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Becoming an Expat

Leaving the UK

Here's a forum to talk about all the ins and outs of leaving the UK and launching yourself into the wide blue yonder - selling up, saying goodbyes, all that sort of thing. NB - this is NOT for country-specific issues; please post those on the appropriate country forum.

Leaving the UK

Postby TimC » Mon 2 Jul 2012 15:23 GMT


I've posted this on some other forums I frequent but I recently found out about this place and figured it would make sense to post it here.

I am currently UK based and full time employed. I am in the process of working out my notice period of 1 month before I switch to being full time self-employed(ish)

I've done some calculations and I can afford to live (without earning) for about 6 months on the money I have set aside, provided I am really careful.

However, I have managed to secure a couple of sources of income that will bring in a bit of extra cash each month but nothing compared to what my full time income is at the moment. On top of that, I am going to increase my efforts working on my various projects that I have got going with the intention of bringing more income from them.
I've tried to structure it in such a way that I can do the majority of work I will be doing in my new venture on line.

What I am considering doing is relocating somewhere where the cost of living is cheaper than it is here in the UK. That obviously gives me a lot of options, so to narrow it down it would have to be somewhere with good, reliable, affordable internet and communications links (to allow me to continue working). I would like it to be somewhere with decent weather because I am truly sick of the weather in this country. I love scuba diving, so somewhere I can do that would definitely be a plus, especially as I am a qualified DM and could potentially dive for free, if not get paid for it. I am not averse to learning a new language, although this would obviously present additional challenges at first.

Any suggestions from you guys? This idea is still in its nascent stages at the moment and I am just starting to put the feelers out. Kay - I get the impression you might already be doing something similar? I know that you run an expat forum. Is this the kind of thing I could get help with on over there?

I have lived in/travelled to places such as Thailand, most of Southern Africa, OZ, NZ, etc in the past.

I am discounting OZ and NZ because the cost of living is too high. Africa interests me but my concerns there are the communication links.

I'm considering the possibility of southern Europe - I've been to Spain numerous times but don't speak too much Spanish. Is a Brit moving to Spain too much of a cliché though? Perhaps Portugal? Living in the EU would have a number of advantages such as not having to worry about visas, being able to get back to the UK quickly if I needed to but the scuba diving might not be great.

Thoughts? Feelings? (Apart from telling me I've lost the plot of course!)

I forgot to ask, does any one know of any good on line resources where I can find out things like the cost of living in a particular location, the reliability of internet access, etc? I spent a couple of months in Thailand a few years ago and whilst I know it's cheap over there I'm not sure what getting access to internet would be like.

I haven't put this in a country specific forum, because it's not country specific. I'm trying to figure out how to work out the best place to go to. Although, I guess I wouldn't have to limit myself to a single location, I could move around and become nomadic.
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Postby gozomark » Mon 2 Jul 2012 16:29 GMT

Have you thought about Malta ? Seems to tick all your boxes, and they speak English :-)
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Postby Dave » Mon 2 Jul 2012 17:27 GMT

Hi, Tim, and welcome - and thanks for a thought-provoking post.

I certainly wouldn't say you've lost the plot. Many of the reasons you put forward for wanting to become an expat are commonly cited here (as well as being dear to my own heart!).

One thing I would say, though, is that unless you really are comfortable living out of suitcases you're likely to find nomadic life either very spartan or worryingly expensive. (Both, if you're living in global cities.)

I wouldn't recommend making it a long-term thing if your resources are numbered in thousands rather than tens of thousands. If you can afford to, it'd be better to do more research, visit the best prospects in person, and then have an extended stay in the best one or two to see if you could settle there.

Bear in mind also that the costs of having to leave and re-enter your chosen country to comply with visa regs can mount up very quickly; and that if the regs change to your disadvantage, that could easily add to your costs.

So from that point of view, Mark's suggestion could well be worth pursuing. :-)
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Postby Kay » Mon 2 Jul 2012 18:20 GMT

Hi Tim

Welcome! I'm pretty sure we've already met elsewhere. :D Make yourself at home. Explore what we have to offer and ask as many questions as you like. Glad to have you aboard and good luck with your planned move.

gozomark will of course suggest that you relocate to Gozo. He runs the BE call centre from there where he hires dozens of dogs to reply to the postings on the Malta forum. He's always looking for volunteers to come and feed the dogs.

I would recommend Cambodia, as I usually do. But it'll be interesting to see if anyone else recommends any particular country.

Anyway, welcome again and I hope you find the place useful.

Here's some stuff about Cambodia, just in case you might be interested:
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Postby Graeme » Tue 3 Jul 2012 00:27 GMT

Fiji sounds as if it would fit the bill, good internet excellent scuba...not too far from Australia but far enough. Friendly people great weather, cheap beer and the ability to travel island to island. Bula, it would be my choice.
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Postby SteveGill » Wed 15 Aug 2012 21:17 GMT

Sorry for digging up an old thread. Have you made any more decisions on what you're going to do?

Remember as a UK resident you're taxed on your worldwide income, until you prove you no longer have substantial ties to the UK (and even then, if you leave during a tax year they could potentially tax you on all income up until the end of that tax year).

I'd strongly recommend Malta, even if its a stepping stone to somewhere else. Good diving (I believe - I can't cope with diving myself :D) and it has double tax treaties with the UK.

I'd recommend you get tax advice before you finalise what you want to do - if you get it wrong, the tax man has a long memory. Also note some other countries tax you on worldwide income as well - I believe Spain has quite high tax rates (although I'm not fully up to speed on that).

Best of luck with whatever you decide!
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