Moving out of the UK

For UK citizens moving out of the UK is becoming more and more attractive. There are at least two good reasons for doing this; Brexit and COVID-19. The uncertainty concerning the future of the UK and the understandable desire to do what we consider best for ourselves encourages us to look elsewhere. This post details why I moved out of the UK and my experiences. It also details some observations about the UK in comparison to where I live now. So let me begin…

I qualified as an ICT Teacher in 2000 and gained my first job in September of the same year. I tried working both full-time and as a supply teacher. I must have worked in at least 40 different schools in the home counties area. I thus had employment in Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, inner and outer London. I worked in many kinds of schools including Academies, Grant maintained schools Foundation schools, faith schools, single-sex schools, grammar schools, Independent schools, etc. I primarily taught Secondary ICT, but also had employment teaching art, etc. In September 2006, I worked as a nominal head of ICT at a Catholic girls school in South London. The school had an OFSTED inspection whilst I was there and gained top marks. I thus applied to work at an International School in Poland – a predominantly catholic country and got my job abroad working in Warsaw in April 2007.

By this time, I had sold one of my flats in Rochester, ended several contracts (telephone, water, gas, electricity, etc.), and thrown away many unused items. I still had one flat left which I let out via an estate agency and a British registered car. At first, I left my car and the remaining possessions at my parent’s cottage in Suffolk. I thus went out to Poland with just enough to get me teaching and starting a new life. I got on a plane with about two cases. I took all of my important documentation with me.

International schools were a good way to get out of the UK. They usually collect you from the airport, sort out any issues with passport control, pay for your flights, help you find a flat at the other end, help you get a new bank account, direct you to a hospital (to get a medical clearance), etc. International schools can thus help you to get out of the UK. When you are at the other end, you give your documents to the school, and they will begin processing important paperwork for you. This can include a temporary resident’s card, a work permit, a temporary visa, and a local mobile phone number, etc.

In January 2008, I was able to buy my first flat in Krakow, and in April 2008, I let it out and came back to the UK to sell my British car, and British flat, etc. In the summer of 2011, I met my Polish ex-fiancee and in August 2011, I moved out of the UK permanently. I still had my British bank account, as it was useful when traveling to the UK and/or working in it during the summer holidays. This time I moved to Opole and switched to teaching ESL. I also ran my own company/English Language school for over five years. II split up from my girlfriend and had some issues. At first, she refused to give my money back and I ended up having to threaten her with legal action, to get most of it back! After getting it, I acquired a car and a second flat, etc. Later, I got frustrated with my business and started to look for employment elsewhere. I got an interview and a job offer. I then went through the process of moving again. This time I wasn’t moving out of the UK, I was moving out of Poland and moving to Vietnam.

I went through a similar process. I had to sell off my car, sell my two flats, close my company, sell off possessions, process a lot of paperwork (CRB, Apostilles, etc.), and get on a plane with two cases! So in the last twenty years, I have lived in many places including London, Kent, Surrey, Berks, Bucks, Essex, Warsaw, Krakow, Opole, and Ho Chi Minh! I thus lost a lot – including most of my art portfolio! I also lost a lot of money. On the other hand, I gained a lot too; whilst living in Poland, was able to get a few qualifications (IB, CELTA & TOEIC) and I had my own company, and now I am in Vietnam

If you are thinking of moving out of the UK, here is a checklist to help you

  1. Know your visa requirements of your new country of residence
  2. Decide whether you should rent or purchase a property
  3. Make initial plans to settle into your new country of residence, including local community activities to get to know people
  4. Get to know your tax requirements for your home country when you live abroad
  5. Make sure you meet your tax obligations of your new country of residence
  6. Decide what to do about your property in your home country
  7. Make plans for relocating pets
  8. Start to work out which objects to put in storage and which to transport abroad
  9. Choose an international moving company
  10. Sort out your insurance requirements (home, travel, life, and car) and ensure that you comply with the rules of any existing policies
  11. Establish any driving requirements, including licenses and tests you may have to take
  12. Know what financial planning options you have and sort out your bank accounts
  13. Make a list of known utility bills and make plans for turning them off
  14. Sort out a mobile phone, landline, and internet provider before you move
  15. Tell the authorities in your home country and your country of residence

I do not regret moving out of the UK. I am now happily married, have my own condominium, all-year-round sunshine, a fabulous country to explore, every kind of cuisine available, cheap prices, a much better standard of living (My earnings go much further here. I am thus well off), regular holidays (In the UK, I always had to work during the summer), respectful children, a culture that values teachers (They even have teachers day!), COVI-19 is very well controlled, a bigger teaching market (useful for retirement), and I have very little stress (Significantly less paperwork, no OFSTED inspections, etc). In a nutshell, my life is much better than anything I experienced in England. For more information, please contact me

Author: Piers Midwinter
I am an artist and a teacher. I am currently teaching at a Cambridge International School in Vietnam.