Settling in for Homecomers to South Africa

Returning home to South Africa brings with it a sense of excitement, expectations and of course that unsurpassed feeling of returning to where you belong. But it also brings with it challenges, at Intergate we have assisted thousands of South Africans to return back to the motherland and experience shows us that there are some obstacles and challenges that need to be overcome. Below we list our top 5 challenges for homecomers:

1. Finding (the right) employment – the South African employment market is very different to that of many countries, we face the challenges of high unemployment and a more ‘who you know’ not ‘what you know’ environment. Searching for that right opportunity can take longer and is made all the more difficult if you are trying to secure employment before your return. On the positive side employers are attracted to those individuals with international experience so patience is often well rewarded.

2. Spouse, partners and children – keeping up with the latest DHA regulations is understandably not the top priority for most expat South Africans. A great many of our client’s have married, are in long term relationships and have started families whilst abroad. The DHA regulations mean it is not as simple as climbing on a plane with your family and commencing your new life. Appropriate permits and / or visa’s need applying for and financial criteria needs to be met. Spouses and partners need endorsements to work or run a business and possibly study visa’s are also required.

3. Paperwork – much loved by few and despised by many, a move back home means a myriad of forms and documents. To name just a few;

1. UK taxation requirements

2. NI contributions

3. Financial accounts

4. Obtaining tax registrations, bank accounts and medical aid in South Africa

5. Children’s passports and birth certificates

4. Status – a confusing areas for many homecomers – in particular where children were born abroad and the homecomer has obtained a second citizenship.

5. Where to live – South Africa has changed much in recent years and for those who have been away for a longer period of time things may not be what they were. The area in which the homecomer chooses to return to is of paramount importance:

1. What schools

2. Employment opportunities

3. Safety

4. House prices

5. Where foreign partners will easily fit in

6. Commuter times

What we should end up with is saying that the vast majority of our homecomers, come home to stay. The foreign partners speak highly of the lifestyle and any homesickness is quickly overcome. Feedback on education standards is excellent and of course the lifestyle and ubuntu on offer (and yes we may be biased) is unsurpassed.

So plan your return early, get professional advice where you need it and we hope to see you back in the motherland soon!

Written by Intergate Immigration our immigration consultants.

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