Finding your feet in any new setting isn’t something that happens overnight. But you can certainly help to create a smooth relocation process by planning ahead.
5 tips to ensure a smooth relocation
So what should be on your radar if a move away from Australia is on the cards? International health insurance specialists, Cigna Global have plenty of experience in providing Aussie expats with the help and protection they need to make the switch as painfree as possible. So, courtesy of Cigna, here are five areas to focus on as the big move gets closer…
The right relocation package: do the maths beforehand
For a work-related move with an existing employer, it’s usual for a relocation package to be offered. So is it a fair deal? On paper, the initial lump sum and the salary might seem attractive – but it’s important to check that the amounts offered will translate well in real life.
The initial relocation payment should ideally be sufficient to cover the financial burden of the move. So how much will travel costs be for you and your family? What about the expenses incurred in tying up loose ends with your existing property – not to mention international removals, storage, and initial property costs when you get there? Only when you have researched all of this can you judge whether the amount on the table is a good one.
For salary, be sure to check that the amount offered is actually going to deliver the standard of life you desire. Make sure you fully understand the tax position as this can vary enormously from country to country. Your personal situation, official residency status, the type of work you will be doing and assets and income other than earnings through employment: depending on the rules that apply to your new location, any or all of this could affect your position.
Paperwork: put together proof of your financial history
On first glance, the visa application process might look pretty straightforward, but having to re-submit your forms will only cause unnecessary hassle and delay. As such, don’t overlook the requirements to provide supporting evidence. Especially for retirees and students, proof of financial independence is a common requirements – so check precisely what’s required to avoid a last minute scramble for paperwork.
Being able to supply proof of solvency can also help you in all kinds of areas on arrival, from opening a bank account through to signing your first lease. To help you with this, you might even want to obtain a copy of your credit report before you leave and take it with you.
Property: how to avoid expensive mistakes
As we all know, lettings agents’ listings should never be taken as gospel, and picking a neighbourhood to live in from thousands of miles away is always a risky business. From ease of commute and school catchment areas – through to whether there are any decent places to eat on your doorstep, you need to be on the ground in your new location to decide which neighbourhoods might suit you best.
Consider a short-term let as a first option. With a rolling contract and no commitment, you can use this as your temporary base to get a feel for the place.
Research your school options through Cigna
When it comes to education, what’s best for the kids will depend on a whole range of factors, from how long you intend to be away, through to their age – not to mention what type of ‘expat experience’ you (and they) think they will most benefit from.
For a relatively short-term move, the priority is often to try to achieve continuity through a school that follows the same (or broadly similar) curriculum. The longer the stay, and depending on where you are headed, the more likely it is that a local curriculum might make sense. The fact that it’s universally recognised makes the International Baccalaureate a popular curriculum choice for many expats; something that’s widely offered by international schools.
The Cigna International Schools Finder is a great starting point for exploring your options; it allows you to search for thousands of schools around the world, including at-a-glance details of the curricula on offer and links to individual schools’ websites.
Healthcare: ensure you and your family are protected through IPMI
If you are lucky enough to be headed for a country with a healthcare system that seems similar to that of Australia, it’s easy to assume that you’re going to be in safe hands. But the “little differences” – both in terms of quality and in how to access the treatment you need can easily catch you unawares.
Even where a country enjoys a strong healthcare reputation, it’s not unusual to find local variations. Treatment might be heavily subsidised by the state – but how long will you have to wait for an appointment? How easy or convenient is it to find a clinic that’s suitable for your needs? One of the big advantages of IPMI for expats is that it can complement the basic cover granted by public healthcare; it fills in any gaps in local provision, helping you to gain complete and immediate access to the treatment you need.
Cigna Global’s IPMI policies also come with the benefit of flexibility. Thanks to three distinct levels of cover and a range of optional additional benefits including health and wellbeing, international evacuation and vision & dental, it becomes possible to tailor protection to meet the precise needs of your family.
For a free no-obligation quote and for more information, visit http://www.cignaglobal.com/ today.