Some relocation pointers from the team at PSS International Removals….
Recent reports suggest that there are over 3.4 million British people living abroad, which is 7% of the British population. One of the major reasons for this is the weather. Roughly 1,000 people leave the UK every day in search of sunnier climes and a higher standard of living. Of these 1,000 people, over 40% are usually British citizens and most choose to relocate to either Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the US or UAE.
It’s generally a lot cheaper to live abroad and many skilled professionals find that they can often earn more than they do in the UK while experiencing better working conditions, fewer working hours, less tax and better private healthcare schemes.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, nine out of ten Britons currently living abroad said their quality of life had improved since leaving the UK; but that’s not to say that the moving process always goes according to plan. Unfortunately, it is often this process that is misunderstood; landing people with all sorts of unexpected difficulties to tackle.
If you are considering leaving the UK permanently, it goes without saying that thoroughly researching your chosen destination and not overlooking the important points is vital. Always visit key forums and expat community resources to help get a feel for the country, region or city you intend to move to first. For example, how does Melbourne differ from Sydney or Auckland from Christchurch? You might be surprised.
Don’t forget to familiarise yourself with the local regulations and customs too.
Consider your health. Once you permanently leave the UK you are no longer entitled to medical treatment under the NHS or via a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Be sure to sign up to health insurance and if you are staying within the European Economic Area (EEA), read up on the S1 form (previously known as the E121 form).
Consider your long-term financial requirements by reading up on the impact moving overseas may have on any benefits or retirement income. Be realistic about your living costs, don’t automatically assume they will be the same as the UK and don’t forget to formulate a Plan B if things go wrong.
Once you have moved abroad and understand the costs, research the taxes that will be applicable to you in your new home (as well as back in the UK). Don’t forget to take exchange rates into account and consider the potential financial implications of moving.
Once your key research is in place and before deciding on a leaving date, set up a consultancy session with an independent legal professional and don’t feel under pressure to use your property developer’s or estate agent’s contacts. It is very important that your legal consultant understands the law in the country you intend to move to.
Organise a removals company
Investigate recruiting a specialist international removals company. Make sure they are fully aware that issues with packing, customs and shipping must all be taken into account, and that’s not to mention being informed on visas, job seeking, property searches, tax and all of the elements that go into an individual’s life in a new country.
It is always important that you are covered for financial security to avoid any possible problems at foreign ports and paying extortionate fees just to recover property.
Pick a company that has the FAIM accreditation, the only independent quality assurance standard for the international moving industry.
Also look out for companies that are members of the FIDI global alliance, British Association of Removers Overseas Group, and BAR Overseas, which is covered by the IMMI advance payment guarantee scheme for customer’s financial protection.
Buying a house
Never rush into buying. Many advise renting for the first six months in a new country while you take the time to settle in, investigate the area and integrate into your community, ensuring you become familiar with the local protocol. You can then decide whether it might be somewhere you or your family will be happy long term. Try and make a concerted effort to avoid isolating yourself and learn the local language that will play an important role in helping you settle in and meet new friends.
Do the paperwork
And finally, don’t forget to notify the Social Security Office, HM Revenue & Customs and the Department of Work & Pensions that you are moving overseas, as well as your GP.