Proposal: Expatriates

Doesn't this need to be country-specific, potentially both for the country you are living in and the country you came from?

Should these country-specific questions also go here, or to, for example, the China forum?

  • 6
    Doesn't Stack Overflow need to be programming language specific? Aug 20, 2013 at 3:33

5 Answers 5


There are many questions which are fairly general and not country specific. I will post some example later on.

Also, I disagree that making this country specific is useful or feasible. I am sure that it is not appropriate to advocate 100s of different sites on expatriation, as there are hundreds of countries.

Most expats face the same problems no matter which country they live in.

  • 1
    I agree that even country-specific questions should go to the same Expat forum. Let's tag them accordingly. I don't agree that most expats face the same problems no matter which country they live in and come from, and believe that as a result, most question and especially answers will be country-specific. Let's make it sure that those are also welcome here (and not send them away to the Portugal forum and limit ourselves to just the overly general discussions).
    – Thilo
    Mar 5, 2012 at 2:07
  • Your sample question "How do I register a European car in the UK" is a perfect example for this. Great question, but totally country-specific. I think this is the direction to go for this site.
    – Thilo
    Mar 5, 2012 at 2:09
  • please post the non-countryspecific questions you promised, let the proposal develop
    – vakufo
    Mar 22, 2012 at 19:47
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    First comment on this proposal (I was going to make this proposal. glad to see that it has already running). I believe that should be a tag for each country. The users could add more country tags if the question and answer are applicable.
    – cinico
    Aug 19, 2013 at 9:41
  • ANOTHER proposal for an expat subsite...? The problem lies in the fact that there are already lots of established expat websites already out there that are far more targetted. In the same way as facebook will die because it is not socially specific enough, you're trying to create a site where there are already more country specific sites out there. Sadly this is never going to get off the ground. Sep 3, 2013 at 6:06
  • @adolfgarlic: There were already lots of established programming websites already out there before StackOverflow came in with their focussed Q&A strategy. Sadly your ability to see the future has not been proven and this proposal is almost half-way there. Oct 16, 2013 at 9:04
  • Lots of recruitment websites seem to have come along since Jobserve, yet Jobserve is still the number one IT job website in the UK and further afield, it's more targetted and has critial user mass. People go there because it has all the jobs, other sites have fewer, people advertise on there because it has the most viewers, and so it goes. Also, I'm sure Iran are "half way" to having a nuke. Nov 4, 2013 at 10:17
  • "Most expats face the same problems no matter which country they live in." True, but the solution will be different for each country. How then to have a 'right' answer? Nov 4, 2013 at 10:19

Travel.SE is probably a good case study for this topic (in fact, immigration questions are frequently posted there, much to the chagrin of the moderators).

Although many of the questions on the site are country-specific, there is nowhere near enough activity for any individual country to justify a dedicated site (in fact, the site as a whole is still struggling to get out of beta).

Ultimately, country-specific questions get country-specific tags, and users can subscribe/ignore at their leisure.

Although I can't claim to make a prediction with any degree of accuracy regarding what the Expats site would look like, I think we would see similar trends emerge.

  • 1
    Great example, Travel.SE is, one can say, parallel site to this, but only focused on short-time abroad-being. Feb 2, 2013 at 8:13
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    We made it out of beta (-: Oct 16, 2013 at 9:05

Some people are accidental expats, getting posted to a country that their employer decides on. So yes, they are only really looking for information on that one country.

There's perhaps a larger group that are actively choosing a country, either from a range of options provided by an employer (or contract agency), or to move to start a new life, or maybe to retire to. For this group, it's very useful to have an area to ask questions that isn't going to be weighted to just one country.

A significant number of issues that expats face are common as well regardless of the destination country. For example Americans have tax issues that are different from most other nationalities (based on citizenship not residence). British expats might have questions about how to retain a bank account back home. All regardless of the country they find themselves an expat in.

The Stack Exchange tags will allow questions to be filtered. These should be set up to allow tags for both the country you are an expat from (often the same as nationality), and separately the country you are an expat in. Then somebody can search for all questions affecting Swedish expats, and/or all questions about living in Turkey.

  • 1
    On travel.SE we addressed this by having tags both for the country you're in and the country you're a citizen of (whose passport you have). In our case the former is primary so has no suffix and the latter was thought up a while later and isn't as common so it gets the -citizens suffix. You could do that here or something like from-india, in-usa, etc. Oct 16, 2013 at 9:07

As a serial expat myself, I've got to say that I don't think this will work unless it is country-specific. Expats' bread-and-butter concerns (visas, jobs, housing, schools, banking etc) vary widely from country to country, and genuinely useful advice ("to get the fingerprints for the Singapore criminal record application needed for the Australia 856 visa, go to this notary in Melbourne") is by necessity very, very specific.

Then again, I would also have thought that a generic programming Q&A site would never work, but all languages seem to coexist pretty happily on Stack Overflow...

  • 2
    +1. I think "co-exist" is a good word. There may not be a lot of overlap between the country-specific answers, but that doesn't hurt and having everything in one place is useful for the parts that do overlap and for serial expats like yourself that may be interested in more than one "language".
    – Thilo
    Aug 20, 2012 at 9:14
  • It's not quite the same though: as a developer, I switch between various languages daily, but as an expat, I'm only concerned with one country at a time. Aug 20, 2012 at 12:35
  • As a serial expat, you may be able to provide answers about all those previous countries, though. And maybe we'll see generic questions ("How do I get my driver's license") with a host of country-specific answers (which may not fit the format of having to accept just one)
    – Thilo
    Aug 21, 2012 at 0:21

It is impractical to divide up by country. There would need to be a site for every combination as there will likely be very different answers for "How do I register a European car in the UK", "How do I register a European car in Grenada" and "How do I register a South Korean car in the UK".

Since there are 249 places with ISO-3166 codes that would make 249 x 249 = 62,001 different sites. Including grenada-to-japan.stackexchange.com with an expat population of one. There are a dozen countries/regions on that list of which Japan has under ten immigrants from.

If we just stick them all on the same site with and , our South Korean immigrant to the UK would benefit from knowing the general process in the UK, even if the South Korean portion of the process may be different. Or the EU resident would get a better idea of how to export a car from the UK answer even if they are actually moving to Grenada.

Allowing the questions to co-exist as jpatokal so eloquently said would allow US expats to every country to read up on the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion while teaching expats from all countries how to register a car purchased in the UK, or what documentation is needed to open a bank account in Namibia.

This would create a richer knowledge base for future generations (not to mention consolidating eyes).

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