Much as it’s not easy to settle in a new country, the same will also apply getting along with confusing laws/policies that may not seem easy to understand. As a new settler, you may fall out with the area’s laws due to different reasons some of which may include; the language barrier, failure to interpret the meaning of some regulations, and being unaware of anything illegal wherever you may happen to be.
Countries have totally different laws that can be interpreted very differently, depending on the connection you may have to that country. For example, what may seem acceptable/legal in London may be unacceptable/illegal in New York. Thus, this calls for expats to make a careful study of their host country’s unfamiliar laws before venturing out any further.
Common laws that confuse many expats include traffic laws, labor policies, taxation (importation and exportation), littering, etc. Sometimes you will find yourself committing a certain offence unknowingly and what you should know is that these laws are applicable to everyone, both citizens and non-citizens. Expect less leniency from your host country’s authorities.
You can also avoid undesirable conflicts with your host country’s laws by confiding into a local native for interpretation and proper guidance of local laws and customs. If you haven’t already befriended anyone, it’s the time before risking yourself.
The most committed offences are in the traffic system. Many times, expats find themselves in the wrath of harsh traffic laws that are completely different from those in their come countries. This could be due to a failure to observe the minimum speed limit, improper driving documentations, overloading, using a phone while driving, unnecessary overtaking, among other reasons. You may also be frustrated with unfamiliar road signs language and high road toll fees. If not followed well, these can result in heavy spot fines or a jail sentence.
To some new settlers, such laws and regulations can be awkward because as you may be aware, different lands have different laws and regulations which you ought to observe in case you are to cultivate a deeper connection with your host country. It’s also important that you always have a local lawyer at standby to intervene in case you get into trouble with the authorities.
As an expat, it might be hard for you to get any form of leniency from the authorities than a local offender. For example, in the case of a traffic offence, a traffic police officer may charge you higher than a local due to the unfamiliarity between both of you. In some lands, especially in Africa, expats have mercilessly been forced to fork out heavy bribes at border posts, and on roadblocks. This is if they suspect you to be someone from the western world.
But above all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Many online sources provide detailed safety guidelines to expats living in several countries. Notable among these is the UK Foreign Travel Advisory that includes country-specific safety advice for UK citizens living in those countries.