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Expat Articles


Spring Has Sprung – Time To Spring Into Action With A Property Abroad?

Posted on Friday April 04, 2014 (22:42:10)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

After what has seemed like a never-ending winter, spring appears finally to have sprung. We’ve tasted a little sunshine and experienced some warmth and maybe, it’s just injected a little more positivity into our lives.

However, you never know when the warm sunshine will be replaced by cold rain. British summers are well known for being anything but, well, summery, and promises of barbeque summers (remember that classic) have turned out to be nothing more than a damp squib.

Maybe you’ve decided enough is enough, and are contemplating a move away to warmer climes, where the way of life is more relaxed and the weather is slightly more dependable.   more ...


How The 2014 UK Budget Affects British Expats Living Abroad

Posted on Saturday March 22, 2014 (11:31:33)
Oliver Heslop
Expatriate tax director of Global Expatriate Tax Services Ltd and official Expat Focus UK tax partner Oliver Heslop discusses the recent UK budget and its impact on British expats

Budget Day in the UK was 19 March 2014, when the UK Chancellor George Osborne announced the UK economy to be very much back on track.

We consider the reforms that he has announced to UK pension annuity rules to be seismic changes.   more ...


Sterling Strength and Fall In French Housing Prices Provide Perfect Expat Opportunity

Posted on Wednesday March 05, 2014 (14:14:20)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

If you’re thinking of moving abroad, one of the main considerations is what kind of house you’ll be able to get for your money. This is determined obviously by the value of the house you’re buying, but also by the exchange rates, which can have a significant impact on what kind of property you’ll end up in.

If, for example, the pound is strong against the euro, you’ll get more for your money, and you may be able to afford more than you thought. The exchange rates can fluctuate dramatically in the space of just a few weeks or even days, so it’s always worth keeping your eye on the markets.   more ...


Good News For UK Expats Moving Abroad As Sterling Continues To Strengthen

Posted on Wednesday February 05, 2014 (16:34:05)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

When a new year arrives, it can be tempting to set ourselves goals that we want to achieve in the coming 12 months. These could range from small things like keeping fit, learning a language or eating more healthily, to big ambitions like moving abroad, buying a house or getting a job overseas.

For those with such goals in mind, or people already living or working abroad, the exchange rate is all important, as it determines how far their money will go when buying a property or sending money home, for example.   more ...


Cigna Individual Health Plans Go Multilingual

Posted on Thursday January 30, 2014 (13:08:34)
Cigna, a leading international health insurer, has announced the launch of local language sales and service capabilities for their expatriate individual health insurance product range.

This move is a milestone in the company’s commitment towards expanding its reach globally, particularly towards European and Latin American brokers supporting expatriates moving abroad.

This coincides with the combining of forces between Cigna Global Health Options and Cigna expatplus, bringing the strength of a single individual proposition for expatriate healthcare to the broker market.   more ...


How the US Shutdown Affects Currency Exchange Rates for Expats

Posted on Saturday October 19, 2013 (12:44:51)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

In the past few months, we’ve seen the strength of the US dollar take a bit of a tumble. At the start of July, USD was up at 0.671 against GBP, but in recent weeks, we’ve seen it fall below 0.61. And it’s not just the pound against which we’ve seen the US dollar struggle, having also lost ground to the Euro and Australian dollar (AUD), amongst others.

Add to that the political deadlock which brought about a US government shutdown, and it’s certainly been an unsettled picture. About 800,000 federal workers in America were told not to go to work while museums, national parks, services and government buildings remained shut in the wake of a lack of consensus over the US budget and the debt ceiling.   more ...


New UK Non-Residence Tax Rules And Their Implications For Expats

Posted on Monday September 23, 2013 (12:00:51)
Oliver Heslop
As the expatriate tax director of Global Expatriate Tax Services Ltd and the official UK expat tax partner here at Expat Focus, I advise a large number of UK nationals based in the Middle East. I often first meet these clients by email and they ask “What is UK tax non-residence and does it matter?” Answer – Yes, it is vital! If you work abroad and you fail the UK non-residence tests, the UK tax can tax your total global earnings (including Middle East salary). A major tax advantage is lost. Our typical client in the Middle East does not expect to pay UK income tax on earnings. Also, the income tax due in their new country is also typically zero. So, it becomes critical that these Britons in the Middle East are no longer UK tax resident.

Before 2013, the residence rules were fairly straightforward. In April 2013, the UK residence rules were reformed significantly and HM Government introduced a statutory residence test. Mr Osborne promised to simplify the laws, but with the best intentions, this is easier said than done. These new laws are extensive and detailed. I will not attach an 80 page document to explain the new laws. Instead, let’s take a live case to show the impact on UK nationals.   more ...


What Affects Exchange Rates? Things Every Expat Should Know

Posted on Sunday August 25, 2013 (14:50:29)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

It’s been quite a start to Mark Carney’s stewardship of the Bank of England. Having only succeeded Sir Mervyn King as Governor on 1st July, he’s wasted no time in making his mark, announcing an unprecedented plan of forward guidance on interest rates. This means that the Bank would be unlikely to raise the historically low 0.5% interest rate until unemployment falls to 7%, something which could take over three years. The thinking is that investors will take confidence from knowing that the rate will stay low for some time, and by encouraging them to invest and rather than sit on their money, this will help stimulate the economy.   more ...


Moving to Spain? The Time is Now

Posted on Wednesday July 31, 2013 (11:01:41)
Simon Hilton
by Simon Hilton, senior foreign exchange consultant at World First and official Expat Focus foreign exchange partner

Hot on the heels of Britain’s coldest May since 1996, we’ve just had the driest June in decades, and the driest July since records began. And as we enjoy the record breaking temperatures and fantastic sunshine, it makes you wonder why any of us ever harbour dreams of moving away from the UK.

I bet you won’t be wondering why in a few months time, when the cold and wet conditions are back with us, and the British weather reverts to type!   more ...


Why Is My US Brokerage Firm Closing My Account?

Posted on Tuesday June 18, 2013 (09:17:19)
Tom Zachystal
Contact Tom for a free, no-obligation discussion of your financial situation if you are a US citizen living abroad or a foreign national living in the USA.

Many US citizens living abroad have recently been contacted by their US brokerage firms to inform them that their accounts have either been frozen such that they can no longer change their investments or that they need to close their accounts entirely.

Even large brokerage firms and banks such as Fidelity and Wells-Fargo in many instances no longer want to deal with non-US resident clients through their US offices. Often there is little in the way of explanation, just a letter in the mail or a phone call from a broker who is following instructions and doesn’t really understand the issue.   more ...

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Expat Focus Preferred Health Insurance Partners

Bupa International

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you\'re moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.