Every year millions of people – including around 150,000 UK citizens – pack up their lives at home for a new adventure overseas. The reasons they do so are varied – for work opportunities, health care, lower cost of living, or even just a suntan. If you’re planning to live abroad, here’s a quick run-through of some important factors to consider before you book that one-way plane ticket.
Choosing a Destination –Consider aspects such as cost of living, safety, cultural acclimatization, support networks, ease of returning home, and more.
Medical – If you’re moving overseas for better or cheaper health care, be sure the treatment you require is available and affordable in your new country. If on-demand treatment is expensive, sign up to a comprehensive medical insurance plan before you arrive.
Language – Are you a natural polyglot or do you choke ordering a drink in a foreign tongue? If you’re not dedicated to learning a new language, it may be easier to move where you can communicate in your native tongue.
Accommodation – Once you arrive, where are you going to live? You can search for suitable accommodation online before you leave home or via local estate agents once you get there.
Work – If you plan to work abroad and send money back home, make certain you’ll earn enough to make the move worthwhile. Whether you plan to set up your own business or work for an employer overseas, you’ll need to know local laws to make sure your work status is legal.
Taxes – You’ll have to pay taxes on all earnings, either in your home country, or your new country of residence, and sometimes in both. The UK has a number of double-taxation agreements in place, however, so you can usually avoid paying twice.
Banking – Set up a local bank account in your new country as soon as possible. This will not only save you fees on overseas withdrawals, but will help to establish your residence credentials.
Communications – You’ll want to stay in touch with loved ones back home so consider how well wired your new destination will be if you hope to connect with friends and family via Skype, email or social networks.
Remittances – Working overseas in order to send money back home is one of the biggest reasons for people to emigrate, but in many developing countries bank to bank services may be impractical for sending and receiving money. As a result, international remittances are now a popular method for transferring funds overseas swiftly and safely with a minimum of red tape. Remittances by migrants working abroad accounted for over 400 billion dollars last year, and this money has helped to improve health, education and employment opportunities in the developing world.
Whether seeking employment, starting a business or just enjoying retirement, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. However, to avoid disappointment, look before you leap and research all the options thoroughly.