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How Much Does it Cost to Move Overseas? Here’s Part 1 of an SA to UK Example

This article was written by Sam Beckbessinger.

Part 1 of 2.

Hello, grownups 🙂

How are you hanging in there, chaps? I’ve pretty much degenerated into a pile of snack-crumbs and blankets by this point.

Today I’m taking a question about the costs of moving to another country.

Hi Sam! I know you moved to the UK recently. I wondered if you’d be comfortable sharing a rough estimate of your moving budget? My husband and I are talking about making a similar move sometime next year, and it would help our planning to have a better sense of how much we’d need to save up for it. Why reader, I LOVE sharing my budgets! Queen of Overshare, right here.

TL;DR: moving myself, my partner and our cat to the UK cost us about R185,000. I reckon if we’d been a bit more careful about a few things, we could have gotten that down to R150,000. If we hadn’t been so extremely lavish about it, we could have done it for R30-R50k.

Here’s a breakdown of what we actually spent, line by line.

Some notes on our budget:

We moved in January 2020. Prices have probably changed a bit since then, already.
We moved from Cape Town, South Africa to Cambridge, UK. If you want to know why, I wrote about that decision here.
My household consists of me, my partner, and our cat (Sir Digby Chicken Caesar).
We did get a moving stipend from my partner’s new company, so we were a bit less frugal than we would have been if it was entirely our own money.
Your budget will depend on a few variables. Obviously, the biggest one is where you’re moving to, but five other factors are:

  • How many people are moving?
  • How complicated is your visa situation?
  • Are you bringing pets?
  • Are you bringing any stuff?
  • Will you have to financially emigrate?

Obviously, if you’re 22 and single and naturally nomadic and you’re just bringing your clothes, moving overseas is hella simple. I, however, am no longer 22, and I’m a nester, so my move required about as much planning as a space shuttle launch. Many spreadsheets were involved.

Moving the people

You might be tempted to book your flights far in advance so you can get the best deal on flight tickets. Resist this temptation. You can’t fly until your visas are finalized and your pets are approved to travel (if you have pets), and both of these factors are hopelessly unplannable. This can all turn into some pretty complicated schedule-Tetris, so flights should be one of the last things you book.

When you’re building your budget, anticipate that you might need to pay a bit more than you think, in order to find a flight that works with your timing.

It’s worth paying for a couple of extra pieces of luggage to bring with you on the plane. You’re not going to have anything except what you bring on the flight with you, for a long time.

Our flight costs for 2 people from Cape Town to London, including 1 excess bag, were R17,372.

Securing visas/residence permits

My partner’s an EU citizen (lucky bastard) so the entirety of his application took 40 minutes and was totally free.

My own visa situation was a lot more complicated, so we decided it would be worth paying immigration consultants to talk me through the Vogonesque application process. We used a company called Breytenbachs, who were knowledgeable and reassuring. There were one or two small hiccups in the process, mostly because I made the questionable decision to try to move to England mid-Brexit, just as all their rules were changing.

Overall, I was glad that there were people that I could call with my questions when things got confusing. That said, this did end up being one of the most expensive parts of the process. I’d suggest to someone else going through this process that it’s worth paying for some specific consultations to clear up questions you have, but do the actual application process yourself.

My visa ended up costing us R16,838, but if we’d done more of the process ourselves we could have kept this under R10,000.

Moving the cat

Transporting my pavement-special cat across the world is probably the single most boujie thing I’ve ever done. It was also, without a doubt, the most stressful part of the whole experience.

Would I do it all again? Absolutely. I love that little furry idiot.

Different countries have different rules about what you have to do to import pets. For the UK, they don’t have to be quarantined, but they do have to go for a series of shots and tests over the course of four months before they can fly. This ultimately ended up controlling our timelines – we were ready to go long before our cat was. So, if you’re bringing a pet, getting the clock started on this process is the very first thing you need to take care of.

It’s also worth knowing that there are completely different protocols for travelling on the same day as your pet (you don’t have to be on the same flight), or travelling separately to them. You have to decide early on which approach you’re going to take, and if you’re travelling together, don’t book your own flight until you have solid timelines for your pet’s.

I did a lot of shopping around, trying to figure out if we could move the cat more cheaply by handling a lot of the admin ourselves. Ultimately, it didn’t seem worth it, so we decided to go with pet transport company called PetPort who walked us through the whole process from beginning to end. I can’t recommend PetPort highly enough. They were proactive, helpful and communicative.

We also got some good advice directly from our vet, who really went above and beyond for us (including rushing out to do a last-minute panicked house-call on the day before we needed to fly because I couldn’t wrestle the damn hellcat into his carrier, and I had a one-hour window to get his papers signed by the state vet on the other side of town).

Overall, including vet bills, bringing our cat cost us (GASP) R25,613. Ja, I know. I could have left the little shit behind and bought a literal tiger cub instead.

In the next article, we will share the rest of Sam’s story, including what to take with and what to buy; finding somewhere to live; and info about financial emigration. Stay tuned for the second part.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Expat Nest Podcast: Global Greek Influence with Giota Pimenidou

Expat Nest has published a podcast in partnership with Giota Pimenidou. In this interview, “A psychologist’s entrepreneurial journey: From Greece to the Netherlands”, Giota and Vivian Chiona chat about the inspiration for Expat Nest as well as the increased demand for counselling services in March, when the coronavirus pandemic really started taking hold in Europe. They also discuss the urge to return home or change your job or question whether your partner is right for you – challenges that have arisen for many during lock-down.

You can find the interview on podcast platforms including Anchor FM, iTunes, Spotify, Breaker, Listen Notes, Google podcasts, Overcast, Apple Podcasts, Pocketcast, and RadioRepublic.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].



South Africans Are Reducing Stress and Saving Money By ‘Semigrating’ Due to New Remote Work Structures

As more workers switch to remote working during lock-down, a growing number of South Africans are looking to emigrate out of major towns and cities says Chas Everitt International property group.

Everitt said that many more people and companies have had to switch to remote working mode to survive and have realised that:

  • It is much easier than they thought;
  • It does not necessarily mean a drop in productivity; in fact, people are often more productive when working from home;
  • Many types of work lend themselves to working remotely on a permanent basis – and from wherever one prefers to live.

“We are thus not surprised that more employees as well as executives are now seriously exploring the idea of moving away from a big metro to a smaller town or an estate in a more rural area,” said Everitt.

“This pandemic has been a wake up call for many people and families who are now seriously reassessing their priorities, and seeking ways to make permanent changes to achieve a lifestyle that is less rushed and stressed, and we see this reflected in a significant increase in enquiries for country homes.”

In keeping with international trends, however, Everitt said that most do not want to relocate to another province or region, but just to a small town or estate that offers the possibility of a quieter life and is still within a couple of hours’ drive of their origin city – particularly if their friends or family members still live there.

The City of Cape Town is the most expensive metropolitan area in South Africa for rental prices. Many simply cannot afford to live in the city anymore, and are seeking homes elsewhere now that they have the freedom to work from home, alleviating much financial stress.

Everitt said the areas that could be prime targets for this process of “de-urbanisation” in South Africa are:

  • The Cape West coast;
  • The Winelands;
  • The Garden Route;
  • The Little Karoo;
  • The North Coast of KZN;
  • Hartebeespoort;
  • The Vaal;
  • Lanseria;
  • The Waterberg in Limpopo;
  • Towns in Mpumalanga close to Mbombela and the Kruger National Park.

Everitt said that not all towns in these areas will immediately benefit from this trend.

He said those areas that can attract the “de-urbanites” with good municipal management, reliable power and water supplies, reliable and fast internet connectivity, reasonable proximity to an airport, good shopping and medical facilities and good schools if they have children will prosper most.

Looking at the type of properties these new semigrants are likely to buy, he said, there is already high demand among affluent buyers for homes in out-of-town lifestyle estates.

These include Val de Vie, Pearl Valley and Boschenmeer in the Wineleands, for example, as well as the golf estate in Mossel Bay, the estates at the Vaal and around Hartebeespoort and the high-end estates along the KZN North coast such as Zimbali, Simbithi and Mount Edgecombe.

“We expect to see rising demand for ordinary freehold homes and whatever apartments may be available in and around various small towns – and possibly also for smallholdings where young families can keep horses or some livestock, go off-grid and grow their own food if they wish.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Moving Overseas: From Shipping and Insurance to Pets and Cars, Our Latest Video Covers It All

When it comes to moving overseas, there are many factors to consider. From how to pack and ship your goods, to whether to take your car with, to how to move your beloved pets, to whether your valuables will be insured if damaged, to how to reduce stress in the family.

Quintin Coetzee, our Marketing Assistant, recently interviewed owner and Managing Director of Kings International Removers, Rolf Lamers, about all of the above and more.

In this video interview, they cover a wide variety of topics pertaining to moving internationally. Feel free to watch it below, or click the link here to go to YouTube, where there are section links in the description for you to click to parts you’re most interested in hearing about.

Thank you again to Rolf for participating in this interview. For more information about Kings International, click here. We hope you find the video informative, and hope you learn a little more about what the process of becoming an expat is like.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Expat Nest Podcast: Thriving Abroad Together with Louise Wiles

Expat Nest has published a podcast in partnership with expat coach and author Louise Wiles, that focuses on everything from love to parenting to lock-down. This interview is rich in practical coping strategies for dealing both with lock-down and stress.

Listen to the discussion here.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].