Expat South Africa News

Latest 10 news items tagged South Africa

17 Apr at 6 PM 2014

Strong pound boosts expat spending power in South Africa, Turkey and Thailand

As the pound strengthens along with the recovery in the UK, a newly-introduced online currency index will help travellers and expats to select the countries with the most favourable rates. Fluctuating currency rates are an endless worry for most expats on UK pensions or with investments paying interest in sterling. Over the last year, the winners have been those living in South Africa, Turkey and Thailand, with the strong pound and weakness of local currencies granting them between 20 and 30 per cent more spending power. In...
14 Mar at 6 PM 2014

Plunging currencies encourage Brits to purchase overseas

Strengthened sterling as a result of confidence in the UK economy’s recovery and falling currencies in troubled regions of the world have sent would-be UK expats on a bargain-hunting buying frenzy. Spain and France are at the top of most wish-lists, with the lower end of the Spanish property market still falling and entire abandoned villages on the market for less than a London garage. France’s real estate sector is still underperforming, and Greek property prices fell a further nine per cent last year. Surprise entries to the...
3 Mar at 6 PM 2014

Expat retirees forced back to UK by frozen pension scandal

British pensioners who emigrated to be with grandchildren or for health reasons are being forced to return to the UK because their pensions are frozen in their host countries. An example of the desperate decisions being taken by many elderly Brits who moved abroad to be with loved ones or to take advantage of warmer weather for their healths’ sake is a 90-year old grandmother who moved to Canada in 2001. An IT lecturer during her working life, she made the move to be close to her daughter and grandchildren who’d emigrated a few...
19 Feb at 6 PM 2014

Will new Gibraltar QROPS undermine Guernsey negotiations

Questions are being asked about the future of QROPS offered by Guernsey after two new QROPS were opened in Gibraltar. Concept Group, one of the sector’s largest providers of Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension schemes, has opened two new pensions on Gibraltar aimed at getting back into the lucrative QROPS marketplace. Concept was effectively shut out of the market in 2012 after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) excluded 300 of its Guernsey-based offerings. The new QROPS are being marketed via Concept’s Aurora offshore pensions...
14 Feb at 6 PM 2014

Saudi bans women from hospital visits without male guardians

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars has banned women from visits to medical clinics or hospitals unless they are accompanied by a male guardian. The new rule was issued by the kingdom’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, and followed an edict by the council prohibiting women being seen by male doctors unless a male guardian was present. According to Qais al Mubarak, Islam does not permit the practice and women are prohibited from exposing their bodies to male doctors, except during medical...
14 Jan at 6 PM 2014

New take on currency exchange with person to person online service

A new internet start-up, launches three months ago, is bringing person-to-person currency exchange to expat travellers as well as their business counterparts. WeSwap is the brainchild of ex-corporate financial advisor Simon Sacerdoti and former currency trader Jared Jesner. It’s the world’s first person-to-person currency exchange service and charges just a one per cent flat fee. Cutting out traditional forms of currency exchange such as banks and bureaux de change outlets, the website allows matching of outbound and inbound...
13 Jan at 6 PM 2014

Singapore QROPS savers granted tax amnesty

Expat investors in Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes arranged before 24 September 2008 are being offered a tax amnesty by HM Revenue and Customs. Retirement savers who set up QROPS suspended by HRMC before that date will not be forced to pay the 55 per cent tax charge, unless it is proven that dishonesty or artificiality has taken place. The recent announcement by HMRC follows an unsuccessful court battle early last year. Former members of the Singapore QROPS (Roslip) challenged HMRC in the High Court after receiving...
1 Jan at 6 PM 2014

UK Electoral Commission aims to triple registrations by expat voters

The European Parliament elections in the UK are due to take place on 22 May 2014, with the Electoral Commission campaign aimed at encouraging expats in Europe to vote. Provided they are registered as overseas voters, have not been out of the UK for more than 15 years and are not registered to vote in the member state where they are domiciled, expats are entitled to vote. However, only a relatively small percentage are actually registered to do so in the UK. According to Rosemary Davenport, speaking for the Electoral Commission,...
30 Dec at 6 PM 2013

UK government blunder threatens efforts to end pension ripoffs

Just as the government seemed to be taking pensioners’ sides against rip-off charges by pension providers, an embarrassing blunder by the DWP may have put an end to the reforms. Following the shocking results of an investigation by the Daily Telegraph into the UK’s major pension providers, the government instigated a consultation on capping pension charges at 0.75p annually. The impact assessment provided as by the Department of Work and Pensions has now been branded unfit for its purpose, as it failed to take into account the...
13 Dec at 6 PM 2013

Expat pensioners protest against biannual proof of life rule

Pensioners rights campaigners are up in arms over last week’s Treasury announcement that UK expat pensioners over 75 years old need to regularly prove they’re still alive or have their pensions stopped. The controversial new rule is seen as yet another thorn in the side of retirees living abroad, as the time allocated for the form’s receipt, its countersigning by a reliable person and its resending could be impossible to comply with from remote destinations. Pensioners will be forced to notify the UK’s Department for Work and...