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A Discussion About Emerging Market Relocation

Significant segments of this article were originally published by Executive Expatriate Relocations Middle East (EERME).

As the world collectively attempts to combat the impact of the recent global pandemic, much of the focus is on rebuilding and strengthening economies. Governments and organisations continue to determine which avenues and actions will be most beneficial, both in the short term and the long term. One undeniable source of economic growth is geographical expansion, particularly into areas that will be a catalyst for new consumers and new revenue streams; this is where emerging markets come in. For many companies emerging markets offer a unique opportunity for development, but any potential prosperity is highly dependent on a successful relocation strategy, which can be more challenging than expected.

Our MD, Rene Stegmann, recently joined EER’s Marie O’Neill, Elite Woodhams Relocation’s Anna Kavelj, and A.P. Moller-Maersk’s Tamlyn Kuhn in a EuRA webinar about Considerations When Relocating to Emerging Markets. Together, they examined the crucial considerations required to take advantage of this lucrative arena.


The Importance of Emerging Markets

Coined by the World Bank in 1981, this phrase is intended to apply to any country or economy that has “some characteristics of a developed market, but does not fully meet its standards”.  Unsurprisingly many countries have found themselves shifting in and out of the moniker as their status adapts or circumstances change. Essentially though, markets that fall within and around the definition of ‘emerging’ continue to be of great interest when it comes to international expansion. Emerging markets offer enormous potential for diversification and growth. They often feature an ambitious population, fresh, creative talent, amenable governments and, of course, new demographics of consumers.  In the past engagement with emerging markets has helped propel the fortunes of organisations and the economies of their home nations exponentially and in turn transformed the landscape of the engaged market. In order to fully integrate with an emerging market, a company needs to facilitate a smooth relocation process and that is only possible if proper adherence is given to the challenges and obstacles that might be faced and expert help sought on how to avoid or overcome them.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Just so you know we really mean it.  Preparation is absolutely critical when it comes to emerging market relocation. Ensuring that you can do this successful is entirely related to your local connections. Without the proper research and knowledge, it becomes almost impossible to navigate the nuances of new destinations and avoid costly mistakes. Those considering relocation must ensure they have trusted in-country partners with expert local knowledge and an unimpeachable sense of how things work on the ground. By investing in forging those connections it is then possible to determine key aspects that will be required from your employees, your administration and your budget. Regional insights are always invaluable when it comes to relocation and that expertise can ensure a smoother process that means assignees can focus on their role and get stuck in from day one. Local partners can advise on elements such as:

  • Relevant requirements and laws to abide by, including taxes
  • Time lines and compliance for immigration and visa services
  • Potential customer bases and audience demographics
  • Best-suited locations for commercial and residential properties
  • Cultural customs and unique attributes
  • Employee relocation considerations from housing to schools, bank accounts to utilities

A Collaborative Approach

When any company is looking at emerging market relocation, the chance of success can be significantly increased if they adopt a collaborative approach across the whole organisation.  Every department needs to be comprehensively briefed so that objectives are understood and actions taken that facilitate their achievement efficiently. Procurement, HR, Senior Leadership and others need to make sure they are on the same page.  By implementing a robust talent management approach they can ensure they have the right people helping them on the ground, the right people coordinating the company’s new strategy and the right people to cope with the stresses of relocating their life.

Communication is King

As with many areas of business, communication is incredibly important. Any company looking to relocate to an emerging market needs to make sure it can effectively communicate with:

  • Local partners on what their objectives are and important cultural understandings
  • Relevant authorities on what rules and regulations will be
  • Internally with teams managing relocation and assignees being relocated
  • New audiences within the market on raising brand awareness and generating interest

Prioritizing communication and ensuring it remains consistent throughout the whole process can be a huge factor in avoiding potential pitfalls such as complex business requirements and ‘lost in translation’ mistakes.  It will also help to manage expectations. Expert DSPs will be able to communicate key information and potentially surprising aspects. They can relay that things may well work differently than expected such as overall concepts of time, common cultural attitudes, political upheaval, technology holes and problematic infrastructure.  They can also coordinate cultural training that can provide invaluable knowledge for the company and the assignee to understand their new environment and hit the ground running.

Ultimately emerging market relocation isn’t right for every company.  They need to weight the risk and reward elements of any expansion decision to prevent costly issues. Companies need to research the proposed location, connect with local experts, foster effective communication and choose the right assignee to undertake the challenge. If they can successfully do those things then they are left with nothing but potential and opportunity.

To watch the recorded webinar, click here, or watch it in the media player below.

To discuss relocating to emerging markets in more detail with us, and to find out how we might assist you with relocation services across Africa, feel free to contact us via the details below, or visit our website by clicking 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].

More Travelers Allowed to Visit South Africa: List of High-risk Countries Revised

There’s an average of 335 investors per day applying to visit South Africa, ‘sending a strong message that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination’.

The government on Monday issued a revised list of what it deems “high-risk countries”, based on a risk categorization model, in light of the current pandemic.  The list is compiled by ministers of health, home affairs and tourism, and was done in a way that “strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods”. 

No changes were made to travel in Africa. The only people from high-risk countries who are able to visit South Africa at the moment are those travelling for business, those that hold critical skills visas, investors, and those from sports, arts, culture and science international missions. 

Travelers from select European countries who usually visit South Africa in the summer to escape cold winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, many of whom own property, will also be allowed to visit South Africa.  However, this is subject to a three-month visitation period or longer, and Covid-19 protocols. 

Those seeking permission to travel to South Africa must email their requests, and provide a copy of their passport and temporary residence visa, proof of business activities to be undertaken, proof of travel itinerary and proof of address or accommodation. 

The email address that has been in operation has in the last two weeks received 4,701 applications. So far, 3,113 have been approved.  This amounts to an average of 335 investors per day applying to visit South Africa, “sending a strong message that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination”.  As such, capacity to manage the email account has been increased. 

Here is the latest list of high-risk countries still not allowed to travel to South Africa for leisure travel: 

  • Argentina
  • Germany
  • Peru
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Belgium
  • Indonesia
  • Russia
  • Brazil
  • Iran
  • Spain
  • Canada
  • Iraq
  • United Kingdom
  • Chile
  • Italy
  • USA
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Netherlands

 

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].

Relocation Africa’s Algerian Immigration Interview

Our Immigration Lead, Lynn Mackenzie, recently had the pleasure of speaking to François, our Algerian immigration partner, about Algeria’s current immigration landscape.

To listen to Lynn and Nicole’s conversation about immigration in the current context, click here to view the recording, or view it below.

We would like to say a huge thank you to François for his insights. We hope you enjoy the recording.

 

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].

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].

South Africa Has Opened Up Visa-free Travel to These 11 Countries

Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has announced visa-free travel for 11 countries in an effort to boost tourism to the country.

In a media briefing on Sunday (4 October), Motsoaledi said that the visa-free status of citizens of some countries and territories was temporarily suspended at the start of the lockdown period.

“In line with the commitment of Government to take urgent steps to address the economic and tourism stagnation brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19, visa-free status of citizens from a number of countries and territories has been reinstated.”

However, the minister said that visa-free status does not alter the current Covid-19 regulations, including with regards to the bans in place for leisure travelers from high-risk countries, as determined by the South African Government.

The countries include (bolded are high risk):

  • South Korea;
  • Spain;
  • Italy;
  • Germany;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Singapore;
  • USA;
  • UK;
  • France;
  • Portugal;
  • Iran.

Motsoaledi said he has instructed officials to communicate this decision to the aviation industry, embassies and other stakeholders as a matter of urgency.

“The port managers have been instructed to adhere to the SADC protocol and guidelines regulating the movement of essential goods under Covid-19 regulations.

“The guidelines regulating truck drivers travelling across the border will continue to apply as has been the case for the past seven months,” he said.

The minister said that immigration officers will be required to assess the movement and place of origin of the traveller and not the country of origin of the airline concerned.

“Transit travellers through South Africa by air will be allowed to connect to their destinations, subject to them complying with applicable health protocols but need not produce the 72 hours negative certificate.”

High-risk countries 

Motsoaledi said that any person from a country listed as having a high Covid-19 infection and transmission rate, who wish to undertake business travel into South Africa, may, in writing, apply to the Department of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter the Republic for business purposes during the period of the national state of disaster.

Such applications must be directed to email Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za and supported by:

  • A copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa;
  • Proof of business activities to be undertaken in the republic;
  • Proof of travel itinerary; and
  • proof of address or accommodation in the republic.

The list of these high-risk countries will be updated fortnightly, said Motsoaledi.

“Immigration officers have been instructed to apply the requirements with a measure of flexibility in order to allow applications for business travel to be lodged at the ports of entry if and when necessary and await the outcome before entry into the republic is allowed,” he said,

All other categories of travellers from medium and low-risk countries are required to produce a certificate of negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure, Motsoaledi said.

“Any person who fails to submit the certificate will be required to quarantine at his or her own cost.”

 

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].