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‘I just want to go home’ — how Covid-19 changed expat life

Last month Tara and her family moved into a new home in rural Dorset after 12 years as expats in Singapore. Her banker husband had got a job back in the UK and within six weeks she “moved mountains” to extricate themselves from one life and create another — most urgently, a home to rent and school places for their three children.

The lure of the dream expat life had faded, says Tara, 38, who did not want to give her real name.

“Trapped on an island by the draconian quarantine rules meant that ease of travel — one of the main reasons for being there — no longer existed,” she says, referring to the 14-day period that inbound travellers are required to stay in a government-assigned hotel, at a cost equivalent to £1,127 a person.

“The rise in anti-foreigner sentiment was another factor,” she says, which she blames on increased competition for jobs caused by the economic downturn.

She is not the only economic migrant — someone who moves abroad to take up a job opportunity and is commonly referred to as an “expat” — opting to return home due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.


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