Preparing for Emigration 101

Preparing for Emigration 101

Preparing for Emigration 101

Many of us have considered moving abroad. Some of us want to do so over the medium-term – living and working abroad for a few years – while some of us have a more permanent move in mind.

But what does it take to emigrate? What should you be aware of and prepare for? Rand Rescue takes a look.

Location Location Location

The first thing to consider, of course, is where you want to move to. Some of us have a definite location in mind, while others have a few considerations and will choose based on other criteria on this list.

Questions which will determine the location

 – Are you relocating alone, with a spouse, with young children, parents, animals or with friends?

 – Do you already have a job lined up or are you scouting for work? If so, what type of work?

 – Do you favour a particular climate, region, religion, culture and/or political system?

 – How long do you plan on staying abroad?

 – Do you want a similar setup to what you have right now, or do you want something different in terms of the type of home, location of your home, modes of commuting, social system, healthcare, education, etc.?

Who is footing the bill?

Are you being sponsored by a company or organisation? Do you work for a multinational corporation which will assist in your relocation? Are you paying for everything yourself?

The choices and mode of emigration and immigration are significantly impacted by these choices. If you plan on emigrating on your own merit and foot the bill yourself, there are usually more options to choose from, but it could also be a costly affair. What’s more, if you have a sponsor in the foreign country you will generally find that administration is also significantly eased, and since they often serve as surety, your immigration may be more readily approved.

How soon are you going?

Your relocation will be greatly affected by the timeframe available. If you can move immediately with just a bag in hand, then this is great, but some people don’t consider the time it takes for certain aspects of relocation.

 – How soon can you move into your new home?

 – How long will you travel?

 – How long will it take for your possessions to get there?

 – Are there waiting periods, holding periods or other time restrictions for anything you need to do there?

 – Are there specific calendars – such as financial years or educational calendars and school terms you need to adhere to?

 – How long will it take to unwind and transfer financial assets abroad?

How long can you stay?

How long you can stay is generally determined by the type of visa you have.

The easiest way to secure immediate citizenship is through investment – whether you want to start a company or buy property, many countries offer fast-tracked citizenship based on the amount of money you’re bringing in and the length-of-time they envision you to remain active within their economic borders.

But this is, of course, not an option for most of us. If you’re moving abroad and relying on a visa, then you will need to check the particulars of the specific country.

Some pointers which affect your length of stay

 – Some countries offer easier entry and longer leeway for foreigners based on their skills – if you have a skillset which is lacking, they will be more lenient.
 – If you’ve transgressed before or it seems like you may want to overstay a tourist or other visa, then the country won’t allow you to stay very long.
 – Certain countries restrict visitation and relocation for people over a certain age, since they don’t want their social system burdened with people who can’t generate an income. Be sure to research which places offer the best opportunities for your personal career journey.
 – What are your political, religious, racial, cultural and economic views? It may sound irrelevant, but certain countries do advanced screening to determine if someone will fit into their society. If you have extremist views, or views in stark contrast to the predominant groups in the country, then you may be restricted.
 – If the country has strict citizenship or residency laws and you have an extended family back home, they may watch you more carefully to see that you don’t bring over spouses, children or parents.

What can you leave behind?

Most of us would like to keep as much as we can of our old homes when relocating, but this is not always practical.

The cost of moving your furniture and pets abroad can be exorbitant. Of course no one wants to leave their beloved furry or other non-human friends behind, but:

 – certain animals or breeds aren’t allowed to be relocated abroad

 – the age and health of animals will determine if they’re allowed in the country

 – the stress of relocation and adapting to new conditions may be harsher than finding them new homes

If you’re moving to a significantly smaller or different home, then it’s good to rethink if and what you should take with you.

Are you doing this alone?

Many people try to save funds by researching, administering and overseeing all aspects of their relocation.

What seems like a cost-saving exercise could, however, not only become an administrative nightmare, but could also land them in hot water.

Whether it comes to your finance, physical move, conduct in your new location or simple border-entry; make sure you aren’t skimping only to suffer losses. Do thorough research about your new location, the legislation, logistics companies, administration and financial costs and restrictions of your move.

Are your finances above board?

Falling foul of SARS and the SARB isn’t always deliberate, but it will become an issue if you plan to relocate.

Not only has financial surveillance and tracking across borders become a seamless process in the past few years, but an intentional move abroad will require a definite review of your finances.

You won’t be able to claim that you earn a certain amount on your application without this being verified. Your debts, assets, tax behaviour, income and expenditure may be under scrutiny. In fact, some countries refuse immigration to those who have less than desirable credit scores.

As for taxes – SARS is lenient in some cases and offers grace under voluntary disclosure, but it’s best to tackle such issues early and not hold thumbs to see if you can get away with things.

For instance: if you’re planning on relocating in a year or two, consult a cross-border tax practitioner who can advise on suitable steps to present your financial portfolio in such a way that it is desirable for your new home and satisfies South African authorities.

Talk to Rand Rescue

If you’re considering a move, whether in the next few months or two years from now, talk to Rand Rescue and let us help you get your finances above board.

We work with South Africans the world over, and are trusted experts in cross-border administration.

Simply leave your details and we’ll get back to you!

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