Moving overseas? Here’s what you need to know
Moving overseas is a scary prospect. Leaving your family, friends and familiar territory to experience life somewhere new can feel quite daunting. That’s not even considering all the applications and financial paperwork you’ll have to go through.
If you’re looking to move overseas, we’ve listed some of the major financial aspects you might need to consider before you go.
International bank account
Setting up an international bank account as soon as possible can be a huge help. You can ask your bank about international money transfers between your account in Australia and the country you plan to move to. Your new country may also have restrictions on the amount of money you can transfer, so you should check this before you transfer a significant amount of cash. You can also look into a number of ways to access your money (whether it be a credit or debit card or cash) and consider which one is right for you.
It’s important to let Medicare know about your travel plans. If the country you are moving to has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, you will need to have a valid Medicare card to take advantage of this. If you’re only planning to move temporarily (i.e. a short-term visa), travel insurance can also be a great safety net if you get injured or severely ill. Some countries may require you to be covered by some form of health or travel insurance, so it’s a good idea to check these rules as well.
If the move is temporary (and you remain an Australian resident), you will still be required to submit a tax return and declare your overseas income even if you live overseas. You may qualify for a foreign income tax offset if you have already paid tax on this income. If you have a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt, you will also need to make repayments if your income is above the minimum repayment threshold. You will need to report this income in your tax return by 31 October each year. It could be a good idea to set aside some of your overseas earnings, so you’re not surprised by a bill come tax time.
While you’re being paid by an employer overseas, you probably won’t be receiving regular contributions into your super account. This could have an impact on your retirement savings. It might be a good idea to make a few contributions to your account yourself while you are overseas, to counteract any fees that are taken out whilst you are out of the country. And don’t forget to look into rolling in any pension money contributed by an overseas employer once you return! If it’s possible, this could make a big difference to any gaps in your retirement savings.
Most importantly, don’t forget to embrace the opportunities! Moving overseas can be incredibly tough, but it’s a great chance to experience life somewhere completely different. You’ll be able to meet new people, eat different food, and learn the habits of a different culture. And once you have everything sorted out, there’ll be nothing left but to enjoy yourself!