Settling In To Your New Life As An Expat

By Financial News
Settling In To Your New Life As An Expat

Expats overseas for the first time have to think about more than how their first day at work might go.

Many big corporations have dedicated staff in HR departments to help the settling in process, but for those new to living and working in another country, here’s a list of just a few major points to consider:

Where will you live?

A hotel or company flat might sound good, but after a short while, you will want somewhere to call home, especially if you have a family.

It’s a good idea to try renting before you buy – that way you can explore your new surroundings without making an expensive mistake in buying.

Also consider fitting out your home – renting furniture and appliances might turn out better financially.

Family matters

Taking a family overseas involves some big decisions about education, medical care and security. Language can also be an issue.

Make sure you know how to handle a family emergency by finding out about doctors, dentists pharmacies and hospitals – like how to contact them, opening hours and how to get there.

Schooling is also a top-of-the-list topic for expats. A good way of finding good schools is by taking to other expats with families around the same age as yours.

International removals

Put your UK furniture and belongings in to storage and then ship when you are settled. Pick a reputable removal firm with the right insurance cover – and read the small print of any contracts.

In Europe, expats generally ship their belongings in a container by road and rail. Moving further afield will probably involve a ship.

DIY international removals are fraught with problems – especially if customs wants to inspect your container, leaving you with everything to pack back in at the port or border crossing.


Finances covers a whole range of issues – a local bank account and debit or credit cards to pay day-to-day bills, medical insurance and life cover.

Also consider whether to shift your pension in to a qualifying recognised overseas pension (QROPS), depending on your expat status.

The first step to expat financial planning is determining your status as a UK resident, which may need specialist advice.

Your partner

Spouses and partners can feel isolated while the rest of the family is at work or school – especially if they do not speak the local language. Make sure they are part of move and help out with finding your other half part time work or some activities that fill the time you and the children are not there.

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