It is currently Mon 15 Jul 2019 22:13 GMT
Change font size

    Latest Message from British Expat:

  • Five questions about New Zealand – Quick Quiz
    New Zealand has its own distinct character which places it out on its own in more than a geographical sense. How much do you know about these fascinating islands?

Repatriation

Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Here's where to discuss the practicalities and issues involved in moving back to the UK.

Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Slowdive » Sat 27 Feb 2016 00:09 GMT

Hi everyone, especially Kay and Dave who I know from another forum a few years back. So as brief introduction, I am a british citizen who has never set foot in the UK. As such likely a debate in UK immigration legislation if one was that way inclined, but regardless you're soon to be stuck with me. Well I should say us as my wife will be joining me in the UK. A process I was horrified to discover was so indepth.
Regardless I guess we are somewhat spoilt, having live in South Africa and Namibia for most of our adult lives we are reasonable established and not in any state of needing to move.
In the next year or so we plan to begin the process of immigrating to the UK, motivated by two reasons. Its a wide world and we want to experience more of it. Secondly I definitely don't find South Africa and certainly not Namibia to be the horror story some disgruntled citizens advertise it as. I however do believe in voting with one's feet and at this moment I am giving taxes, skills and energy into a system I believe is being grossly mismanaged.

So as with anything, I have embarked on research and immersing myself in the idea of joining the "first world". Challenges I have isolated are going to be the weather and the incredibly strange financial rules around having a non EU spouse. At an exchange rate of 22 to 1 against the rand and climbing, it seems likely we will fall short of having sixty two thousand plus in the bank. So I am going to have to go and find gainful employment to the tune of 18,600 a year. Should be different as I have been self employed so long, I think I have collected a salary three times in last 15 years and seldom for long. It's ironic really as my spouse is the "traditionally qualified" professional.
So that will be an adventure! Anyway, I am sure I will be in and out with strange questions, random complaints and general chatter.
Thanks for having me and look forward to sharing this in all its horror and humor.

P.s if anyone for any reason needs advice on Southern Africa, although I cannot imagine why. I am rather the expert ;)
Reminder: Premium Membership is required for access to private messages. Sign up now!
Posted by:
Slowdive
Free member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri 26 Feb 2016 23:28 GMT

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Kay » Sat 27 Feb 2016 12:50 GMT

Hi Slowdive, and a big WELCOME to the forum. I hope you'll enjoy hanging around here and get the help you seek.

Long time no see so I'm not sure if you're aware that Dave and I repatriated recently (temporarily we hope) after a fifteen year stint away.

With both of us being British, obviously we didn't have any immigration problems at all, but we had a lot of hassle with various other things, especially getting a mortgage. It's extremely difficult to get a mortgage unless you've been resident in the UK for the previous two years. There are alternatives, of course, such as renting or perhaps you could buy something such as a house boat or maybe even a caravan. Mind you, house prices vary across the country. There are still some cheap areas left.

We are currently living in Kent because it's an OK commute to London (for Dave's job). You might like Kent as I seem to remember you're keen on horses. Lots of horses here and adverts looking for people to share the riding of them etc.

Good luck anyway and keep in touch!

Kay :D
Not Delia - Foodie blog with lots of reviews and recipes.
Posted by:
User avatar
Kay
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15338
Joined: Wed 22 Jan 2003 13:06 GMT
Location: Kent for a couple of years

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Dave » Sun 28 Feb 2016 08:55 GMT

Hi, Slowdive - good to see you here :-)

I'm intrigued by the notion of being a British Citizen without ever having set foot here. (That said, I was able to become an Irish citizen easily enough, and I've barely ever been to Ireland.) But yes, I can imagine there will be some challenges. As Kay says, it was hard enough for us to get ourselves set up here when we moved back 18 months ago - even renting a place wasn't that easy.

I've heard good things about Namibia (albeit quite a long time ago now) and would love to go some day. South Africa sounds like a mixed bag, but I can well imagine there are good aspects to the place along with all the security horror stories.

I'm not a big fan of London living and would be more than happy to live a lot further away from it if I didn't have to work there! But Kent's nice.
British Newspapers Online - your handy guide to the UK's national, regional and local press!
ErgoGuides - Great travel and business eBooks from British Expat!
Posted by:
User avatar
Dave
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7264
Joined: Tue 21 Jan 2003 15:04 GMT
Location: Currently UK

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Kay » Sun 28 Feb 2016 11:03 GMT

Gosh, yes, I'd forgotten how difficult even renting was. That was mainly due to problems with our credit score - we didn't have one because we hadn't borrowed! Without a track record of borrowing (and paying back!) you'll end up with a low credit score. When you try to rent a house, the landlord is likely to want a reference from a credit agency. But the credit agencies wouldn't give us a reference. The next suggestion was that we should find a guarantor in case we defaulted on the rent. This was out of the question for us, so then the lettings agent suggested paying six months rent up front, which we didn't like the sound of either.

Fortunately, our landlord was understanding as he was also an expat so he agreed to rent to us on the usual terms, ie one month rent in advance and a deposit of six weeks (one a one year contract). It all went well and we got almost all of our deposit back when we left.

It's worth being aware of this because, as Dave says, even rentals can be tough to get. I suppose the alternative would be to take shorter term furnished accommodation, such as students get. In any case, I reckon you'd need a wodge of cash to keep you going until you can find your feet while you set up bank accounts, apply for credit cards (even if only to build up your credit score), and do all the other things to be seen as "resident".

Registering on the electoral roll as soon as possible will also help.

I dunno if you have credit cards where you are now, but if not, definitely apply and get them before you leave, that way you'll at least already have some history which might be taken into account. We had an Amex charge card whilst travelling and that came in pretty handy.
Not Delia - Foodie blog with lots of reviews and recipes.
Posted by:
User avatar
Kay
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15338
Joined: Wed 22 Jan 2003 13:06 GMT
Location: Kent for a couple of years

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Slowdive » Tue 8 Mar 2016 12:56 GMT

Got lost for a few days but back again :)

Thanks for the advice and thoughts regarding renting, its certainly one a few concerns. I am hoping that having 20 thousand plus in the bank will help some. Perhaps being able to pay a group of months in advance. After all initially I only need a one bedroom. As I am not seeing away around finding employment to meet the spouse visa requirements. However as far as credit and such, I will certainly see what I can do on this side.
A houseboat, I am not known for mature and rational decision making and I am sure they come with their own challenges and upkeep but it would be splendid. I will have to avoid the temptation pending some serious research.

As to being british without touching the soil, my mother is british so I inherited the passport despite being born in South Africa. As to Namibia I really don't have bad things to say about, amazing country, fantastic people. Its been a very warm and pleasant 7 years or so. However it is a small place, I cannot say I fully agree with some of the countries legislations,taxation and governmental management. However I would say anyone who does not visit Namibia has certainly missed out.

Initially where I stay in the UK will be completely based on finding a suitable job. Its "silly" I have to make 18800 to qualify, once reunited with my spouse we could both make 9 and qualify.

On the upside it does look like finding something that pays 18,800 a year which in turn qualifies one for the spouse visa should not be too hard. So it should be an interest adventure :)
I will be sure to check in and I am soon as we get nearer I will have odd questions aplenty.
Reminder: Premium Membership is required for access to private messages. Sign up now!
Posted by:
Slowdive
Free member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri 26 Feb 2016 23:28 GMT

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Kay » Wed 9 Mar 2016 06:45 GMT

What kind of job are you looking for?
Not Delia - Foodie blog with lots of reviews and recipes.
Posted by:
User avatar
Kay
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15338
Joined: Wed 22 Jan 2003 13:06 GMT
Location: Kent for a couple of years

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Slowdive » Wed 9 Mar 2016 13:08 GMT

Well I have been running my own web design/consulting business here for five years. It keeps the wolves from the door. So I imagine I could find something comparable. However I am relatively desperate to get out of IT for a while. However from running my own show, I feel I have a great line in sales, customer service/support and generally great people skills.
So of course first prize would be if I could find a sales/client liaison position for an agency or design house. My sole joy left in this business is the people aspect.
Beyond that I am up for the right sales job, I see recruitment is a booming industry if the online job sites are to be believed. As much as it's equally crushing I would even consider support / complaints handling for the right product or company. With years of E-commerce and day to day client support, I have the experience.
As a fall back I am using sites like codeacademy, udemy and treehouse to make sure and at least be able to prove my "tech" is up to date and at least functional. However I am really hoping I don't end up hammering out code for 8 hours a day.

It is going to be a strange change in job markets going from here where degrees are still rather secondary in comparison to skills and experience. I see the UK job market is very degree orientated and somewhat opposed to career changes. With a lot of jobs either demanding a relative degree or specific experience.
However I remain upbeat, I am an amazing catch >.>

Long term, although I have to be in the UK for three years before I can study affordably I want to do something in the social sciences and get involved in support work, young offenders or education. It's not lucrative but its always been my actual passion. Between SPCA's, Rotary, Lions Clubs and assorted charities. My pro-bono work is likely more extensive than my working history.
Reminder: Premium Membership is required for access to private messages. Sign up now!
Posted by:
Slowdive
Free member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri 26 Feb 2016 23:28 GMT

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Kay » Wed 9 Mar 2016 13:59 GMT

Thanks. That's interesting! I hope you find something. As a serial expat, I found the UK job market a bit hard to hack if you don't fit into one of their usual boxes - that's when I became self-employed. But with skills and aims such as yours you might find that someone will be smart enough to realise they've found gold dust and hire you.

I suspect you'll have to go for a city to find employment, not necessarily London. Probably one of the regional cities where the salaries are OK and the cost of living isn't too bad might suit you.

Don't forget that, as a British passport holder, you also have rights to live/work in other EU countries. Just a thought.

(Sorry you're still going through pre-mod but you'll understand the system...)
Not Delia - Foodie blog with lots of reviews and recipes.
Posted by:
User avatar
Kay
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15338
Joined: Wed 22 Jan 2003 13:06 GMT
Location: Kent for a couple of years

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby gozomark » Wed 9 Mar 2016 15:12 GMT

As an EU citizen, you can move with your non-EU wife to any EU country (other than your own one) and live/work there. Once done that you can then move to the UK together. Not sure what period of time needs to pass.
Posted by:
gozomark
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14215
Joined: Sun 20 Aug 2006 18:35 GMT
Location: Republic of Gozo

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Kay » Wed 9 Mar 2016 15:27 GMT

Oooh. Trust Mark to have his finger on the pulse. :D

This raises loads of questions. Here's a couple for starters.

An EU citizen can move with non-EU spouse to any country but their own? Wow. Where's the logic in that? (That's rhetorical.)

How long to act just in case the referendum votes the UK out of the EU? (I hope that's just hypothetical. I find it hard to believe that Brits would vote in such a way.)
Not Delia - Foodie blog with lots of reviews and recipes.
Posted by:
User avatar
Kay
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15338
Joined: Wed 22 Jan 2003 13:06 GMT
Location: Kent for a couple of years

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby gozomark » Wed 9 Mar 2016 16:03 GMT

Kay wrote:An EU citizen can move with non-EU spouse to any country but their own? Wow. Where's the logic in that? (That's rhetorical.)



the "logic" is that your free movement rights as an EU citizen apply to when you are outside of your home country

there was a court case 2014 or 2015
Posted by:
gozomark
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14215
Joined: Sun 20 Aug 2006 18:35 GMT
Location: Republic of Gozo

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Slowdive » Wed 9 Mar 2016 17:10 GMT

Hi Mark
Thanks for taking the time to reply, a lot of people have used the free movement laws as a way to get into the UK easily.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surinder_Singh_route. However Cameron's recent summit with the EU that was made one of the key talking points. Apparently the UK has decided to close this route of immigration, although as of this moment it's still open. I do not wish to get caught in the middle somehow either.

Initially we were planning to start in Ireland and do just that. However it may simply not be open much longer.
https://www.testlifeinuk.com/the-surind ... en-closed/

I find the whole immigration issue fascinating, as even though I am falling foul of it. I appreciate its bad luck, we just happen to have an awful currency and have been here for many years. If we/I had been working in the UK or EU then the 62 thousand pounds to bring my spouse or the proof of earning 18,800 would not be a problem.
My fascination kicks in having immersed myself in groups and forums where people are seeking immigration advice. The majority are very new relationships who clearly do not posses 62 thousand pounds or have a bread winner who earns 18,800. In many cases the spouse in question is a very foreign national to the degree language maybe a barrier. So I see what the UK is trying to guard against, with that said.
I am of course biased, the fact that the length of our marriage and lifestyle have no bearing. Its alienating to have to jump through the same rings to bring a new spouse vs a spouse of 7 years. As clearly we are not a relationship of convenience.
Secondly the earning cap of 18,800 may seem logical on paper. However the wage difference in the UK is an odd thing, a london based job pays a lot better. More over if the Gov assumes we need 18,800 to live then the fact having over a years salary not counting seems silly. Lastly the rule seems to presume my spouse is incapable of earning. As I need 18,800 annually to bring her over by the time we renew we should be earning 28 or more assuming she only got a 10k per annum appointment.

So I am observing a good idea being very poorly implemented. I am of course also looking in from the outside. End of the day, I am a passport holder and citizen that Britain did give me. So to return to my country but have my right to my spouse so conditional is alienating, I can see why it's a hot topic. However in light of marriage/spouses being such a drop in the ocean compared to EU nationals. As Kay points out silly system, friends of ours on a German and Italian passport have been settled for years and needed to do nothing but arrive.
Reminder: Premium Membership is required for access to private messages. Sign up now!
Posted by:
Slowdive
Free member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri 26 Feb 2016 23:28 GMT

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby gozomark » Thu 10 Mar 2016 06:26 GMT

I'm in a similar situation - married to a no EU citizen for 22 years - we lived in the UK for about 7 of those, but left in 2002. My wife has no automatic right to live in the UK. If UK left the EU and Malta kicked us out, we in theory couldnt live in the UK (in reality we can as have the minimum capital required). If her home country wouldnt allow me to live there, we are forced to find another country to live together !
Posted by:
gozomark
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14215
Joined: Sun 20 Aug 2006 18:35 GMT
Location: Republic of Gozo

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby ruggie » Thu 10 Mar 2016 08:04 GMT

Hi Slowdive! and welcome to BE. (Where we met, you knew me a Chabrenas, and by my real name). I'll be following your progress with great interest - I have family members in Cape Town working on moving to Europe, but their ages and skills are very different.

I can't really offer any useful ideas or contacts, but I do know that the bigger job market in greater London doesn't compensate for the higher rents you'd pay to live there. To keep the climate acceptable and the cost of living reasonable, I'd concentrate on the counties northeast of London - Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire. (I don't think crabfoot's home near Hull is likely to appeal, but I do know someone up there that is actively involved with support groups, for your long term interest.)

I still have the same email address if there's anything you don't want to air on a public forum. And maybe Kay and Dave can give you PM rights earlier than you'd get them austomatically.
Whether you live in France, or just find the country interesting http://www.franceforfreebooters.com/201 ... nts-up-50/
Posted by:
ruggie
Supporter
 
Posts: 3196
Joined: Sun 28 Nov 2004 09:09 GMT
Location: France

Re: Hello, repatriating in a sense... :)

Postby Slowdive » Thu 10 Mar 2016 09:45 GMT

Hi there Ruggie, nice to touch sides again. I will definitely keep this post updated with our slow progress. I can see why people would want out of South Africa at the moment. In fact as the Namibian Dollar and SA rand share the same value, I share many of their concerns.
Our one luck is we have time and although I doubt we will magically come up with the required finance ahead of our time. Our current home is worth around 23 thousand pounds. So when the Gov started throwing around financial requirements like 62,500 to bring a spouse they were not thinking of African expats :)

The immigration financial requirements were recently taken to court and the response is expected around June. I assume on the back of the EU decision. However assuming I have to go over alone, anything for six months,bite off the first hand offering me 18,800 gross. Once I have her spouse visa accepted we will doubtless end up away from london, we are country sorts at heart. Likely what I would miss most our current home, although only 15 minutes from the capital is in the middle of pristine bush. I wake in the morning to see "my" kudu and warthog going down to the natural dam. Some months back, I had a wild leopard pass my fence and only caught a glimpse as it tripped my spot light. So yes that will be an adjustment!

Thanks for the offer of help, I will definitely be in touch if I think of anything :)
Reminder: Premium Membership is required for access to private messages. Sign up now!
Posted by:
Slowdive
Free member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri 26 Feb 2016 23:28 GMT

Next

Return to Repatriation



cron