The True Cost of Emigration

Summary: When you are sat a home in the cold and the dark and the rain, praying for the British winter to end, it is easy to dream of a life abroad in the sun.

The True Cost of Emigration
When you are sat a home in the cold and the dark and the rain, praying for the British winter to end, it is easy to dream of a life abroad in the sun. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that in the 12 months to March 2010, 360,000 people moved abroad from the UK, with 56,000 heading to the US or Australia. However, the cost of emigration is not something to be taken lightly and you need to consider a wide variety of factors, while planning a careful budget and financial strategy for making your dream move come true.
Due to the popularity of Australia as the destination of choice for UK émigrés, we will use it as an example and although the costs will differ when moving to other countries, the general principles remain the same.
The first cost is the visa itself and the cost of visas varies widely and is dependent on what type of visa you go for, with some costing in excess of £2,500. Other visa costs such as medicals and police reports can cost around £250 per person
Shipping is another major expense and again will be entirely dependent on exactly how many of your personal belongings you want to bring to your new home. However, shipping can cost from around £1,000 for a pallet load to £5,000 for a 40-foot container, with a further charge for insurance.
Flights are another significant expense and although prices vary depending on the time of the year, a return ticket to Australia will generally cost around £1,000 per person and although buying a one way ticket may seem like a good idea, you will probably end up paying between 60% and 70% of the price of the return ticket, which could prove a false economy.
However, all these costs are nothing compared to the cost of property. If you are renting in the UK then the move is far easier than if you have to sell your home and deal with your mortgage lender, solicitors and estate agents. Before emigrating you will need to carefully research property rental prices in the area you are heading to and make sure you have enough money saved to last you at least several months, as it may take some time to find work. Even if you have a job lined up or are planning to retire, renting is a sensible, low risk option.
There are still more costs to emigrating, including car rental or purchase, a driving license and the necessary insurance. Unlike the UK - Australia, America and many other countries do not have a free health system, so medical insurance is vital.
On top of all these major costs, you will still need to budget for day-to-day living expenses, such as food, travel and household expenses, as well as entertainment. Don't let the cost of emigration stand in the way of your dreams but make sure you plan and budget well in advance.
Garry Hudson writes about all things finacial and currently works for Baines and Ernst