InterNations, the world’s largest expat community with around 4 million members, has published its Expat Insider survey including more than 12,000 respondents on living and working abroad and insights on expat life impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact of COVID-19 on Expat Life in Indonesia
Over half the expats in Indonesia, or 56 percent, claimed the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t affected their plans for their stay abroad, which is below the global average of 63 percent. At least 22 percent will not be moving home anytime soon due to COVID-19.
On a global scale, 45 percent of survey respondents say that COVID-19 had an impact on their current stay abroad or their relocation plans. The share of expats who said so either decided to not move back home soon (18 percent), planned to move to another country but had to change these plans (8 percent), will move to another country due to the pandemic (6 percent), or will move back home sooner than originally planned (5 percent).
The share of local respondents whose relocation plans were affected by COVID-19 shows 61 percent. Some of them were living abroad but moved home sooner than planned (18 percent), others were planning to move abroad but had to change their plans (35 percent), and about one in ten have now decided to move abroad because of the pandemic (9 percent).
The Pandemic’s Impact on Everyday Life
When asked where the biggest impact of the pandemic on their personal life right now, the survey respondents point out its effects on personal travel (25 percent), social life (23 percent), and their work or business (16 percent) in particular. In the long run, respondents are still concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their social life (17 percent of all respondents), and there are also considerable worries regarding personal travel (22 percent).
In the long run, 17 percent are still concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their social life and 22 percent have considerable worries regarding personal travel. When thinking about the future, a larger share of respondents also considered the pandemic’s impact on their life concerning their personal finances (12 percent vs. 9 percent who have already seen a major impact), their family life (9 percent vs. 6 percent), and their mental health (9 percent vs. 7 percent).
How Expats Stay Informed on COVID-19
Expats across the world mostly rely on official government channels (48 percent), local news (47 percent), and social media (40 percent) for news on the COVID-19 situation and the related regulations in their country of residence.
They also depend on expat news (32 percent), friends and neighbours (19 percent), and employers (18 percent) as sources of information, while the embassy/consulate (9 percent), family (8 percent), or personal observations (8 percent) only play a minor role. Fortunately, only 3 percent of expats worldwide say they haven’t found a good source of information yet.
Considering the importance of government channels, how satisfied are expats with the official communication regarding COVID-19 and related regulations? Worldwide, 66 percent rate this factor positively, with close to a quarter saying they are completely satisfied. The main complaint among expats who are not satisfied with the official communication on the pandemic is that the information is unclear, confusing, and/or contradictory.
Survey respondents in Indonesia claimed that the most important sources of information regarding COVID-19 and related regulations are via social media (53 percent), followed by expat news and international media (42 percent), and local news (33 percent). However, 34 percent are dissatisfied with the official communication regarding COVID-19. Out of those expats that rate the official communication negatively, 73 percent find it unclear, confusing, or contradictory, and another 30 percent criticise that it was only made available in the local language.