Phew! it seems that companies are behind the hard work of the Permits Foundation, after all. This organisation works hard to get governments to offer spouses work visas, and late last year decided it was time to check whether their tireless lobbying still matters. It seems it does.

If you care about the way expat spouses are treated by their partners’ sponsoring organisations in their career ambitions then take a look at the executive summary of this recent survey.

Hot off the press, you can read the summary at

I was delighted to meet two of the Tempo Team employees a couple of weeks ago. For, despite offering to brainstorm with many other recruitment agencies over the years, with a view to finding a solution to the dual career issue, they were the first, ever, to take me up on it.

On November 3rd at 3pm in their offices at Spui 12, they are hosting a Focus Group Session in association with The Hague International Spirit (THIS) in order to start discussions with people who care about this issue and want to make a change.

Drinks and nibbles will be provided, so, if you can be part of this first, exciting session, please get in touch with

The link to download the complete invitation is below. Please tell your friends.


I’ve just had a look at the HSBC survey, downloading the results from the “>Easy Expat blog. I had a bit of a mooch around the site and it looks pretty good, though I was fed up to see neither my books nor Robin Pascoe’s in their list – but maybe I did not look hard enough.

The survey interviewed over 2000 expats and it seems Singapore is, the UAE and the US are the best places to live. So that’s why my best mates are all off to Singapore! The Netherlands, where I live, came 7th in the poll, so I guess I’m not doing so badly.

But the survey is all about lifestyle, luxury, saving, accommodation and length of stay – nothing about how the kids adjusted, if the spouses found work, or if they found ways to feed their soul. No surprise there. I guess if I was doing a survey funded by a major international bank I’d not be interested in those questions either. Thank goodness Robin Pascoe has done a survey on what matters to the family. I can’t wait to see the results of that one.

Slightly cynical, moi?

Dr Nina Cole is associate professor to the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Ontario, Canada. This week she released the results of her research study on expat spouses.

Dr Cole’s abstract is here, below, but you can read the executive summary on her website or mine in the Reading Room.

Spousal adjustment issues, increasingly career-related, are a major reason for expatriate assignment failure. Employer-provided spousal assistance programs have been proposed to address this situation. This field study of 238 expatriate spouses found that those who experience a severe disruption or cessation of employment have significantly lower interactional adjustment to host country nationals than others. For spouses with a career orientation to work, females had higher cultural and interactional adjustment than males. Only 18 percent of the spouses received employer-provided career assistance, and there was no significant difference in adjustment between spouses who received assistance and those who did not. Interviews with 100 spouses indicated that their greatest needs are for networking information to assist in their job search and for a ‘go-to’ person for practical settling-in assistance.