Monday 7 November 2011

Thinking of emigrating? Here’s my advice

Visit the country your company want you to move to and make sure your partner gets to go also.
Before you go get the company/agency to line up viewings for houses, within your budget and make appointments at several schools. Ask the rental agents what the deposits are and what kind of service you can expect from them in case of any faults when you move in. Check with the school their timescale for admittance, additional fees and hidden costs and ask for a contact person so you can pre order uniform and equipment (do they have a second hand shop) full costs etc all in advance of the children starting school. Visit the local supermarkets, to see how much things cost before deciding on what you are getting rid of or bringing with you. Find out about TV licences, car insurance, bank accounts, utility accounts and make sure there is a phone line up and running before you step on the plane.
Chose your removal firm carefully, ensure you have out of office number in case of emergency i.e. customs loose your container and then want to charge you additional fees to ‘find’ it for you. Find out who the contact person is in advance and get in touch with them via email to find out what they actually do and not what the UK side say they will do. Don’t pay the final balance until your furniture has arrived and is unpacked. They can’t ship your furniture till they have your visa, be warned, ours didn’t tell us that till 2 days before Christmas as they were emptying our house out and charging us additional storage.
Get involved more with your Visa, don’t assume that the agents/company are actually doing anything in your best interest, it will be in theirs, you can always get the visa, but you don’t have to travel the day it is issued, if you haven’t got tenants in your house yet, sort that out first, it’s very expensive having your house empty and trying to transfer money overseas to pay the mortgage.
When you arrive at your destination, demand you are given your medical aid details, a list of doctors and dentists, an appointment with the said med aid so you know how it works, a map of the nearest hospital (we had a visit to A&E within 10 days, it then took 4 months to sort all the payments out) Sim cards for each family member (get your phones unlocked before you leave the UK). All your paperwork, copies of contract, facilities to copy passport and visa, directions and info on nearest police station to get copies certified the initial apartment in your name so you have proof of residency or transfer it over as soon as you arrive.
Ask for email evidence of everything you have been offered/promised...’we’ll get your visa changed when you get here, no problem with your studies that can go on as normal’
I’m not being demanding/difficult or stroppy, I believed the professionals ‘Don’t worry Suzanne we’ll sort it all out for you when you get here’
All I had to do was worry about settling my kids into a new life at the bottom of the world, deal with a different culture, language, being on my own all day while hubby and kids still had the routine of work and school and people to talk to, without having to sort out everyone else’s bloody mess. Oh and don’t forget to add to the mix....we now live in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.