Monday 13 October 2014

What do relocation experts offer?

From our experience of moving from the UK to South Africa 4 years ago and the current situation of moving to Dubai, I can honestly say that I am not impressed with relocation experts. I point blank refused to deal with the company in South Africa who allegedly assisted with our move here, so we've been appointed a new one in Dubai.

In regards to my husbands work contract and permit, I would be unable to to help him with the relevant work visa application and I'm more than happy for the relocation experts to do this on our behalf, however when it comes to relocating me, our son, the dog and the cat and our furniture, I'd rather we did this on our own, as to be honest, it's nothing but hassle to involve a 3rd party.

The biggest issue is that the move is due to hubbies job and getting his employers to deal with me directly is almost impossible. If I want to ask a question, I email hubby, who emails HR, who emails the relocation experts, who repeat the charade until I finally get a response. In the meantime it's a week later and with thanks to google and several phone calls, I've usually found out the answer myself.

My biggest hurdle is getting myself heard. It's my life that is being uprooted, it is me who has to wait for removal firms to be sent to quote, again appointments are made and it's expected I will just drop everything and be at home with less than 12 hours notice. Hubby is carrying on with his job, son is in boarding school in the UK, with the view to relocate to Dubai for his A levels next September.

The relocation company so far have told us we need birth and marriage certificates, driving licence and passports attested. But they haven't told us how or where. We keep telling them we are British living in South Africa, with a deadline of January 11th to leave SA when our visas expire. We have to make the application from our home country, despite them telling us we can have documents attested here, a quick call to the embassy in the UK, told us other wise. So additional stress and hassle and pressure and costs for both of us, however hubby still hasn't received his replacement passport after it was stolen in July, so it's down to me to get the ball rolling.

I'm the one who has to organise the move, sort out the donations, finish off my charity and volunteer work, say good bye to friends, arrange transit for the pets, liase with the landlord, close down utilities and bank accounts etc and sell the car. I'm also the one who has to fly to the UK on November 2nd to apply for son's new passport on fast track, submit documents and visit Dubai to find somewhere to live. I won't return to the UK until the end of November and I'm hoping the removal firm can be organised to pack and ship our furniture the following day, leaving me time to organise the pets and relocate to Dubai the middle of December.

Throw into all of this our landlord is selling the house now we've given notice and I'm entertaining the estate agent, who half of her clients are just coming for a nose around.

So once I get son's new passport and hubbies driving licence and passport arrive and he can join me in the UK here's what we have to do.

All the relocation experts have told us is what documents we need and that they have to be attested, but not how, when or where. Despite several emails being sent via 'Uncle Tom Cobley and all' we were still none the wiser, but after several calls and googling 'I have a job offer in Dubai what documents do I need for my wife and son to get a residency visa?' I discovered this website, which quite frankly has been more use to me than the relocation experts as it tells me everything I need to know.

  • Our documents must be verified with the Foreign Office. This can only be done by post and costs £30 per certificate.

  • They must check that our documents are legitimate. This service will cost £330 for 3 passports, 3 birth certificates, 2 driving licences, 1 marriage licence and both our degree certificates. It will take approximately 7 days for them to be returned.

  • We must then photo copy the certificates for which we'll need for the work, residency visas, plus copies to make applications for driving licences, alcohol permit, utilities, rental agreements etc, which must be attested with UAE embassy in London, that we must visit in person between 9am and 12pm and collect in the afternoon.

  • We also require several passport photo's and on entry to Dubai we must have medical checks, which is a whole other debate and you can read about here.

Our costs in regards to flights, car hire, fuel, hotel (although this is in dispute as I will need to be in the UK and Dubai for approximately 1 month) fees for attesting certificates, son's passport, passport photo's will be covered by expenses. But will not cover cost of food, pet sitting for Bob and Pushkins or compensate me for my time away from South Africa when I need to be sorting stuff for moving, finishing off my volunteer work and saying goodbye to my friends and don't forget I need to sort the dog and cat out with their injections and blood tests which also has to be done within a strict timeline.

When we moved to South Africa from the UK, we had a base, no additional accommodation fees and we had access to a company car right up until the day we flew out here.

So what do relocation experts offer?

A list of what you need, which you can easily obtain off the internet and submission of the documents, which isn't that difficult.

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