ten criteria.
EB-2 – National Interest Waiver – Jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. The national interest might include job creation or macroeconomic value.
EB-1C Multinational Manager/Executive – You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.
Standards: America as an enormous market in its own right has generally followed its own standards. The United States and Canada use a 110-120 volt, 60-cycle system rather than the 240 volt standard in the UK and 220 volts in Europe. This means that most electrical equipment will need to be acquired in the US. It is possible to use converters or step-up transformers, but these are not always practical or effective and will not generally be worth the cost or inconvenience.
Mobile phones also traditionally used the CDMA standard rather than the GSM standard which is used in Europe and most of the rest of the world.
The telephone (landline and mobile phones) and internet services in the USA are among the most advanced in the world and the high level of competition helps to keep prices low. Since the AT&T monopoly was ended in 1984 the ‘Baby Bell’s’ have continued to dominate the telephone market, but smaller and regional competitors have developed.
The main providers of phone services will generally offer landline phone plans, mobile phone plans and internet services. It is often worth looking at package options which combine some or all of these services as well as cable or Satellite TV. The main providers are:
There is very wide usage of mobile phones, known as ‘cell phones’ in the US. This is also a very good option when you first arrive in the country. If you have not established credit in the US and do not have a social security number you will need to use a pre-paid plan, but once this has been established you will be able to choose a wide range of plans from a wide range of providers. The major providers are those listed above, but there are other options.
Although GSM is the mobile phone standard used in Europe and most of the world, the US adopted a number of standards with CDMA being the main one. Increasingly GSM is used, but you need to check whether you can use your existing mobile phone with your chosen network.
Installing a Phone Line
In order to have a phone installed you will need to contact one of the local phone providers. You will generally need to provide the following details:
The type of calling plan you require
The social security number of the person to be billed
If you are taking over the number of the previous occupant you will need to provide their name and phone number. There will sometimes be an installation fee. As a new arrival in the US you may have problems getting credit and will have to pay a deposit (which will be returned after you have established a pattern of regular settlement of bills).
In most cities phone lines can be connected in a few days, although it may take longer in more remote areas.
Phones can be rented, but it will generally be better to buy your own phone from any electronics store.
There are many options for connecting to the internet with many Internet service Providers (ISPs). The big Telecomm companies have the largest market share, but there are many smaller providers. High speed internet through DSL, cable and fibre connections are available and the slower dial-up is no longer common.
In the USA driving is an essential part of the culture. This is partly driven by the practicality of getting around in a country so large and partly a function of the lifestyle. In some of the major cities there is an extensive public transport system, but the cities are all served by extensive multi-lane freeways, many of which regularly grind to a slow crawl during busy periods of the day.
Anyone driving in the USA must have a valid driving licence from their home country and some States also require you to have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Contact the motor vehicle department of each state you will drive in for its requirements.
An IDP is not a licence but confirms that you have a valid driving licence from your home country. If you are a short term visitor you may be required to have an IDP and if you are renting a car it is worth checking the requirements. You cannot obtain an IDP in the USA and so you need to obtain one in your home country.
Residents (Non-US citizens)
The requirements for a driving licence are set by each State, but once you have a licence from the State where you are resident it will be valid for driving anywhere in the USA. In most States, the authority responsible for issuing driving licences is called the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV“). In some States, however, it has a different name (eg. in Massachusetts’ Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) or in Tennessee’s Department of Safety (DOS)).
It is worth checking online on the requirements of the State where you will be resident prior to your arrival as you may need to obtain a US driving licence soon after arrival. You can generally download the forms and obtain information to prepare for the driving test before you get there.
The exact requirements vary by State but applications for a driving licence generally require you to take an eye examination, a short test on local driving regulations, and a road test of driving ability. The road test is sometimes waived for those renewing a licence or where they have a valid license from other States or other countries. In some States that waive the requirement for a road test they require a test for those over 75.
The driving licence is valid for up to five years and has the holder’s photograph and personal information such as address, height, weight, and eye colour. The licence will also indicate an restrictions, such as the requirement to use corrective lenses.
The driver’s licence must be carried whenever you are driving. It is also the most commonly used method of proving your identity when travelling on internal flights, seeking credit, cashing a cheque etc.
The minimum age for obtaining a driver’s licence varies by State and ranges from 15 to 18 with around half having 16 as the minimum age.
The USA has the most extensive network of roads in the world with Interstate highways, state highways and secondary roads. Conditions are generally excellent with multi-lane highways in busy areas and even local roads are often very broad. Limited State budgets and winter conditions, particularly in the North, can mean significant potholes, but generally the roads are well-maintained.
Guidelines for driving in the United States
There are a number of special arrangements when driving in the USA. Driving in the US is on the right side of the road nationwide. You are required to overtake to the left, although overtaking on multi-lane roads is common on both sides.
One of the special arrangements in the US is that in most states you can turn right after stopping at a red light, providing no traffic is immediately oncoming, and there is no sign to the contrary. There is no turn on red in New York City.
Rules are very strict around schools and school buses with 20 mph speed restrictions near schools and drivers must stop when encountering a school bus loading or discharging passengers, even if the bus is on the opposite side of the road.
Drivers must also slow down or stop and pull over to the side when they hear sirens of emergency vehicles.
It is worth checking the complete list of regulations published by the State where you will be resident. These can be obtained free-of-charge from the DMV for each State.
Banking in America provides a wide range of options with different variations on basic checking and savings accounts and with the ability to link accounts. Terms and services vary.
According to Forbes Americas largest banks are:
JP Morgan Chase
Bank of America
Bank of New York Mellon
HSBC North America
PNC Financial Services Group
Capital One Financial Corp
TD Bank US Holding
Following legislation in the 1990s legalising interstate banking there was a consolidation in the banking industry and the repeal of the Glass-Seagal Act removed the separation of investment from retail banking. This reduced the number of smaller local banks, but they are still an option.
Opening A Bank Account
Opening a bank account in America does not normally require a Social security Number so you can open an account before you become resident. You will generally need to provide a passport or a Driver’s License as identification, proof of residence and sometimes a reference will be required. An initial deposit will be required and for some accounts there will be a minimum amount.
A checking account is the primary account giving access to the ability to receive your salary, pay bills, transfer funds and access cash via an ATM. There are, however, a wide range of accounts
Debit or ATM cards enable you to use your own bank’s ATMs free of charge, but a small fee may be charged for using other banks’ ATMs
All of the US banks provide online and telephone banking services and there are some online-only banks.
The terms for US bank accounts vary and it is worth comparing the services and charges to ensure that they meet your likely use of the account. It is also worth checking that they have ATMs in convenient locations to your home and work. You should also check how quickly you will receive your Debit/ATM card so that you can access your funds.
Once you have established your credit (see article – Establishing Credit On Arrival In America) you should establish how long it will take to obtain a credit card. You will need to have a Social Security Number and establish a good record with your bank before they are likely to offer a credit card.
A regular savings account generally pays interest provided you have a minimum balance. They do not normally have any restrictions on withdrawals. You can normally manage them online and at ATMs.
Other options, such as money market accounts can earn higher interest rates, but also have more restrictions, such as limits on withdrawals. Tiered interest rates are generally offered based on the balance on deposit.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), a government agency established in 1933 to protect depositors in the event of a bank failure, provides insurance for bank deposits. Banks pay a fee to the FDIC based on a percentage of total deposits they hold. The FDIC gives a guarantee to depositors to refund any losses in the event of a bank failure up to a maximum of $250,000..
Opening times vary, but most banks open from 9am to 6pm on weekdays and from 9am to 12pm on Saturdays. Cash machines (ATMs) allow cash withdrawals, money transfers and other services 24 hours a day. Internet banking also allows you to access your account, make payments and transfers 24 hours a day.
The consortium led by VINCI Construction (Dodin Campenon Bernard, lead company; VINCI Construction France; VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Botte Fondations), together with Spie batignolles (Spie batignolles Génie Civil and Spie batignolles Fondations), has been awarded a major contract as part of the Grand Paris Express programme. The RATP (1)has selected this consortium to execute works package GC02 of the future Line 14 South between Olympiades (in the 13th arrondissement of Paris) and Orly Airport.
The contract, worth almost €400 million (excluding tax), requires the use of an earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine to excavate a 4.6 km tunnel between Maison Blanche Paris XIII futur station and the TBM starting shaft at Jean Prouvé. It also includes construction of the new Kremlin Bicêtre Hôpital station and five ventilation and emergency shafts. The contract is scheduled to last 72 months.
A large-scale project in an urban environment
The GC02 works package site cuts through Paris, Kremlin Bicêtre, Gentilly, Villejuif and L’Haÿ-les-Roses. It also passes near Kremlin Bicêtre Hospital and the A6 motorway. Integrating the worksite into this environment is a major challenge that has led to numerous consultation meetings being held between the RATP, the Société du Grand Paris (SGP) and all the cities, local authorities and residents involved.
Innovative and ambitious social integration programme
This package’s works will create almost 250 jobs. Significant measures are planned for the integration of around 50 long-term unemployed people, with some 83,000 hours of training and support to be provided over the course of the project. In 2011, VINCI set up ViE (VINCI insertion Emploi), an entity specialising in social and professional integration, to help Group companies with this aspect of their contracts. In addition, the “Chantiers et Territoires Solidaires” endowment fund created by VINCI will support public interest projects implemented in the vicinity of the worksites. Spie batignolles is also strongly committed to facilitating the social and professional integration of marginalised people, notably through its Fondation Spie batignolles.
Line 14 South, the link with Orly Airport
A missing link between central Paris and Orly Airport, the Line 14 South will be used by more than 260,000 residents of Paris and the Val de Marne and Essonne départements. It will provide connections with metro Line 7, Line C of the Paris RER regional express system, Line 7 of the tram system and Lines 15 South and 18 of the Grand Paris Express rapid transit system. It will create a fast link between Paris and Orly Airport, which is essential for 2024 when the city will host the Olympic Games.
VINCI Construction and Spie batignolles, two players already working on major metro projects
VINCI Construction and Spie batignolles are participating in the extension of Lines 4, 12, and 14 of the Paris metro, which is managed by the RATP. In addition, VINCI Construction and Spie batignolles, in a consortium, have won works packages T3C (€926 million) and T2D (€156 million) for Line 15 South of the Grand Paris Express programme, which is managed by the SGP.
• Dodin Campenon Bernard (consortium leader)
• VINCI Construction Grands Projets
• VINCI Construction France
• Botte Fondations
• Spie batignolles génie civil
• Spie batignolles fondations
Programme management: RATP
ELIOS consortium comprising Setec TPI (leader), Systra, Groupe 6, Jean Paul Viguier et Associés, Franklin Azzi Architecture, Brunet Saunier Architecture and Valode & Pistre
Wood wins strategic five-year engineering services contract supporting INPEX in Australia
Wood has been awarded the brownfield engineering services contract for the INPEX-operated Ichthys offshore facilities, located 220 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia and onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing facilities in Darwin, Northern Territory.
Effective immediately, the contract is for five years with a two-year extension option and will be executed from Wood’s offices in Perth, Australia. It includes the delivery of engineering services to support the execution of brownfield works as well as technical support services.
It follows the win of a five-year contract in September 2016, to provide subsea engineering services to support Ichthys LNG.
Robin Watson, Wood’s chief executive said: “We are proud to be offering our diverse capabilities from subsea and topsides to brownfield engineering on this complex project, which has an operational life of at least 40 years.
“Our commitment is to leverage our global brownfield engineering expertise to ensure we deliver innovatively, efficiently and safely.”
Wood delivers comprehensive services to support its customers across the complete lifecycle of their assets, from concept to decommissioning, across a range of energy, process and utility markets. The rich heritage of our founding organisations makes us a respected presence in global industrial markets, combining unrivalled technical knowledge and a drive for outstanding delivery. We have a powerful global network of professionals focused on delivering services, safely and cost-effectively that help our customers get the best from their assets to meet their performance goals.
When considering your options for schools in America, assuming you have decided against a boarding school back home, you will need to decide between American public and private schools and international and foreign-language schools.
International schools generally teach in English and focus on the International Baccalaureate (IB) examination and diploma. The advantage of this option is that it is easier to reintegrate your child to the UK or other system and is better matched to the entry requirements to universities outside America.
There are also specialist foreign language schools that enable foreign students to learn in their own language and follow the same education system as they would do at home. The advantage is easier reintegration when the family repatriates home and may be especially appropriate where the stay in America is fairly brief or where children are at a critical stage of their education. This option is only available in some major cities in some areas of the US.
Placing your child in the American school system allows you to take advantage of their system, gives them a new cultural experience, which can have long term advantages in their development and can help to integrate them with American children helping them to settle in to their new life. If English is a foreign language then attending an American school can help the child to becoming fluent in English more quickly (some schools offer English as a Second Language courses).
Schools in America are structured with Elementary Schools, followed by Middle School and then High School. Children start school between age five and six and compulsory education continues until 16 or 18. Although it varies between different states, children move on to Middle School at around 10. High School generally starts in Grade 9 or Grade 10 so that children are between 14 and 15. After Grade 12, students move on to further education at a college or university.
The school calendar usually begins in August or September and continues through May or June.
Education is compulsory in America and this applies to children of foreign nationals if they are resident in the US for one year or longer. The states rather than the federal government set the specific requirements, so they vary from state to state.
In addition to the public school system of free education there are church-sponsored and other private schools that charge fees.
The US Department of Education has created a search tool to help you to find a list of available schools where you plan to live by state, city and zip code. This can be found at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website. There are also many agencies set up to help you to find the right school for your children, such as School Search Solutions. You can access some free information, but there may also be fees for a full service.
If looking at private schools, associations like the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) can be a good source of information on the available schools in your area or there are several online guides. There are many options with day and boarding schools available.