Hidden financial and legal hurdles cause most expat stress

Published:  6 Nov at 6 PM
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A recently released survey warns that would-be expats seeking a new life overseas should watch out for hidden hurdles such as tax and currency issues or unfamiliar legalities.

Up to 400,000 Brits emigrate every year, with most citing a more relaxed lifestyle as a major reason for their life-changing decision. However, the survey revealed that it’s not the most alien destinations as regards language and culture which cause the most stress – it’s mostly all-time favourite English-speaking countries such as Australia and the USA.

South Africa headed up the list of the 10 most stressful destinations for expats, with the USA and Australia following close behind. New Zealand, Canada, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, France and Germany made up the remainder, all of which are deemed popular with British migrants.

South Africa’s convoluted property laws, increasing street violence and crime and high unemployment figures were responsible for its no.1 position on the list, and Australia’s complicated tax laws, unfriendly visa system and unstable currency resulted in its no.2 listing. The USA, Canada and Italy cause expat stress due to their complex property purchase laws, and New Zealand’s 18-month plus wait for a visa is off-putting at the very least.

Americans may very well speak a form of English, but many UK expats find the similarity with their home country stops there. Legalities, the social structure, the gun-toting culture and the problems of obtaining a long-stay visa create the perfect storm for expat psychological stress.

Even heading for one of Europe’s familiar resort regions isn’t as easy as it sounds, as language issues can make acclimatisation a slow process, especially in more remote areas away from conventional tourism hubs. Wherever your dream destination is located, planning ahead to avoid unnecessary stress requires research and trustworthy assistance wherever possible.
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