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Unexpected costs of moving abroad

With remote working more accepted in a post pandemic world many more people are considering a permanent move aboard but experts have warned them to be fully aware of costs.

Relocation experts from International Citizens Insurance have researched and revealed the most expensive charges incurred by expats.

Living and working in the UK has innumerable benefits but for those brimming with wanderlust a permanent trip abroad may be more appealing.

However, the grass is not always greener as factors such as salary, tax and travel must be considered to calculate an accurate cost figure.

Visa charges, customs duty and even pensions should all be considered when moving abroad, meaning it’s often wiser to stay put.

But some costs, like those involved with physically transporting your belongings, can be lessened by doing proper research and considering multiple options beforehand.

A spokesperson for International Citizens Insurance commented: “Working abroad provides a great opportunity to delve deep into a country’s culture – but it might not be all sun and siestas.

“The whole process can be incredibly expensive and stressful, as so many factors need to be taken into account.

“However, by spending time researching each and every cost that can incur, you could save a lot of hassle in the long run.”

1. Healthcare:

A dose of sun may be good for your health, but not every country has the luxury of a state funded health service. Some employers may offer a basic health care packages however it is important to consider who else may require coverage – family members, for example. In European countries British citizens can currently receive reduced or free healthcare if needed. However, this is likely to change when the UK leaves the EU. Medical bills can accumulate in to the hundreds of thousands, so it is important to ensure that full coverage is agreed beforehand.

2. Education:

When children are involved in the move their needs must also be considered, and also their futures. Would they want to go an international university or benefit from the UK governments support for fee’s? International school fees across the globe range from on average £7000 and can go up to £18000 like in Switzerland. Some employers may offer assistance to entice young professionals, which is common in the Arab countries.

3. Visa 

A working visa is hard to accumulate in countries like Cuba whilst Cambodia welcomes all workers from every sector and is cheap and easy to get a hold of. British citizens may find it easier to get a permit to work within Europe however further afield it may be piles of paperwork and fees before the flight can even be booked. Factor in the need for the specific skill set in that country when working out how easy it is to obtain.

4. Shipping

Often overlooked as many will focus on the cost of travel, the price of shipping possessions abroad can quickly stack up in the thousands if shipped via air, and the cheaper option of shipping via sea cargo may see your goods taking over two months to get to the final destination. Instead consider using shipping companies specialising in individuals moving abroad.

5. Pensions

This might not be an immediate concern for young professionals, but it is important to consider. There have been many complaints from expats of frozen pensions, which means that those who have immigrated outside the European area (and Switzerland) do not qualify for any future increases. This can be harmful to overall financial health and could mean losing out on thousands of pounds.

6. Property laws

When moving permanently abroad or for an extended period of time it’s likely that renting may not be cost efficient. But when purchasing property, it’s important to take care with regards to the laws and regulations. Some nations may have red tape regarding inheriting property or selling a building as a foreigner, which when overlooked could leave a very difficult legal battle before the property is passed on.

7. Tax

Depending on your residency status it may be likely that tax in the UK must still be paid even when abroad. However, when taxed in two countries relief is occasionally offered. Due to different tax brackets even if the salary is higher the take home pay may in fact be less. Belgium is currently the world’s highest taxed country, ranging anywhere from 25% to 50%.

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