Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some Things to Consider Before Making the Big Move

by Expat Focus columnist, Toni Hargis

Toni Hargis
About the Author

Toni Hargis is the author of the popular expat book "Rules, Britannia; An Insider’s Guide to Life in the United Kingdom" and blogs as Expat Mum

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, approximately 172,000 Brits left their homeland in 2008, with only half leaving for work reasons. The rest were accompanying someone, looking for work or just travelling around, presumably in search of a better life. It’s more difficult to get US figures, as the government measures immigration but curiously, not emigration; a recent UN report* however, states that in 2009 three per cent of the world’s population (200 million) lived in a country other than the one in which they were born. In short, there are a lot of people relocating around the globe.

If you’re a migrant moving by choice, the grass may well be greener where you’re headed, but it won’t always be plain sailing. Here are a few things you should think about before taking the plunge:

Be prepared – From the practical to the cerebral, there are lots of things you can anticipate to make your relocation smoother. Expat American Michele Oyen recalls “The biggest hassle of moving for me had to do with banking and credit cards; there are plenty of things I could have done that would have improved my life if I had set up international banking services before I left the US.”

(A note to Americans from the IRS, “If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.”)

It helps to read about the culture into which you are heading, even when you think it’s not going to be too different from where you are. Adds Oyen, “The irony is that it never occurred to me to look into advice for expats before I moved--no books, blogs, or any of the other resources available. I'd certainly advise someone to look.” Indeed, with the amount of information readily available on the Web, there’s no excuse these days...

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1 comment:

expat world said...

Yes we really need to consider it