Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The reality of a company move

Due to a massive cock up when we moved from the UK to South Africa in 2011 as in HR failed us and then a minor hiccup again in September this year when we discovered it would be too long and complicated to renew our visas due to a change in the law, we find ourselves off on a new adventure to Dubai.

Despite there being an actual package in place for this move, an opportunity to visit Dubai and meet with HR, the fact that HR and all the individuals and companies involved will actually email me directly this time, things are still not going smoothly, but they are going to plan.

The allowance for moving covers most things but not everything and again we find ourselves out of pocket financially, with time and stress to relocate to Dubai. This is not a choice we've made to move from one country to another, it's a decision made by my husbands company, although we do have the choice to say 'no thank you' but we'd still have to leave South Africa at our own expense.

The relocation package covers the cost of shipping, air freight, flights for hubby, me and 15yo and the cat and dog, includes 30 days furnished accommodation and the services of a relocation firm in regards to visa applications, renting a house and connecting the utilities, which is far more assistance than we had when we moved here.

However, we are financially out of pocket again and to a considerable amount. We are responsible for the cat and dogs injections, paperwork and import/export papers. I bought a car when the Rand was 11-1, I sold it at 18-1. The same with the deposit for the house which we will get back, but probably after we leave. I've had to hire a car as this is South Africa after all and although I can walk to the local shops, I can't get to the Dr's, physio etc. 

We had to travel to the UK to have our documents attested, the company paid for flights and car hire and one or two nights accommodation, but the rest of the time we paid for all the costs related to the trip. We also had to pay up front over a thousand pounds for our documents, hotels, fuel, etc in Rand as we have no UK income which we will get refunded back in Dubai as AED meaning we lose out again on the conversion rate.

Our furniture takes 42 days to arrive in Dubai and our air shipment takes between 13-20 days to arrive. We only have 30 days accommodation provided, what about the other 12 days?

I'm on 5 of 7 nights on an airbed which doubles up as my sofa, desk and dining room table. My back is killing me (I have an old injury) hence the need for car hire to get to the Dr's etc. We have 3 nights from Friday at a guest house after the air freight is collected and then we fly to Dubai on the 15th.

The time we've spent on the move is unmeasurable and this has caused considerable stress also. We had to list all our items and provide a cost of replacement value in Dubai of which I have no idea if I've over or under valued our items. I've had to get quotes for garden services and cleaning firms as well as the removal companies coming round to quote. I've lost valuable time with my charity and volunteer work and had to sacrifice saying some goodbyes due to time restraints and lack of transport.

When we arrive we have no car, no cell phone, but we have an unfurnished house and a 19yo with an airbed who will move into the property to look after the cat and dog. We will have no bank account until we sort it asap, but there will be electricity, water and internet at the property. The 15yo and I will have to make our way to the house each day, at our own expense in a country where we don't really know how to get around, with no one to guide us and not knowing a single person. 

I'm on the verge of naming hubbies employer, something I have never done due to not making his working life difficult, but my personal life is suffering again especially when I know I've got to go through the whole process of meeting people, making friends, working out how everything works, not wanting to leave South Africa in the first place.

But at least this time we are moving to Dubai, a safe country and not South Africa where we were scared shitless to step outside the front door.


  1. Thank you for your blog. After reading sever expat blogs about South Africa, I find yours very usefull for someone who is considering a move to SA. Maybe it is because you don't only write about the pleasant things that happened in your life there.
    Me an my family will be moving to Pretoria in a few months. For me safety is the number one concern for the moment. So I wanted to ask you, when you write about "not wanting to leave South Africa" and at the same time you say that this is the place were you "were scared shitless to step outside the front door" - how these too feeling can be compatible. I imagine I would definately want to leave the place were I am scared.
    Wish you all the success in your new location - Dubai.

    1. Sorry i should have made it clear that the 'scared shitless' was in reference to our arrival based on the stories we had heard prior to our arrival and what we were led to believe would happen to us, you'll see from other blog posts how I've camped overnight and worked in townships, plus all the solo travel i've done around the country. Hope you enjoy Pretoria as much as i have and also fall in love with the wonderful country

    2. Thank you very much. I've been reading a lot of your blog (I am already in the year 2011 :) and made the same conclusion that it was the first year which was the most difficult in terms of fear of safety.
      I am still scared to move there, but after reading your blog I feel much better and even anxious to do it. Thank you very much for that.

    3. we knew no one and had no company support, the expats we met living there were full of rubbish about how to do things, like pay someone to queue for you etc. just start small and work you're way outwards, if you ever feel unsafe just turn around and go back and avoid driving through townships. let me know where you're living and i can tell you of some fab, safe places near by