Emigration with a smile

Published:  26 Nov at 6 PM
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Living, working or retiring abroad is the end of the rainbow for many disgruntled Brits these days, with many planning to chase their dream as far as is necessary.

The expat experience is seldom what was expected in the months of planning and getting ready to leave. It can be emotionally and financially rewarding with careful planning but many are forced to return to the UK after losing everything.

The Foreign and Commonwealth office consider that success or failure depends on adequate planning and, although it’s often not that straightforward, their new checklist offers some useful suggestions for those wishing to join the six million overseas Britons. The first is thorough research online in all aspects of living in the chosen country.

Important points such as health costs, local customs, laws and how they are administered as well as tax liabilities for those planning to keep working should all be on the need-to--know list. Research also protects new arrivals from falling foul of dodgy property deals, culture clashes, even dodgier investment schemes and unexpected cost of living hikes.

Destinations on the opposite side of the world are the most popular nowadays, as Europe continues to struggle with recession and unemployment and the Americas battle crime and political chaos. Location is key, whether there’s a job or retirement waiting when you get there.

Asia’s main attraction nowadays is its cost-effectiveness, with housing and transportation at bargain-basement levels, at least for now. Greedy tax regimes are best avoided, including formerly popular havens such as Cyprus with its cash grab and Spain and France with their increased property taxes.
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