Why British Expat Doctors are Happier Than Ever in Australia

In 1998, Australian statistics showed there were only 4,000 British doctors working down under. Last year, the number had rocketed to over 12,000 doctors with many more in related sectors like dentistry or pharmacy. So what is making Australia just so attractive for British doctors?

Income and Tax

One of the major draws for a British doctor is the relative earnings and tax when the UK is compared with Australia. Earnings are generally higher, and depending on where in Australia you are planning on working, the cost of living can be significantly lower. Due to the current skilled staff shortage in the Australian healthcare sector, many hospitals are offering additional incentives to attract the best staff, such as helping out with moving costs or finding children’s school fees while parents settle into their new home. This is in stark contrast to the UK where we read about newly qualified doctors struggling to find a position in their chosen speciality, or being forced to move miles from friends and family to take a job. Working hours are shorter in Australia, and should a doctor choose to work in excess of contracted hours, most hospitals will pay overtime at an enhanced rate.

Lifestyle

The main reason for moving to Australia, whatever your profession, is a better lifestyle and better weather. Australia enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate all year round and the emphasis on outdoor living is in direct contrast to the cold and damp weather we have in the UK. The work life balance is generally felt to be better in Australia, with doctors working more regular hours and having more flexibility over their shift patterns than working in the NHS. The Australian healthcare sector is sophisticated and well-staffed, and many doctors working there find themselves under less stress and pressure than working in the NHS in the UK. All of these factors combine to make working in Australia far more pleasant and enjoyable than in the UK.

Accreditation

Medical training in the UK is among the best in the world, and doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals find it easy to transfer their skills and qualifications to an Australian setting. There are some administrative hoops to jump through to gain a licence to practice medicine in Australia, but these are far less than for medical professionals from other countries. There is no language barrier, and with so many other UK doctors working in Australia there are plenty of opportunities for networking and making friends with other professionals in the same boat.

Richest British expats and their contribution to the host country.

Canada’s not the first country which many of us would think about when building a new life overseas as an expat, but a recent survey showed that the very richest, top earning British expats are more likely to choose Canada than anywhere else. Many are attracted by the fact that the UK and Canada has long historic links, the culture is not too different from home and we share a common language. In addition, Canada offers wild open spaces and spectacular scenery and a very good education system for expats with children. High earning British expats in Canada are making a huge contribution to the company’s economy, both in terms of the tax which they pay into the system and the expertise they bring to their employers.

Middle East

If you are looking for truly rich expat Brits, then the best place to start the search is in the Gulf States. Most expat Brits have been sent to places like Dubai or Kuwait for work, and the tax-free salaries and benefits packages on offer mean that although only 10% of British expats live in the Gulf States, the expats living there account for 25% of total savings held by Brits overseas. Salaries are high in the Gulf States, but sometimes the culture and heat makes this destination less attractive than other places for families, especially those with young children.

Hong Kong

47% of expat Brits living in Hong Kong are on salaries of over £100k, mainly due to Hong Kong’s position as the Asian centre of the banking and finance industry. The number of expats in Hong Kong has declined since the colony reverted to Chinese control, but Hong Kong remains a cultural melting pot and a great place to raise children, experience a different way of life and have fun too. Singapore is a similar destination, and attracts high earning professionals too.

Australia

High earning expats are in huge demand in Australia at present as the country struggles to fill high level positions in the medical professions and finance. This brain drain offers great opportunities for professionals from the UK to move overseas, earn more money and enjoy the Aussie lifestyle, and Australia benefits by being able to attract the best quality people from all over the world. As well as attractive working conditions and good salaries, expats in Australia find that they have a better work and life balance, and a generally more relaxed way of life than here in the UK.

 

 

 

 

Importance of Meet Up Groups for British expats

Getting the opportunity to work overseas for a period of time is a chance most of us would jump at. Different experiences and different cultures enrich our personal and working lives, and many people who have worked overseas find that it gives them an advantage over other candidates when going for that next job or promotion. However, it can be an isolating experience and there are many good reasons why meeting up regularly with other British expats can make time spent overseas more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Networking

If your move overseas is about advancing your career opportunities, then a new location will open up a whole new world of networking possibilities. This is one of the best chances to meet people from all walks of life who can provide contacts and links which may be of use in the future. It is far easier to network overseas with other British expats as you will see the same people regularly at social gatherings and other events. Friendships often develop quickly as people bond in unfamiliar locations, and although many people initially think about networking rather than making friends, both processes happen at the same time.

Family Support

Most workers who are posted overseas for extended periods take their families with them, and it can be a very isolating experience for partners and children as they do not have the ready-made social life at work. Developing a support network of friends who stand in for friends and family at home is essential, and going to an organised meet up group for expats guarantees you will meet lots of people in the same boat as you. The sort of people who go to these groups are just the sort of people who will be happy to meet up for lunch, take the kids to the park or babysit while the parents have a well-deserved night out. There are meet up groups in almost every location where there are expats, and the details are easily found on the internet.

Hints and Tips

When you move somewhere new, whatever the country, it takes a while to build up the insider knowledge about the best places to eat, where the best schools are or what days the local market is on. All other expats will have gone through this learning curve too, and going to an organised meet-up group will give you the chance to pick their brains about everything and anything concerning your adopted home.

Health care insurance and tax responsibilities for British expats in European Union

If you are planning on moving abroad within the EU for a few years or on a permanent basis, medical problems are probably the last thing on your mind. However, there are a few rules and procedures which apply to British expats living in the EU, and it is essential that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities.

EHIC Cards and Medical Cover   

Many expats mistakenly believe that the EHIC, or European Health Insurance Card, will cover their medical treatment overseas within the EU. This is not the case as the EHIC is designed only for people who are permanently resident in the UK and travel to Europe for a short time for business, study or on holiday. Similarly, private medical insurance is often geared towards tourists or temporary visitors, so if you planning on taking out medical insurance for any expenses incurred, you should check the policy carefully to ensure you are fully covered. It is worth having any policies checked over by a native speaker of the language in which they are written to make sure you don’t miss any key exclusions or clauses. There are separate arrangements for pensioners who are resident overseas but in receipt of the UK state pension, and the Department of Health can provide people with the correct documentation.

Repatriation

Many people mistakenly assume that even if they have left the UK permanently, they have the right to return for medical treatment if they need to. This is not the case and whether or not you are entitled to treatment on the NHS will depend on a whole host of individual circumstances. It is important to know exactly where you stand legally regarding free treatment, so do some research. What will not be covered, unless you have comprehensive private medical cover specifically designed for British expats overseas, is the cost of travel back to the UK, whether by air ambulance or regular flight.

Tax

If you are working overseas on a permanent basis, you will need to inform HMRC of your non-resident status as it will affect the amount of tax you have to pay. If you have bank accounts, investments or property which you rent out in the UK, you may still have to complete an annual tax return and pay any tax owing. It is a relatively straightforward process to do this online, or alternatively hire an accountant specialising in expat tax affairs to do it for you and minimise your liability.

 

Why Health Insurance is important for British Expats in Spain

Spain has long been one of the most popular destinations for British people of all ages looking for a warmer and more relaxed way of life. It is estimated that around 750,000 British people are now permanently resident in Spain, and recent surveys have found that many are unaware of how to access state medical care, or are not properly covered with their own medical insurance.

State System

In many areas of Spain, the state provision is excellent, especially in the emergency medicine sector. Care can be offered free of charge to British people who are permanently resident in Spain as long as they have registered with the local authorities and have a “tarjeta sanitaria” or Health Card (also known in the UK as the European Health Insurance Card,  EHIC). The main barrier to being able to get this card is a linguistic one as all of the forms will have to be completed in Spanish, and many expats simply do not get round to completing the process. This card gives you the same rights as a Spanish citizen but not the same rights as with the NHS; you will have to pay for things like prescriptions which you may get for free in the UK.

Longer Term Care

The main way in which the State medical system in Spain differs from the UK system is in longer term care. The concept of the extended family in Spain still holds strong, and elderly people with complex conditions such as Alzheimer’s are more likely to be cared for by family than in the UK. There are not as many nursing homes or care homes, and services such as home helps or home carers just do not exist. These issues may mainly affect the elderly, but also can affect people recuperating from a major operation or with any other long-term condition. Also, many routine, non-emergency procedures such as hip replacement or cataract removal may not be covered under the Spanish state system.

Choice

Having private medical insurance in Spain gives you far more choice over where you are treated, who you are treated by and which services you can access. Private patients can choose to see a doctor who speaks English fluently, or to be treated in a hospital of their choosing rather than going to the nearest one. Misdiagnosis due to language barriers has been identified as a growing issue in the British expat community, so it is of critical importance that expats can access doctors who they can communicate easily with.

Repatriation

If health deteriorates to the stage where the expat wishes to return home to be closer to family for care, travel is not covered in any state system. As with travel insurance, private medical insurance can be used to cover the costs of an air ambulance back to the UK, or for other ongoing care such as carers or physiotherapy until the expat is well enough to travel home alone.

Why Wealthy Expats Should Opt for Kidnap and Ransom Insurance

Most British expats who move overseas live in established destinations such as Spain, France or Australia where the crime levels are broadly similar to the UK and there is no particular risk associated with living there. However, as companies expand their business globally and start to operate in high-risk countries, there is the possibility that staff could be sent to work anywhere in Asia, the Middle East or Africa, where crime levels can be higher and kidnap of Western workers is a real risk. For these companies and their employees, kidnap and ransom insurance is a must.

Where is considered risky?

Around 20,000 kidnappings are reported every year, and it is probably fair to say that the number unreported is higher still. Many areas of the world are considered very high risk for kidnapping, including post-war areas like Afghanistan or Iraq, but many other areas such as Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and South America have relatively high kidnap rates too. Anyone who is planning on travelling through these areas for business or pleasure, or living there permanently is well advised to take out a kidnap and ransom policy. Certain industries are more likely to suffer kidnap attempts than others, partly because they have employees who are better paid than average and partly because they often operate in high risk areas. These industries can include mining, construction, oil and gas or financial services but no company or industry is completely exempt from having their employees falling prey to kidnappers.

Individual or Business

Many businesses operating in these high-risk areas have corporate policies which cover employees, whether they are visiting short term or there for a longer period. In addition, many wealthy expats feel more secure with their own policy to protect them and their families. It should be remembered that someone who is not considered particularly wealthy by UK standards may find themselves a huge target when local standards of living are taken into account. Many large providers of expatriate or travel insurance have specific kidnap and ransom policies and these should be compared carefully before any decisions are made.

What Policies Cover

In basic terms, a kidnap and ransom policy covers the policyholder for any loss associated with being held hostage for ransom. The policy will typically cover any payments to the kidnappers, as well as compensation for any loss due to disruption of business, evacuation and transport home and protection for family members. In addition, having a kidnap and ransom policy gives the policyholders access to expert advice and negotiators, so should the worst happen, the family have a crisis response team on the end of the telephone or on the ground immediately. Insurers who are experts in this areas use specialist companies who can give advice on risk reduction strategies, and can work more effectively than individuals to have the kidnap victim released as quickly as possible.

 

Which Countries have the Longest Life Expectancy?

We are all living longer than ever due to medical advances and better knowledge about issues such as nutrition and hygiene has increased the world’s average life expectancy from 30 in the Medieval period to 67.2 years. There are of course huge regional discrepancies and differences between countries, and although you can’t guarantee a long or healthy life by moving to one of these places, life expectancy figures can give a general indication of how good healthcare and standards of living are.

Japan

The country which comes out at the top of the rankings for life expectancy is Japan, where the average man can expect to live to 79.29 years and the average woman for 86.96 years. The long life expectancies are put down to a combination of a traditionally healthy diet featuring little saturated fat and lots of fish, and some of the most advanced medical technology in the western world.

Switzerland

The Swiss outrank all other Europeans with their life expectancies of 79.31 for a man and 84.12 for a woman. Standards of living in Switzerland are also high compared with their European neighbours but settling in Switzerland and living their permanently is not always simple.

Italy

We’ve all heard about how healthy the Mediterranean diet is, and the fact that on average Italians are living to 78.58 years for men and 83.98 years for women seems to prove the point. The combination of the Mediterranean style diet which is high in vitamins and minerals and low in saturated fats and processed products has a lot to do with the long life expectancies, as does the outdoors style of living.

Australia

Australia has been a long popular destination with British expats looking for a better lifestyle for them and for their families, and the average life expectancy for an Australian man is 79.12 and for a woman, 83.75. The Aussie way of life which is based on lots of outdoors living and sport has a lot to do with these high figures, as does the good healthcare system enjoyed by Australians.

The Worst

It’s not surprising that the countries which perform worst on the world rankings of life expectancy are those which have suffered from civil wars, large scale problems with tropical diseases or AIDS and widespread poverty. The countries at the very bottom of the world rankings are the Central African Republic, Lesotho and Sierra Leone, where the average life expectancy is as low as 45 years.

British Expats in the American Entertainment Industry

We have been exporting talent across the Atlantic for generations, and film stars don’t really feel that they have “made it” until they are a household name in the United States as well as in the UK. Several of the biggest current and past stars have very British roots.

Simon Cowell

Love him or hate him, Simon Cowell has created a huge impact on the television scene on both sides of the Atlantic. He started off here as a record industry executive responsible for the careers of acts such as Boyzone and Sinitta, before moving into television with talent shows such as Pop Idol, X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. He was listed no 41 in the 50 Most Influential Figures in the World, has an estimated personal wealth of £200 million and splits his time between homes in LA and London.

David and Victoria Beckham

The dream team combination of Britain’s best footballer and a pop star took the US by storm when David signed for LA Galaxy in 2007 and moved his glamorous family to live in California with him. Although Victoria may not be as well known in the States as she is in the UK, her high profile friends such as Eva Longoria and her son Romeo’s blossoming modelling career mean that this high profile family has made a huge impact on American society.

Robert Pattinson

Star of the Twilight series of vampire films, London born Robert Pattinson first appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before being cast as Edward Cullen. The huge success of the Twilight movies means that he is now one of the most influential and highest earning stars in Hollywood, and in addition to acting is much in demand for modelling and advertising work.

Piers Morgan

Piers has come a long way since his days editing the Mirror newspaper, and his controversial interviewing style has won him large audiences for his chat show in America. Piers Morgan is an expert in manipulating social media, and keeps his profile high through highly publicized spats with other famous faces such as Alan Sugar, Jeremy Clarkson and Madonna. Recently he hit the headlines in America when in the aftermath of a school shooting he criticized the American attitude to gun control, prompting thousands of Americans to sign a petition calling for him to be deported. Almost as many Brits signed a second online petition asking America to keep him.

Meet Up Groups for British Expats

Moving abroad and creating a new life in a different country can be really hard, especially when you have no friends or family to support you. It’s therefore not surprising that expats tend to enjoy each other’s company and support, and there are many associations and groups around the world which help with this.

Meetup

One of the most popular websites with expats is simply called Meetup, and the beauty of this site is that anyone can register and set up their own group for a specific group of people in a defined area. The site isn’t aimed only at the expat community, but is a good starting point for making contact with other expat families or local who share similar interests or hobbies. You can also browse through the site before you leave the UK, and start emailing or contacting people so that you have already started building up a network of friends before leaving home.

English Language Newspapers

In areas where there is a high percentage of British expats one of the best sources of meet up groups is the local English language newspaper. As well as being a valuable source of news and local information, the paper will carry adverts for groups, societies and social events for the expat community. Most of these papers will also have a website, making it easy for expats to keep in touch wherever they are living.

International Schools

For families moving abroad with children, there will often be an active social scene around the local English-speaking school. For new arrivals it can seem intimidating if everyone else seems to have formed friendship groups already, but if expats make the effort to make friends and volunteer for everything going, it is possible to form a large circle of friends very quickly. Other parents can provide huge amounts of information about childcare, schooling and other issues such as accommodation too.

Caledonian and Irish Societies

Even if you don’t have a drop of Scottish or Irish blood, the Scottish and Irish societies across the globe can be great places to meet other expats as well as locals, and have a great time in the process. The Caledonian societies across the world hold Burns Suppers and ceilidh dances as well as promoting the interests of Scotland overseas. There are similar organisations for Welsh and Irish interests, but as yet there is not an established network of English societies.

Impact of Cypriot Difficulties for Expats

It appears that Cyprus has pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy, after agreeing at the last minute a bail out deal with the EU in Brussels. Cyprus is home to over 18,000 British expats on a permanent basis, and even more Army personnel who live their temporarily. There is no doubt that Cyprus’s financial difficulties will have both long term and short term impacts on British expats and their finances.

Bail Out Agreement
Under the terms of the agreement with the EU, anyone who has more than 100,000 euros in a Cypriot bank account stands to lose a substantial amount of their savings in a one-off tax. This rule applies to everyone, whether they are a Cypriot resident or not. UK expats with fewer savings are not affected, but many people who have saved hard to fund their new life or retirement face being hit hard by the tax. The only help being offered by the UK government is to guarantee deposits of UK Army personnel who are in Cyprus and have opened accounts there as part of their military duties.

Pensions
When the Cypriot crisis started, the UK government took the immediate decision to suspend all pension payments into Cyprus bank accounts, asking UK pensioners resident in Cyprus to nominate a UK bank account for their payments instead. Only a third of pensioners have access to a UK account though, leaving as many as 12,000 people unable to access their pensions and suffering considerable financial hardship as a result. Even with access to a UK account, there is still the problem of transferring the money to Cyprus and accessing it with a debit card, especially as the banks have been closed since the crisis started.

Cash, Credit and Debit Cards
The crisis in Cyprus has seen a return to a cash-only society, with it becoming common practice for retailers and other businesses to insist that bills be settled with hard cash rather than by credit or debit payments. If you can get to the cash machine and withdraw funds then this may not cause hardship, but with banks limiting the amounts which can be withdrawn and internet transfers almost impossible, many residents are finding it difficult to get hold of enough cash to carry on their day to day business, even with healthy bank balances. The confidence in the banking system has been shaken to the core, and there is no guarantee that things will get back to normal any time soon.