September has hit us, the summer season has well and truly gone and we can confidently say that 2021 has been another rollercoaster.
Some of you might now be looking at making big changes in your lives and we champion that. One of those changes might be to move abroad. Whether that's to capture more of the summer sun, enjoy a new lifestyle, seek new employment or just want a change after the recent challenging times. People move and buy property abroad for many reasons.
In 2018, according to the Office of National Statistics, 66% of the 785,000 Brits living in an EU country were of working age (16-64). How Brexit and COVID have impacted that figure is yet to be seen. Whatever the motivation, you need to consider the potential risks, what rights you have and understand all the processes involved.
We advise that you always seek professional help before making any big decisions, but to help you out, here are some things to think about.
Banks & Pensions
When you leave the UK, you can keep using your UK bank account, but you might find it easier to open one in the country where you are now living. This can help get rid of regular transaction fees and make your everyday life a little easier. It also helps to keep this open, should you plan on moving back to the UK at any point.
As for your pension, we know you might have a few more concerns. There are many options open to you, including transferring your pension into a scheme abroad. In terms of a state pension, you can still receive this if you have contributed to national insurance. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) release into lost pensions (2018) detailed that there is likely £20bn in aggregate value in lost pensions alone. This is a staggering 50 times the previous estimate of £400 Million.
Overseas tracing can be notoriously difficult. If you are worried about losing touch with your financial assets, you can become a member of the consumer database. This will help ensure that you stay in touch with your finances whether in the UK or abroad.
HMRC & Student Loans
It's quite common for someone to think that when they leave the UK, they no longer have to pay any tax. Sadly, this isn't true. Whilst expats might be exempt from certain taxes, it doesn't mean you won't have to pay any income tax. You can contact HMRC regarding what you might need to pay.
For student loans, you need to contact the Student Loans Company and they will let you know if you need to pay anything whilst abroad. If you do, you will then need to make payments online or by international bank transfer.
Mortgages & Utilities
Make sure to contact your utility provider (gas, electric, water etc) to inform them of your new address. For your mortgage, contact your provider also to ensure that you are not breaking the terms of your loan agreement.
Selling Your Property
Whilst selling your home might be an obvious solution when moving abroad, you might leave yourself in a difficult situation should things not work out. You could look at renting your property to bring in some extra income. Whatever you decide to do, the rules and taxes surrounding this will be different depending on what country you are moving to. Make sure to research the property market and speak with local estate agents - spend the same amount of time as you would when buying a property at home.
As of January 2021, you now need to meet certain requirements to move to a certain country. If you are moving to mainland Europe, you can apply for an EU Blue Card, which would allow a qualified worker to live and work within the EU. As for other countries, you can contact their UK based embassy to check what documentation you will need. Make sure to do this well ahead of time as the application processes can be lengthy.
We know that there are many steps when it comes to moving out of the UK which involves many hurdles. For many of you who are reading this now, we suspect your mind might already be made up. Our ongoing methodology of fair regulation and up to date resources makes sure that whatever you need, we are best equipped to help or at least, point you in the right direction.