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Emigrating after lockdown

Every year there’s a “global shift”. Millions of people move from one country to another, in search of greener pastures, to reunite with family, or to expose themselves to new things. The immigration landscape looks quite different this year, especially when compared to the previous years. This year global lockdowns and the threat of the pandemic have left immigrants uncertain of their next steps and completely bewildered about what to expect when relocating after the COVID-19 dust settles.

What to consider when emigrating from South Africa, post covid-19 lockdown

Gone are the days when you could pack your bags on a whim and simply emigrate from South Africa with a bit of basic planning. Now, there’s a lot more to think about before heading to distant shores. If you’re keen on emigrating from South Africa in 2021 or in the years to follow, there are a few things to keep in mind – these are covered in more detail below.

Get your finances in order

Emigrating is a costly endeavour normally, but during a pandemic it puts you in a bit of a vulnerable position. You might find yourself feeling even more vulnerable than expected. Getting help can be challenging in a new country, especially when everyone is stressing about health issues and frustrated with the starting and ending of various levels of lockdowns. It’s therefore a good idea to make sure that your finances are in order. Consider the following areas of finance that you might overlook:

  • Possible health insurance fees
  • Taxes
  • Pension
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Living finances for the first few months

Keep shipping delays in mind

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected a lot of things; shipping included. If you’re hoping to ship your furniture overseas to your new country, keep in mind that you may have to wait a while for it to arrive. As such, you may need a home that is partly furnished at first, just until the shipping backlog due to COVID-19 restrictions is sorted out. Opting for a furnished rental for your first few months will help you to avoid being caught out with a cold empty home when you arrive on the other side. Perhaps stay with family at first, if that is an option. Make sure that you communicate clearly with your chosen shipping company and that they can provide you with reliable information regarding the delivery date of your goods.

Every country has its own pandemic travel policy in place

Everything might be in place from your side, but just because you’re ready to emigrate, it doesn’t mean that the country you are heading to is ready to accept immigrants. Many countries have closed their borders at the moment, only allowing Nationals to pass through. Even if your destination country’s borders are open right now, the rules are ever-changing, which means that they could close in the interim. It’s important to keep a close eye on the travel and immigration policy of your new country throughout your planning process.

Avoid trouble with the law

If you travel to a new country as soon as South Africa comes out of lockdown and you disregard the lockdown or COVID-19 rules in your new country, you could find yourself detained, deported, or heavily fined. To make sure that you don’t get caught out breaking laws that you aren’t even aware about, do your research. Here are a few things to familiarise yourself with:

  • Does the destination country require you to have a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative test result before you arrive?
  • Is there a quarantine policy in place for when you arrive?
  • What are the rules regarding mask wearing?
  • Are there any curfews in place?

Consider schooling issues

Many countries have closed their schools, so if you arrive in the middle of a lockdown or just after one, chances are that your kids won’t be able to attend school immediately. They may need to quarantine or do home learning if the school is closed.  Make sure that you are in contact with your children’s new school.

Making friends might be on hold

Most global communities are social distancing and keeping to themselves at the moment. If you are hoping to move to a new country right now and throw yourself into a thriving expat community and make new local friends, you are probably going to feel disappointed. It may take a while for things to go back to normal. Be prepared to feel lonely or isolated. In the meantime, mitigate the negative feelings by joining online expat groups in your area until it’s possible to enjoy public meet-ups again.

Don’t give up! Your emigration dreams can still come to life after COVID-19 lockdowns

For many, the lockdowns and disruptions over the previous year have been off-putting for their emigration dreams, but now is the time to stay focused and committed. Yes, things have been waylaid, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t happen. You simply need to plan meticulously, do your research, and be well prepared. At FinGlobal we are able to assist you with a large part of the financial planning involved.

At FinGlobal, we take extra care to advise and guide our clients through the tax and financial emigration process, even during current lockdowns. We are familiar with the latest updates to South African emigration laws and rules affecting expats and soon-to-be expats right now. While our focus is on tax emigration and financial emigration from South Africa, we are also well versed in helping South African expats understand tax requirements in their new country and how to go about acquiring access to the funds in their SA based retirement annuity. Regardless of where you are headed in the near future, the team at FinGlobal is ready to assist you. For more information and guidance, simply contact us.