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Complete guide to emigrating after the coronavirus pandemic

Fancy opening a restaurant in Australia, being a teacher in France or retiring in the stunning Iberian Peninsula? Well, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, those of you with plans to emigrate can still fulfil those long-held dreams!

Whether you’re immigrating for work, to study or embark on a new adventure, moving house is known to be a challenge, so no doubt moving abroad after a pandemic is even more daunting.

Emigration is also expensive irrespective of whether you are relocating permanently or temporarily. Unless you have already secured employment in your destination country, or have a decent pension pot, you will likely need to save approximately six months’ worth of living expenses to help you get established in your new country.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused thousands of people to sharpen their perspectives, with many now deferring plans to move abroad until the global infection rate declines.

Yet, despite nerves over the pandemic, real estate portals continue to report a surge in overseas property searches from the UK. That being said, 2020 continues to pose challenges to all.

Make your move abroad seamless by reading our guide on emigrating post-pandemic, complete with a moving abroad checklist and advice on how best to manage your finances so you are prepared life in your new country.

Whether you’re already living abroad, or it’s in your plans to move in the future, our guide will help you avoid common pitfalls and unnecessary costs to ensure you reduce your exposure to downside risks.

Popular destinations for expats

Immigration: Moving abroad checklist and tips for emigrating

Our moving abroad checklist is targeted primarily at those considering emigrating from the UK; however, it will likely prove helpful for those with plans to move overseas from all corners of the globe.

If you’ve already chosen a destination, we advise researching the local laws and culture thoroughly before you move, to familiarise yourself with the standard of living in the country.

Also, consider the amount of time needed to obtain a visa and the criteria imposed by immigration officials in the destination country to prevent any delays to your application.

You should also take any additional paperwork and tax requirements into account – speak with a financial advisor ahead of your move abroad to avoid having taxation issues once you settle.

UK tax requirements

In the UK, you will need to notify HMRC of any changes to your permanent address.

In most cases, expats benefit from a double tax treaty if they are a tax resident in both countries, which will ensure they aren’t subject to double taxation. However, if you fail to inform the relevant authorities that you have emigrated, you will likely be taxed twice.

Avoid having to pay additional taxes by filling in your P85 from HMRC. For further guidance on double taxation relief, check online at GOV.UK.

Renting your UK home

Renting out your ‘home from home’

Many expats choose to rent out their UK home while they live abroad to generate a secondary source of income.

If this is something you’re considering, you will need to decide whether you want to manage the property from abroad, rely on family or source a property management agency.

Most expats tend to use a UK letting agency, who will find and replace tenants, collect rent, and carry out maintenance and repair work for a fee of approximately 10% – 15% of rental income.

Also, any rental income received will be subject to UK tax, so we advise applying for the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme, which offers some significant tax advantages for non-UK residents.

Bank accounts

If you’re splitting your life between two countries, fluctuating exchange rates and high transaction fees could make a significant difference to your income and savings.

To hedge against high fees and costs, we advise opening an international bank account, and a local currency account as this will help with day-to-day expenses.

Unless you have no desire to move back to your country of origin, you might want to keep any local accounts open. Not only will this ensure that you have a bank account upon your return but it will continue to record your credit history and contribute to your score, which could be advantageous if you return and need to purchase a property.

Source FX specialists

Source dedicated foreign exchange specialists

The foreign exchange (FX) market turbulence brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and other global events has provoked some fresh volatility in major currencies over the past year.

Brexit also remains a primary driver of pound Sterling (GBP) exchange rates, which is holding steady amidst cautious optimism over a future relationship between the UK and the European Union.

Suppose it’s in your plans to emigrate and you need to make international currency transfers. In that case, fluctuating exchange rates will have a significant impact on your income, savings and spending power.

The impact of COVID-19 has created an even more challenging valuation environment, but you could limit your exposure to downside risk by sourcing a foreign exchange specialist such as Halo Financial.

Unlike banks who tend to levy hidden fees in the exchange rate, Halo Financial provides clients with a competitive advantage to maximise their currency exchange.

Halo Financial is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and can offer several currency solutions such as same-day trade to facilitate immediate delivery into the beneficiary account.

Use an FX specialist and enjoy more of your income by protecting your funds against the often-unpredictable currency market landscape, which will also ensure you make the most of your move abroad – no matter where you choose to immigrate.

Popular emigration destinations

Whether you’re emigrating in search of a higher quality lifestyle for you and your family, for work opportunities or retirement, we’ve listed some of the most popular destinations for immigrants.

According to HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer study, Canada, Australia and Spain rank in the top eight best countries to immigrate to in 2021.

Canada

With the United States weighed down by its pandemic-scarred economy, stimulus woes and presidency transition drama, Canada is looking like the responsible older brother.

Canada’s burgeoning economy, universal healthcare system, breathtaking scenery and the cultural melting pot has long made it an attractive destination for foreigners.

According to recent data from the Canadian government, approximately 31% of Canadian citizens originated from Britain, so those coming from the UK won’t have to worry too much about a culture shock!

Canada’s relatively high cost of living is also made up for by its quality of life, which is ranked second in the world according to the latest US News & Report Quality of Life sub-ranking in the 2020 Best Countries report.

The “Great White North” also offers all permanent residents and Canadian citizens world-class, free, universal healthcare, known as Medicare, which is funded through taxation.

Spain

Spain has long been a highly sought after destination for prospective expats, coveted for its sunnier climes, high-quality lifestyle and low cost of living.

According to Numbeo, the average cost of living in Spain is more than 18% cheaper than in the UK and lower still than in the United States.

Rental prices in the United States are 78% higher than in Spain, while grocery prices are 47% higher and restaurant prices are 25% higher.

Spain is also renowned for being a world leader in healthcare, boasting the highest life expectancy in the world according to the latest Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum, making it an ideal destination for retirees and families.

Australia

Stunning coastlines, multicultural cities and a low crime rate? Australia could be the perfect destination for you.

Not only is the country English-speaking, but more than 42% of its population are immigrants, and with a British expat in every corner, cultural integration will likely be seamless.

Although the country is known for its notoriously stringent immigration laws, the high quality of life it offers makes the challenging visa process worth it.

According to HSBC, Australia places second-best in the Expat survey for mental and physical well-being, which is unsurprising due to the country’s better work-life balance.

While Australia has a relatively high cost of living, Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Index shows that major cities in Australia have fallen from higher spots. The capital of Australia and the country’s most expensive city, Sydney, ranks 66th place on the Index, while London and New York City place considerably higher in 19th and 6th respectively.

Suppose it is in your plans to relocate to Australia. In that case, you might want to consider settling in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide or Brisbane, all of which offer the urban lifestyle found in Sydney but at a notably lower cost.

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