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How to prepare for a move overseas

Mar 29 2017

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Preparing for a move overseas can create a lot of unwanted stress. Dealing with this on top of the pressure of a new job can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are some necessary steps to help prepare for a move overseas.

The list

The use of a list is very undervalued. The process of moving overseas entails many steps and processes. Writing these things down and having them easily accessible anywhere is key. It could be an app on your phone, a notepad, or a plain text file that you keep in Dropbox, whatever works best for you. Applications like Evernote syncs across all your devices, allowing the list to be accessed and edited wherever. You'll think of things while you're on the go, it's much easier to write them down right away before other distractions make you forget.

Get the tedious tasks out of the way

Mail is the first step. You'll need to get in touch with everyone who sends you important mail, banks, superannuation funds, insurance providers, accountants and the Australian Tax Office all need to be informed you are moving overseas.  Australia Post can also redirect your mail overseas for up to 12 months (for a cost).

You will need to register yourself as an overseas voter with the Australian Electoral Commission. There are separate forms you'll need to fill out depending on which state you live in, and you can even elect to be removed from the electoral roll altogether while you're overseas.

Insurance

Insurance is a necessity. Depending on length of stay and location, insurance may be mandatory as part of your visa application. Attaining insurance for the full amount of time you are staying is important. If you don’t do this, your work permit could be reduced to correspond with the expiration of your insurance.  Some companies don’t offer insurance for more than 12 months, so make sure to do your research.

Health check

Travel insurance normally covers emergencies but exclude normal appointments and check-ups. Seeing a doctor at your destination country can be an expensive exercise until you become eligible under the public healthcare system, that is assuming they have a public healthcare system. Australia has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK and other European countries, but there will be waiting periods and exclusions.  It’s wise to visit your general practitioner for one last check up before you leave.

Sell, store and ship

If you're going overseas for good, the easiest and most logical thing to do is sell your furniture and any valuables you can't take with you. Even if you are returning, it’s a good opportunity to upgrade furniture and appliances. If you list your items in a correct manner, they will move quickly.

One option is to rent or sublet your place fully furnished to someone else, which could be ideal if you're reluctant to let go of your furniture or want to keep your property. If you take this route, you must ensure that you have a tenant full time, you don’t want to be paying living expenses in two different countries.

If you want to keep your furniture or any other valuables, consider storage. Justifying a period longer than two years is difficult due to costs. If you do decide to put your items into storage, choose a fixed-term storage solution that you can't access instead of a self-storage solution, this will save you more money.

If it's important to you to bring your furniture and prized possessions with you, then shipping is the way to go.  PACK & SEND offer affordable prices for shipping larger items. Be aware that shipping items via sea freight can take months to arrive at the destination and in some countries will need to pass quarantine.  It's advisable to bring your small valuable items with you in your luggage and send anything small that you can't fit in luggage via an express courier service.  This ensures you're not waiting months for anything important to arrive.

Finances

If you don’t have an accountant, it’s worth seeing one before you leave. Having an accountant that knows your finances will be better, so think ahead and hire one a couple of months before you go.

There are many tax implications associated with a permanent or long-term move overseas. Having an expert explain them to you will save you the headache later on. Your accountant will provide you with information about which country you will be required to pay tax in, reducing tax, early tax returns and more.

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