Traditionally, people looking at moving abroad from Britain have tended to go for either Europe or an English-speaking country. In recent years, though, more people have been looking to east Asian countries like China, Singapore or Japan. They offer great professional opportunities, but it’s a lot more complicated than moving to France or Spain.
You can expect to need a visa, and the requirements may be rigorous. It’s essential to check out and you won’t have problems before you commit yourself to moving abroad. The website for the country’s UK embassy should have a list of requirements, or you can contact the embassy directly.
Learn About the Culture
You’re going to be moving to a culture very different from the UK, so get to know as much about it as possible before you move, both to make sure it’s going to suit you and to avoid serious mistakes. At worst, ignorance of the culture in a country like China could leave you in legal trouble, but even in a more liberal country like Japan, you could find yourself alienating the people around you. Ideally, it would be best to have a holiday in the country before moving.
For all international removals, it’s essential to pick a company with a proven track-record in the specific country. Questions to ask include:
- Do they offer customs advice and help with documentation?
- Do they offer full insurance?
- What’s their estimate for arrival?
You should find out well in advance what you’re not allowed to import. As with visa requirements, the information should be available from the country’s embassy.
You might find it cheaper to leave large or fragile items behind and replace them after moving, while electrical equipment may not be compatible with the country’s electrical supply. You could hold a garage sale for the items you’re leaving, or sell them on eBay. Alternatively, if you plan to return, you could investigate storage solutions.
Make sure all items are securely packed, with the boxes labelled, and that items that may need to be examined by customs are packed together. It may be worth paying a little extra for expert packing by your removal company.
Make sure you take essential items in your hand luggage.
Things to Organise
Inevitably, moving abroad involves a lot of organisation, and this is even more true when the culture is very different. Things to remember include:
- Healthcare — what are the requirements, and do you need to register in advance?
- Investigate local banks.
- Investigate schooling, if you have children, especially any schools that teach in English.
- Research local utility services.