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“Inverse” Migration: Why Are So Many US Citizens Moving To Mexico?

"Inverse" Migration: Why Are So Many US Citizens Moving To Mexico?

Authored by Nick Corbishley via NakedCapitalism.com,

As life gets prohibitively…

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"Inverse" Migration: Why Are So Many US Citizens Moving To Mexico?

Authored by Nick Corbishley via NakedCapitalism.com,

As life gets prohibitively expensive for many people living in the US (and other rich countries), relatively cheaper countries like Mexico are becoming increasingly attractiveBut for local people the costs are growing.

Between January and September of 2022, Mexico issued 8,412 Temporary Resident Cards (TRT) to US residents, 85% more than in the first three quarters of 2019, according to a Mexican government migration report. Many are choosing to live in Mexico City. Such rapid growth rates have not been seen since comparable data became available in 2010. The number of Americans receiving permanent residency during that period has also risen sharply (48%), to 5,418.

But this may be just a fraction of the real number of American expats choosing to settle in Mexico. As the Mexican government has said for years, the number of Americans moving to its shores is likely far greater than the official figures suggest. According to data from the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur), over 10 million US citizens arrived as visitors through September this year, 24% more than in the same period of 2019. However, the Mexican authorities do not know exactly how many of those chose to stay.

A Growing Trend

In 2020, the US State Department estimated that 1.5 million USians were living in Mexico, more than double the number a decade earlier. That was before Usians began moving to Mexico at an even faster pace.

But why are so many choosing to move across the Southern border in the first place?

One reason is that it is remarkably easy. Mexico is at most a four- or five-hour flight away from most US cities. It has also been one of the most welcoming countries since the COVID-19 pandemic began, having implemented fewer COVID-19 travel restrictions than just about any other country on the American continent. Nor has it introduced vaccine passports. This has made it particularly attractive to digital nomads looking for affordable destinations with few COVID-19 restrictions.

Mexico is also remarkably cheap, as long as you are earning dollars, euros or some other hardish currency.

“Obviously, if you can earn in dollars and spend in pesos, you can triple your income,” Marko Ayling, a content creator and writer living in Mexico City told El País. “And that is very attractive to a lot of people who have the luxury of being able to work remotely.”

Unlike Mexicans in the United States, Americans can work in Mexico for up to six consecutive months on their tourist visas as long as they are paid from overseas. And, although technically not allowed, many choose to return to the US for a short period, then return to Mexico and renew their six-month period in the country, and that way continue working.

But it is not just Americans that are opting to live in Mexico. In fact, Mexico is apparently now the preferred destination for those moving abroad, beating off the likes of Indonesia, Vietnam, and even the popular expat hub Thailand. That’s according to this year’s edition of Expat Insider, an annual report published by InterNations, an expat community founded in 2007 that has been gathering data on expat/rich migrant flows and experiences for more than a decade.

Among the biggest draws highlighted by the survey are ‘the ease of settling in’ and ‘finances’. Of vital import to many people choosing to move abroad are how acccessible visas are to live and work in the countries, safety, and how expensive daily life is. Mexico may have not topped the ranking in all aspects, but it still came out on top with a higher average score.

The country also placed third on International Living‘s list of the best places to retire, just behind Panama (#1) and Costa Rica (#2). The accompanying report highlighted one of the key attractions for many retiring Americans: affordable heathcare:

A big part of the lower cost of living in Mexico is the healthcare. There are two government-run programs, including one (INSABI) that is basically free to Mexican citizens and foreigners with residence (there can sometimes be some small out-of-pocket expenses). This system is designed for those without the means to pay for any other healthcare and has facilities all around the country. Another government option is called IMSS, which costs about $500 per year per person. However, with IMSS pre-existing conditions are not covered.

There is also private healthcare, with clinics and hospitals with all the modern equipment and technology, and doctors of every specialty trained in the latest techniques and procedures. In fact, Mexico is a major medical and dental tourism destination for that reason. You can pay cash at a private facility (costs are a fraction of the U.S.—try $50 to $70 for a specialist visit, $300 for an MRI) or use local or international insurance.

Of course, Mexico has been a popular retirement destination for USians for decades, with places like San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, Oaxaca, Cabo San Lucas and Chapala/Ajijic particularly in demand. But as life grows more expensive and more precarious for working- and middle-class USians, this trend is likely to intensify.

As a Brit living in Barcelona and married to a Mexican woman, I can understand the lure that draws people to Mexico. It is a beautiful, vibrant, exotic country with a bewitching color scheme, a rich culture and a diverse geography. The food is delectable and the people by and large warm, welcoming and supportive (in Spanish we would use the word “solidario,” meaning they have solidarity with others). The weather in the Valley of Mexico is temperate all year round. The biggest concern I personally would have about living in Mexico, which is something my wife and I are seriously considering, is its escalating water crisis.

The decision to switch one’s country of residence is usually a deeply personal one and is often triggered by both pull and push factors. Not only are you moving to somewhere new but you are also moving away from somewhere established and familiar, where many of your friends and family live. Speaking as someone who has spent the best part of his adult life living abroad, it is a huge step. I would be very interested to know from US readers who, live Yves, are thinking of leaving the US what their main motives are for doing so.

Security Concerns

Ironically, this gathering exodus to Mexico is happening at the same time that the US Federal Government is issuing blanket travel warnings for many Mexican states. In August the State Department issued alerts for 30 of Mexico’s 32 states, six of which (Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas) it warned US travelers against visiting altogether, due to the high risk of being kidnapped or attacked.

There is no doubt that security remains the primordial issue in Mexico, as it does in many other Latin American countries. Although the number of people dying in the war on and for drugs has ebbed slightly in the past two years, the country still boasts some of the highest homicide rates on the planet, with Zamora de Hidalgo at 196 per 100,000 people, Zacatecas at 107, and Tijuana at 103. Also, regions that were traditionally relatively safe, such as Puebla or Quintana Roo, have recently been caught up in the spiral of violence.

But for the most part, the danger zones are in small pockets of states close to the US border, where most of the drugs are trafficked, or parts of the Sierra Madre Occidental, where many of the drugs are grown. They are not, as the US travel alerts suggest, uniformly sweeping across states.

Another common misconception is that Mexico City, being one of the largest conurbations in the world, must also be one of the most dangerous places in Mexico. Yet in reality, Mexico City has largely escaped the worst of the cartel violence, for a slew of reasons outlined in a recent article by British expat journalist Ion Grillo. They include the fact that while the drug gangs have a presence in the capital, they do not control it:

[W]hile the mobsters are certainly here, they do not operate as they do in their strongholds. Mexico City is not a strategic turf to produce drugs (like in the Sierra Madre), or to traffic drugs to the United States (like on the border).

In Culiacán, gangsters exert an immense control of their territory, with lookouts on every corner and gunmen lurking in safehouses. In the capital, however, Sinaloa operators can disappear into the urban sprawl. It’s more a place to make deals, meet with contacts in the federal government, and launder money.

There’s also talk of a pax-mafiosi in the capital, an agreement between the big narcos not to fight here. I haven’t heard this straight from the mouth of crime figures, but this is possible, even perhaps as an informal understanding that they do business and not go to war like back in Tijuana.

Another factor is that Mexico is a heavily centralized country and all the federal agencies are here, along with the bulk of the governing class of politicians and heads of big business. These powers-that-be don’t want a mess on their own doorstep. The federal forces won’t allow a convoy of a hundred hitmen to blaze up Insurgentes avenue like they get away with doing in Zacatecas.

The extensive use of cameras and the mobilization of one of the largest unified city police forces in Latin America have also helped to keep a check on the violence. As Grillo documents, not only is Mexico City one of the less dangerous cities in Mexico; it is getting safer and is already less dangerous than some US cities:

The Mexico City [murder rates] don’t refer to the whole urban sprawl of 22 million but to the official capital district, now called CDMX, which has about 9.2 million people. The Mexican government keeps a database of the murder numbers from police and prosecutor records, and there is another database from morgues and death certificates.

The police count recorded a peak of 1597 murder victims here in 2018, dropping to 1006 last year. That gives Mexico City a murder per capita rate of about 10.9 per 100,000 in 2021. This year the number has dropped further still.

Comparing the 2021 figures, Mexico City still has a higher murder rate than New York (which had about 5.7 homicides per 100,000), but it is lower than Portland (12.9), Dallas (14.6) or Minneapolis (22.1).

The most murderous U.S. cities include Baltimore (57.5) and St Louis (65.3), which have extremely high levels considering the wealth and power of the United States.

Both Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador (aka AMLO) and Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is hotly tipped to succeed AMLO in 2024, have seized on this success to try to attract yet more visitors and expats to the city.

“How much we have advanced on the issue of security,” said AMLO in a recent daily press conference. “Because of this, thousands of foreigners have arrived to live in Mexico City…They are welcome.”

The Downsides

But not everybody is so thrilled. As many national and international newspapers have reported in recent months, the continuous arrival of digital nomads from the US, the EU and other rich economies is making life more expensive in Mexico City neighborhoods such as La Condesa and La Roma, as well as in Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca.

In the verdant and unusually walkable barrio of La Condesa, a popular spot among well-heeled foreigners, apartment rents surged by 32% between January and June alone, according to a report from real estate marketplace Propiedades.com.

As many locals complain, living in Mexico may seem incredibly cheap to the new arrivals but only because they’re getting paid in dollars, euros or some other relatively hard currency. For those paying in pesos life is getting more and more expensive as the digital nomads drive local rents and prices vertiginously higher. For local landlords and real estate investors, the pickings are rich.

“What is happening is the people who can no longer to afford to live in the cities of their own countries end up moving to where they can afford to live,” Sandra Valenzuela, a Mexico City-based activist and artist, told El País. “In the end, it is a problem that is moving as the people move.”

For the moment, Mexico’s government is keeping the welcome mat out. In late October, Mexico City’s government unveiled an alliance with Airbnb Inc. and the country’s UNESCO office to promote the capital as a choice destination for remote workers. Mayor Sheinbaum said the city council wants to promote it even more and that the economic benefits of the influx would reach communities beyond the traditional tourist hubs.

It is a story that has already unfolded in many other places, including my home city of Barcelona. As happened here, tenants rights groups are up in arms, denouncing the alliance with Airbnb as part of an “aggressive touristification” of Mexico City and calling for tough regulation of the home rental company.

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/22/2022 - 21:00

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Government

Climate-Change Lockdowns? Yup, They Are Actually Going There…

Climate-Change Lockdowns? Yup, They Are Actually Going There…

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

I suppose…

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Climate-Change Lockdowns? Yup, They Are Actually Going There...

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

I suppose that we should have known that this was inevitable.  After establishing a precedent during the pandemic, now the elite apparently intend to impose lockdowns for other reasons as well.  What I have detailed in this article is extremely alarming, and I hope that you will share it with everyone that you can.  Climate change lockdowns are here, and if people don’t respond very strongly to this it is likely that we will soon see similar measures implemented all over the western world.  The elite have always promised to do “whatever it takes” to fight climate change, and now we are finding out that they weren’t kidding.

Over in the UK, residents of Oxfordshire will now need a special permit to go from one “zone” of the city to another.  But even if you have the permit, you will still only be allowed to go from one zone to another “a maximum of 100 days per year”

Oxfordshire County Council yesterday approved plans to lock residents into one of six zones to ‘save the planet’ from global warming. The latest stage in the ’15 minute city’ agenda is to place electronic gates on key roads in and out of the city, confining residents to their own neighbourhoods.

Under the new scheme if residents want to leave their zone they will need permission from the Council who gets to decide who is worthy of freedom and who isn’t. Under the new scheme residents will be allowed to leave their zone a maximum of 100 days per year, but in order to even gain this every resident will have to register their car details with the council who will then track their movements via smart cameras round the city.

Are residents of Oxfordshire actually going to put up with this?

[ZH: Paul Joseph Watson notes that the local authorities in Oxford tried to ‘fact check’ the article claiming they’re imposing de facto ‘climate lockdowns’, but ended basically admitting that’s exactly what they’re doing...]

I never thought that we would actually see this sort of a thing get implemented in the western world, but here we are.

Of course there are a few people that are loudly objecting to this new plan, but one Oxfordshire official is pledging that “the controversial plan would go ahead whether people liked it or not”.

Ouch.

Meanwhile, France has decided to completely ban certain short-haul flights in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions…

France can now make you train rather than plane.

The European Commission (EC) has given French officials the green light to ban select domestic flights if the route in question can be completed via train in under two and a half hours.

The plan was first proposed in 2021 as a means to reduce carbon emissions. It originally called for a ban on eight short-haul flights, but the EC has only agreed to nix three that have quick, easy rail alternatives with several direct connections each way every day.

This is nuts.

But if the French public accepts these new restrictions, similar bans will inevitably be coming to other EU nations.

In the Netherlands, the government is actually going to be buying and shutting down approximately 3,000 farms in order to “reduce its nitrogen pollution”

The Dutch government is planning to purchase and then close down up to 3,000 farms in an effort to comply with a European Union environmental mandate to slash emissions, according to reports.

Farmers in the Netherlands will be offered “well over” the worth of their farm in an effort to take up the offer voluntarily, The Telegraph reported. The country is attempting to reduce its nitrogen pollution and will make the purchases if not enough farmers accept buyouts.

“There is no better offer coming,” Christianne van der Wal, nitrogen minister, told the Dutch parliament on Friday.

This is literally suicidal.

We are in the beginning stages of an unprecedented global food crisis, and the Dutch government has decided that now is the time to shut down thousands of farms?

I don’t even have the words to describe how foolish this is.

Speaking of suicide, Canada has found a way to get people to stop emitting any carbon at all once their usefulness is over.  Assisted suicide has become quite popular among the Canadians, and the number of people choosing that option keeps setting new records year after year

Last year, more than 10,000 people in Canada – astonishingly that’s over three percent of all deaths there – ended their lives via euthanasia, an increase of a third on the previous year. And it’s likely to keep rising: next year, Canada is set to allow people to die exclusively for mental health reasons.

If you are feeling depressed, Canada has a solution for that.

And if you are physically disabled, Canada has a solution for that too

Only last week, a jaw-dropping story emerged of how, five years into an infuriating battle to obtain a stairlift for her home, Canadian army veteran and Paralympian Christine Gauthier was offered an extraordinary alternative.

A Canadian official told her in 2019 that if her life was so difficult and she so ‘desperate’, the government would help her to kill herself. ‘I have a letter saying that if you’re so desperate, madam, we can offer you MAiD, medical assistance in dying,’ the paraplegic ex-army corporal testified to Canadian MPs.

“Medical assistance in dying” sounds so clinical.

But ultimately it is the greatest lockdown of all.

Because once you stop breathing, you won’t be able to commit any more “climate sins”.

All over the western world, authoritarianism is growing at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking.

If they can severely restrict travel and shut down farms today, what sort of tyranny will we see in the future?

Sadly, most people in the general population still do not understand what is happening.

Hopefully they will wake up before it is too late.

*  *  *

It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “End Times” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/09/2022 - 06:30

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First-ever social responsibility report of Chinese enterprises in Saudi Arabia incorporates BGI Genomics projects

On December 1, 2022, the Social Responsibility Report of Chinese Companies in Saudi Arabia was officially launched, which is the first such report released…

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On December 1, 2022, the Social Responsibility Report of Chinese Companies in Saudi Arabia was officially launched, which is the first such report released by the Contact Office of Chinese Companies in Saudi Arabia. BGI Genomics projects in the Kingdom have been incorporated into this report.

Credit: BGI Genomics

On December 1, 2022, the Social Responsibility Report of Chinese Companies in Saudi Arabia was officially launched, which is the first such report released by the Contact Office of Chinese Companies in Saudi Arabia. BGI Genomics projects in the Kingdom have been incorporated into this report.

This event was attended by around 150 representatives of Chinese and Saudi enterprises, Saudi government officials, experts in the field of sustainable development, CCTV, Xinhua News Agency, Saudi Press Agency, Arab News and other media professionals. This Report presents the key projects and best practices of Chinese enterprises to fulfil their social and environmental responsibilities while advancing the Kingdom’s industry development.

Chen Weiqing, the Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said in his video speech that the Report highlighted Chinese enterprises’ best practices in serving the local community, safe production, green and low-carbon development and promoting local employment. The release of the Report helps Chinese enterprises in the Kingdom to strengthen communication with the local community, laying a stronger foundation for future collaboration.

Epidemic control and accelerating post-COVID 19 recovery

BGI Genomics has been fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities and worked with the Saudi people to fight the COVID-19 epidemic.

In March 2020, Saudi Arabia was hit by the pandemic. The Saudi government decided to adopt BGI Genomics’ Huo-Yan laboratory solution in April 2020. At the forefront of the fight against the epidemic, the company has built six laboratories in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Dammam and Asir within two months, with a total area of nearly 5,000 square meters and a maximum daily testing throughput of 50,000 samples.

By the end of December 2021, BGI Genomics had sent 14 groups of experts, engineers and laboratory technicians to Saudi Arabia, amounting to over 700 people, and tested more than 16 million virus samples, accounting for more than half of the tests conducted during this period. The company has successfully trained over 400 qualified Saudi technicians, and all laboratories have been transferred to local authorities for the operation.

In the post-epidemic era, the Huo-Yan laboratories can continue to make positive contributions to public health, working with local medical institutions and the public health system to make breakthroughs in areas such as reproductive health, tumour prevention and control, and prevention.

Enhancing genomic technology localization and testing capabilities

In July 2022, BGI Almanahil and Tibbiyah Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Saudi Faisaliah Group, announced a joint venture (JV) to establish an integrated, trans-omics medical testing company specializing in genetic testing.

This JV company will help improve Saudi Arabia’s local clinical and public health testing and manufacturing capabilities, promote the localization of strategic products that have long been imported, contribute to the implementation and realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 roadmap, and significantly enhance local capacity for third-party medical testing services as well as local production of critical medical supplies.

BGI Genomics attaches great importance to fulfilling its corporate social responsibility and has released its social responsibility report for four consecutive years since 2017. Since its establishment, the company has always been guided by the goal of enhancing health outcomes for all, relying on its autonomous multi-omics platform to accelerate technological innovation, promote reproductive health, strengthen tumour prevention and control, and accurately cure infections, and is committed to becoming a global leader in precision medicine and covering the entire public health industry chain.

The company will continue to work together with all stakeholders to contribute to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the Belt and Road Initiative and looks forward to growing with our partners.

 

About BGI Genomics

BGI Genomics, headquartered in Shenzhen China, is the world’s leading integrated solutions provider of precision medicine. Our services cover over 100 countries and regions, involving more than 2,300 medical institutions. In July 2017, as a subsidiary of BGI Group, BGI Genomics (300676.SZ) was officially listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

 


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International

Alcohol deaths in the UK rose to record level in 2021

Nearly 10,000 people died from alcohol in 2021.

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Deaths from alcohol in the UK have risen to their highest level since records began in 2001, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In 2021, 9,641 people (14.8 per 100,000) died as a result of alcohol: a rise of 7.4% from 2020.

The leading cause of alcohol-specific deaths (deaths caused by diseases known to be a direct consequence of alcohol) continues to be liver disease. More than three-quarters (78%) of all alcohol deaths in 2021 were attributed to this cause. The remainder of the deaths were due to “mental and behavioural disorders because of the use of alcohol” and “accidental poisoning by, and exposure to, alcohol”.

Although there is no such thing as a safe level of drinking, and many people would feel the health benefits of reducing consumption, most of the risks of developing health problems and dying are skewed towards those who drink the most.

Between 2012 and 2019 alcohol-specific deaths remained relatively stable. It is no coincidence that deaths rose sharply during the first two years of the pandemic: those that were already drinking at harmful levels increased their consumption further during this period. Although liver disease can take years to develop, this process is accelerated when those drinking at harmful levels increase their consumption further.

Other statistics show that unplanned alcohol-related hospital admissions decreased during this period, which may have meant missed opportunities to provide help for those people experiencing problems with alcohol.

Looking beyond the headline figures, there are important differences in various groups within the population. Alcohol-specific deaths were not spread equally. For example, men were twice as likely to die as women. In 2021, 20.1 men per 100,000 died compared with 9.9 women.

Where you live in the UK matters, too, as deaths in Scotland are the highest, followed by Northern Ireland, Wales then and England – although the gap between the nations seems to be narrowing.

In England, deaths are highest in the north-east of England (20.4 per 100,000), which is twice as high as those in London (10.2 per 100,000). Although rates have increased in all regions; for example, there was a rise of 38% in south-west England from 2019 to 2021. This reflects what is already known about the relationship between deprivation and harm from alcohol. There is a two to fivefold higher risk of dying among lower-income groups compared with those from the higher-income groups.

Reflecting the growing trend of young people drinking less than older age groups, it is those aged 50 to 64 that account for most deaths due to liver disease. In 2021, for example, 39 people aged 25 to 29 died from alcohol-related liver disease, compared with 1,326 of those aged 50 to 59. This is related to a greater number of years of drinking but is also a general reflection that when older adults were younger, they tended to drink more than younger people do now.

Numbers of alcohol-specific deaths, by five-year age group and individual cause. Office for National Statistics – Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2021, National Records of Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

Addressing harms

So what can be done to begin to address alcohol harms? It has been estimated that almost a quarter of drinkers in the UK drink above the recommended low-risk drinking guidelines. So this is a health and social issue that requires a national response. Low-impact initiatives, such as education and awareness raising, may not be enough.

The costs of alcohol to society are significant. A recent review estimated this to be £27 billion annually, with only half of this offset by tax revenue on alcohol products.

Timely access to specialist treatment can help to reduce the health risks associated with alcohol. Unfortunately, there have been significant cuts to funding for this type of intervention.

Around 80% of people classed as dependent on alcohol in England are not currently getting treatment support. While there has recently been extra funding for drug services to try and correct historic cuts, this has not been extended to alcohol. Reversing this by investing in services could help to reduce the rising number dying prematurely from alcohol.

A new strategy is long overdue

The last government strategy for alcohol was published in 2012, so there is a pressing need for a new one. This must address all the ways that the harms from alcohol can be tackled, from marketing and pricing to specialist treatment and recovery services.

A group, led by Liverpool MP Dan Carden, with cross-party support, recently called on the government to initiate an independent review of alcohol harm, along the lines of the review led by Dame Carol Black, which had a significant influence on drug policy and treatment funding.

Without such a review and strategy based on it, the harms caused by alcohol including premature death will continue to rise year after year. So much has changed since the last alcohol strategy in 2012 not least the current cost of living crisis. The outlook for investment in public health looks bleak, added to which this government doesn’t seem willing to curtail the efforts of the alcohol industry in marketing and protecting its products.

Harry Sumnall receives and has received funding from grant awarding bodies for alcohol and other drug research. He sits on grant-awarding funding panels, and is an unpaid scientific adviser to the MIND Foundation.

Ian Hamilton does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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