Recruiters in Asia have noticed a shift in demand from Western expats to locals as the global financial crisis impacts companies’ preference for its employees.

Western expatriates are often offered packages including housing allowance, school fees and transportation means. Dan Chavasse, regional managing director in Asia for Michael Page, told the Financial Times, “It’s getting to the stage where you’re quite surprised when someone tells you they’ve got a housing allowance “.

More companies are looking for Asian expats, including Malaysians, Singaporeans and Taiwanese, who have closer values compared to Western expats. Asian expats are also offered local contracts instead of extravagant expatriate packages.

Fluctuating currency rates are also taken into consideration when hiring Western expats. Singapore-based Justin Birch, director at RP International, explained that “If you’re on 100,000 euros in the UK and you are told you will still be paid that in Asia, that sounds great, and four years ago when the exchange rate was 2.8 Singapore dollars to the pound, it was. Now, it’s 1.9 to the pound – a vast difference – and Singapore has become much much more expensive.”