Moving to Australia

Home to over 10,000 beaches and some of the most stunning sights on the globe, Australia is a country with a strong national identity and personality in droves.

As such, it’s not surprising that many Brits seek to trade the grey of the UK skyline for the golden shine of the “The Land Down Under". In fact, according to government statistics, over 700,000 British nationals visit Australia each year.

However, moving to a foreign country from the UK can be a big commitment to make. In fact, it can more often than not be a completely life-changing decision.

That being said, it can also be an exciting prospect, posing a range of opportunities and possibilities on the other side.

Why Emigrate to Australia?

One key benefit of moving to Australia is that, while there may be a Great Barrier Reef, there’s no great language barrier to hinder communication.

While the obvious verbal side of this is immediately advantageous, this perk also extends to paperwork and documentation of your achievements.

Degree certificates and UK qualifications don’t require translation to comply with Australian immigration policies.

Meanwhile, UK qualifications are also relatively easy to equate to the Aussie counterpart and considerably simpler than converting to those of other nations, such as China or India.

Emigrating to Australia

As you may imagine, moving to Australia isn’t an overnight affair. In fact, the application process can take well over a year to sort out from start to finish.

Such a big change of circumstance requires a lot of organisation and, naturally, there are a number of things to consider before you emigrate to Australia.

Entry Requirements

Before you travel to Australia, you’ll first need to obtain a valid and appropriate visa for the purpose of your visit. British citizens can apply for a variety of visa variations, depending on the nature and duration of the stay.

These range from working holidays and study to long term work and permanent residency. After you’ve lived in Australia for 4 years, you may even be able to apply for Australian citizenship.

To find out which visa is right for you, visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs site for official details on what’s available.

Limiting Factors

In addition to the navigating around the variety of visas available to you, there are also a number of other limiting factors that may also influence your application.

Crucially, in order to be eligible to move to Australia, you will need to have the appropriate number of Australian Immigration Points, with a minimum point tally of 65 required for entry.

Qualifications and work experience will grant you’re a higher score, as will English language skills and occupation on the list of “in-demand” vocations.

Meanwhile, age can also have a profound effect on your score and an elderly status can even restrict entry altogether.

Immigration Points drop the older you get which can lower your final score as a result. Worse still, there is a cap on age for certain visas; e.g. you need to be under 45 to qualify for a skilled migration visa.

Shipping Your Belongings

Emigrating to Australia with just the shirt on your back and a handful of essentials is unlikely to appeal to anyone serious about moving their life to the southern hemisphere.

As such, figuring out how you plan to get your belongings from A to B is time well spent.

While you may be able to take certain items in your luggage and on your person, larger items may need to be shipped over as UPEs (Unaccompanied Personal Effects).

This can be done in a variety of ways; however, it’s worth noting that it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks for your items to arrive at your door, depending on your chosen method.

For details on what’s authorised for shipping and what isn’t, be sure to consult the Australian Border Force for a detailed rundown.

Financial Preparation

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of the preparation involved in moving to Australia, from paperwork provision and transporting belongings to visa applications and age restrictions.

However, a move to the other side of the world doesn’t come cheap and financial stability is paramount in ensuring a smooth transition down under.

It’s worth noting that the cost of living in Australia is rather high. Meanwhile, the immigration process alone brings with it a hefty price tag before you even arrive.

As such, be sure to do your homework and take time to create a financial plan before you jump headfirst into the process and have your heart set on emigrating to Australia.

Transferring Funds

During the planning process, you may find that you need to send money to Australia to pay for goods and services.

Whether you’re securing a property, paying tuition fees or simply transferring funds to a friend or family on the other side, Universal Partners FX can help you send money to Australia with ease.

Universal Partners FX is FCA authorised and boasts a 5-star rating on independent review site, Feefo. Best of all, our transfer service comes with no transaction fees attached, ensuring you get good value for money.

Our simple, systematic approach allows you to benefit from fantastic rates and swift service. Gone are the complex roadblocks of yesterday – just safe, secure transactions in a swift and cost-effective fashion.

Simply follow our three-step process to get your funds where they need to be:

  1. Register for free
  2. Secure your exchange rate
  3. We make your payment

With our online platform, sending money to Australia is, quite literally, as easy as 1, 2, 3.

For more information on moving to Australia, financial preparation or sending money to Australia, why not drop us a line today? Speak with one of our experts now on 020 7190 9559 or get a FREE quote online using the button below.

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Buying property in France is a big commitment, considering the complexities of Brexit and living abroad. Despite, however, that the UK is leaving the EU, Brits continue to buy homes in France for permanent residence or for visiting during their holidays. For the Brits who already own a house in France, the same rules will apply, but after Brexit, different property regulations might apply for non-EU members.

What to do in the meantime?

If you are moving to France or already living there, you should register as a resident and also for healthcare. Make sure that your passport is valid for travelling.

Residency

Currently, you can still apply for a European carte de séjour at your local prefecture, as préfectures will continue to accept applications and issue EU cartes de séjour to UK nationals. After Brexit, however, and despite having your European carte de séjour, you will need to get a different residence permit depending on your situation. For example, you could be a UK national waiting for French nationality or a UK national married to, or in a civil partnership with, a French national.

In the case of a no deal Brexit, and after the new system is launched, UK nationals who have lived in France for at least five years and have a permanent carte de séjour will be able to exchange it for the new card easily.

Buying property in France

Rural France is of course much cheaper than Paris or popular areas such as Lyon or Bordeaux. Dordogne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Toulouse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Brittany are some of the areas particularly popular among British expats. In the Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, for example, an average property price is €111,000. However, when you are interested in cheaper properties, you should look at more rural areas such as Nièvre, Burgundy-Franche-Comté. There, the average property price is €85,400, whereas in Indre, Centre-Val de Loire, an average property price is €80,000. In Creuse, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, one of the cheapest departments in France for property an average property can cost around €66,000 and in Cantal, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, you can get a property for €86,500.

What to consider before purchasing

Before buying your dream home abroad, you should consider a few things. First, you will need to think about who is buying (wife/husband) and what happens in the case of the owner dying. Then is the important issue of financing your move and buying the property, which can also mean borrowing funds or selling your property back in the UK.

It is significant that you take your time before signing any binding contract, so you understand the terms and conditions, the property itself and your rights. Find out as much as you can about the property, its surrounding area and any pending development plans that might alter the landscape, your property’s views or its future price.

For building a property, or for any renovations, make sure you have a planning permission or immediately consult an official from the relevant department. Your architect or engineer should be able to direct you accordingly. French land is classified according to the kind of planning zone within which it falls, and it can range from NC (non-constructible), through NA and NB on to UB and other urban classifications. This means that its classification will determine the amount of floor space which you will be allowed to build on that land.

Currency matters

Other very important considerations are transferring funds to buy your property and choosing a reliable foreign exchange specialist for doing so. Currently, anyone buying property abroad will find that the pound to euro exchange rates continue to be unpredictable.  Risks of a notable decline in the pound due to fears of a no deal Brexit continue. On Wednesday, this was mostly felt after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that he won’t be asking for an extension to Brexit if Parliament does not pass a Brexit deal on 19 October.

With the currency market continuing to be volatile, the best option is to get help from an expert currency broker such as Universal Partners FX.

UPFX can assist you with your international currency transfers, making the process easy, fast and cost-effective. Whether you will need to make multiple transfers or a large currency transfer, a volatile and unpredictable market can significantly affect the value of your funds, especially when exchanging it into foreign currencies. Get in touch with them today to find out how they can help you.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss said that countries outside the EU want Britain to “get on with” Brexit in order to begin striking free trade deals. This of course does not mean that Britain is in a desperate situation, as a Bloomberg article argues. In fact, London remains the epicentre of the financial world and Brexit just cannot simply erase London's “trading allure,” according to foreign-exchange market data.

Liz Truss on Tour

During her tour of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, Liz Truss said that senior figures she met in these countries expressed their desire to reach agreements with the UK very "quickly.” She said: "They just want us to get on with it. And what they care about is deepening our relationships with them. And also they want Britain to be at the table at the World Trade Organisation making the case for free trade."  

In the process of drawing a post-Brexit trade agreement with Japan, Truss argued that Brexit would be a positive thing, attracting new businesses to Britain and she called such businesses to express their views on what the deal should contain. Truss clarified that countries such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the US were considered "like-minded" countries with which the UK can begin striking its trade deals after Brexit. She said: that these are “all countries who are like minded, they're democracies, they believe in free enterprise and free trade, and we want to work with them to promote those ideas across the world." This is important for Britain in order to reach bilateral trade agreements in areas such as financial services, artificial intelligence and technology.

In regards to foreign leaders’ "massive enthusiasm" to strike trade deals with the UK, Truss said: "In Australia, from the Prime Minister downwards, everybody in the government is very, very keen to move forward with the deal with the UK, and restore some of those historic ties, which may have been diminished while we were part of the EU. The way I see it is that Australia and New Zealand are old friends ... with which we've got new opportunities." She continued: "There is a real enthusiasm for getting on with it. I heard that today from ministers in Japan. They want the deal done as quickly as possible. And I heard it in New Zealand and Australia as well." 

Delivering Brexit

She noted that ministers needed to resurrect the public’s lost trust in delivering Brexit on time despite previous delays. Truss warned that voting alongside Jeremy Corbyn was "hugely problematic" and that Tory MPs needed to be "backing the prime minister to the hilt."

Truss urged that now is the time that "we need to be looking forward and looking at the opportunities of Brexit. I think there's too much navel gazing going on at the moment about what's happened in the past. The whole point of Brexit is taking control over any rules and regulations, being able to strike free trade deal for the first time in 45 years. There's a huge world out there, which is incredibly enthusiastic about that potential and possibility. And that's what we will move on to."  

She underlined that, "We simply need to deliver Brexit. And the Prime Minister is being very clear. He won't be seeking extension, we are going to leave the European on the 31st of October. And that takes the wind out the Brexit Party sails."  

London remains the “epicentre” of the financial world

For Truss, getting on with Brexit cannot be disastrous, and this is also supported by a recent article by Bloomberg columnist John Authers. According to Authers, Brexit cannot diminish London’s appeal as a global financial centre. As he writes, “The foreign exchange market remains by far the world’s largest and deepest. It is where the world’s financial imbalances are resolved. And London’s grip on that market remains stronger than ever. Amazingly, given that London’s access to the EU’s financial markets will be weakened under virtually any version of Brexit, its hold over foreign exchange trading has only tightened in the three years since the referendum.”

While many banks and investors might have arranged to move part of their operations to Paris or Frankfurt, the truth is that they have not yet done so. Authers points out to the latest findings of the Bank of International Settlements’ triennial survey of the foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives markets, published last week, and which shows the market shares of the U.K and the U.S., of all foreign exchange trading.

As the survey shows, London hasn’t lost its appeal, and this is due to certain advantages. It is, in fact, that London’s natural trading day “overlaps at least a little with the main markets in Asia and the U.S.,” as well as the use of the English language, and mainly the “huge pool of FX-knowledgeable talent,” that continue to give it an advantage. As Authers admits, against his own beliefs, is that the survey surprisingly proves that the Brexit vote has not yet caused “irreparable damage to the City of London.”

Importers and Exporters: Universal Partners FX 

While there are positive voices around us about Brexit, volatility and a weaker pound might continue to affect foreign exchange and transferring money abroad. If you are an importer or exporter making regular payments, the best option for you is Universal Partners FX. UPFX’s specialists in foreign exchange will help you take advantage of expert knowledge and strategic financial planning and will provide valuable guidance to protect your business from the risks of a volatile currency market. Get in touch with them today and find out how much they can save you on your international money transfers.

Life after Brexit might seem uncertain, but for many Brits the decision to buy property in Spain is a certain fact. While there might be certain changes in terms of British citizens’ rights with perhaps more documentation and bureaucratic controls, the promise of a sunnier climate and a richer lifestyle is definitely a key factor when moving to Spain.

UK nationals living in the European Union

As the government notes, continuing to live and work in the EU after Brexit would be influenced by each country’s rules and regulations. If you are a resident in Spain, you should register as one, as well as register for healthcare. You should also check if your passport is still valid for travelling and exchange your UK driving licence for a Spanish one.

Buying property in Spain

Buying property can be a very hard decision and a very complicated process. But if you have done your research and sought out the right people to offer support and guidance, you will easily navigate all the complexities and be prepared for any unexpected changes. For one, getting legal advice from an independent lawyer who had good knowledge of Spanish land law (urbanismo), will help you when dealing with developers or estate agents. In this respect, you will be protected from fraud and you will safeguard your interests and finances. While you might be very excited buying or building your own home abroad, being careful with the individual agents and lawyers, and always looking after your own interests is very wise in order to avoid disappointment.

The same goes with the Spanish notary public who will offer legal advice, prepare the contract and issue the public deeds. You might prefer to work with a British estate agent but ensure that they are reliable and registered with the Law Society in the UK. If you are looking for a lawyer or translator the government’s website has qualified professionals on their website.

If you need more assistance with the language and communication, especially when signing a contract, you will need to get an independent translator by checking the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs website.

Things to do before transferring money to purchase the property

Before you buy the property, make sure you check the land registry extract (nota simple), so you know that the sellers are the same with the registered owner(s) of the property and land. It will be wise to check that there are no debts or charges, including a mortgage or any legal proceedings against the particular property. Documents such as the planning permissions and the property itself should have all licences and permissions.

In any case, having the property surveyed by a chartered surveyor would be the best route when you want to have everything in order without worrying. When you purchase the property you will pay tax, so you should know the cadastral value of the property and how much purchase tax will be due.

Check important documents:

First, make sure that the previous owner paid the owner’s annual property tax (IBI), by seeing the receipt. The town hall should provide a certificate proving that there are no unpaid rates from previous years.

You will need to get the cadastral certificate (with boundaries and size of your plot) that must correspond to the Land Registry records. You will need a habitation certificate to connect the electricity and water companies, as well as a receipt to prove all utility bills have been paid. You might also need a certificate signed by the President of the Community of Property Owners stating that there are no outstanding debts.

From 1 June 2013, all homes for sale or to let in Spain need an energy efficiency certificate, so ensure that the seller has this certificate. Once you get all documents, you should register the property in your name with the Land Registry.

Transferring funds

When you have all the papers in order, you would start thinking about transferring your funds from a UK bank account to a Spanish account to pay for the property. Transferring large amounts of money can be stressful, so getting in touch with a reliable foreign exchange specialist such as Universal Partners FX will protect your funds and save you time and money. UPFX have many years of experience in the currency market and can provide the best tailored solution for your money. Get in touch with them today and find out how they can help you make the most of your money.

With Britain’s future trade relationships in question, and a no-deal Brexit looming on the horizon, the government has been preparing for post-Brexit agreements in an attempt to minimise the effects of Brexit.

New Zealand and Britain trade deal

On Monday, Britain’s Trade Minister Liz Truss said that striking a trade deal with New Zealand would be a priority, as officials are working to create continuity and support their non-EU trading partners. Truss, is on a three-nation tour, which includes New Zealand, Australia and Japan, a trip that hopes to pave the way for trade negotiations after Brexit. Ahead of her trip, Truss said: “We’re going to be leaving the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal and as part of that agenda, striking trade deals much more broadly than we have been doing is going to be vitally important. Striking a free trade deal with New Zealand is a very important priority for the UK. It’s one of the first trade deals we expect to strike.”

Official data shows that trade between New Zealand and Britain is at about NZ$6 billion (£3.1 billion), with New Zealand being Britain’s 43rd largest trading partner in 2017.

New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said that he wanted to find a way that will retain the existing advantages of New Zealand traders despite Brexit. Parker said that among the subjects discussed, were finding ways to cooperate such as Britain’s potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Businesses preparing for Brexit

If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement, it will be treated as a non-EU country. For this reason, it is significant that businesses in the EU prepare for this eventuality, if they have not already done so. Businesses that sell to, buy from, or move through the UK, goods, supplies or services will be affected.

Customs duties and restrictions

Without a transitional period, the UK will revert to the WTO rules. This will mean “declarations will have to be lodged and customs authorities may require guarantees for potential or existing customs debts; Customs duties will apply to goods entering the EU from the United Kingdom, without preferences. Prohibitions or restrictions may also apply to some goods entering the EU from the United Kingdom, which means that import or export licences might be required.”  No longer valid will be UK import and export licences, UK authorisations for customs simplifications or procedures and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) authorisations. There will be VAT charges for imports of goods entering the EU from the UK, while exports to the UK will be exempt from VAT. Additionally many rules regarding declaration and payment of VAT will change.

It won’t be easy to move goods to the UK, as that it will require an export declaration. Movement of excise goods from the United Kingdom to the EU will have to go through customs before a movement under Excise Movement and Control System(EMCS) can commence.

UK businesses

UK businesses then that export, import or move goods and services through the UK will need to prepare by completing relevant documents so that the transition to post-Brexit Britain is as smooth as possible.

If you are an importer or exporter and are concerned about the weakening pound as well as unpredictable political developments regarding Brexit, get in touch with Universal Partners FX. UPFX can assist you with the complexities of cross-border payments and regular transfers, as well as hedge your funds against volatile currency market movements. Give them a call today to find out how they can help you save on your international currency transfers.

No-deal Brexit might loom on the horizon, but this has not deterred many Brits from buying or considering to buy property abroad.

When it comes to Brexit, the latest release of a government document outlining “reasonable worst case scenarios” in the case of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, has left many shocked. While the government resisted the publication of the so-called Operation Yellowhammer document, the six-page document which is dated 2 August and was leaked to the Sunday Times last month, warns of a three-month disruption at Dover and other channel crossings, public disorder and shortages of fresh food.

Buying in France

While the political landscape in Britain is chaotic, with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looking more threatening day by day, many Brits are considering moving to France.

As the British parliament is trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, many European countries, including France, Spain and Germany are preparing for Brexit.

The French government and customs authorities will test a period before Brexit to judge the preparedness of companies in the case a no-deal Brexit. According to Gerald Darmanin, the French minister in charge of overseeing the customs agency, French companies which conduct their business in Britain will have to present their plans online, make their declarations to customs officers and open up their shipments to inspectors.

He explained that countries doing business with Britain should be prepared to deal with the country as if it was “South Africa.” He also explained that, “For a month, we are going to act as if there is Brexit for a large number of companies. We’re going to put in place a sort of general rehearsal, so that we are ready at the end of October.”

With more than 4 million trucks going through the northern port of Calais every year, businesses have been used to frictionless trade without having to deal with customs controls and borders. For this reason, many fear that a no-deal Brexit would cause chaos at the borders creating uncontrolled traffic. In this respect, customs officers' numbers will increase by 700, while the customs agency is practicing all through September to prepare.

Residency rights for Brits

According to The Local, France will launch a new online platform in October so that Brits can apply for their carte de séjour residency permits. The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, stated: "The Ministry of the Interior will launch an online registration platform for British nationals living in France in October." The website will be in English and Brits will be able to complete their application online, scan in all relevant supporting documents and then receive a receipt for their application, with only one in-person appointment for fingerprints. This appointment can be done at préfectures, sous-préfectures or local mairies. Some prefectures have closed applications as they don’t know yet what will happen with Brexit, while others are processing applications within weeks. The online application system can be used by Brits already living in France on the day of Brexit.

The French government and the British embassy have advised British residents in France, living there for more than five years, to apply for cartes de séjour residency permits.

After Brexit, all British people will apply for residency rights, in the same way that third-country nationals do. While a no-deal Brexit will allow for a one-year grace period, applications should be sent within six months of Brexit day. On the other hand, if there is a deal in place, there might be a transition period until December 2020. For those who already have a carte de séjour permanent they will be able to exchange it after Brexit. More information is regularly updated on the French government’s website.

Kalba Meadows from the British in Europe citizens’ rights’ group said: "We were given to understand last year that there would be a centralised application platform, and this was confirmed in the table produced by the European Commission in June, so while it's not 'new news' for us it's good that a timeline will now been put into place so that the process can begin as soon as possible. It's going to be a mammoth task processing applications from up to 200k Brits in France. As ever, the devil is in the detail though - and we understand that although applications will be made on a central online platform they will still be processed by individual préfectures, many of which will struggle to meet the demand without extra resources.”

For the French government a no-deal Brexit is the most likely scenario, with officials expecting an economic slowdown.

Universal Partners FX

If you are considering buying a property abroad amidst Brexit preparations and uncertainty, you should also be prepared and secure your funds. If you don’t want to worry about currency volatility and future exchange rates, you could fix your rate today. Universal Partners FX can help you hedge your funds, get access to the best exchange rates and transfer your funds fast, securely and cheaply. Give them a call today to find out more about international currency transfers and saving costs.

The release of the UK's GDP with a better-than-expected 0.3% growth in July, has raised chances of the UK avoiding a recession and boosted the pound. Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that all sectors of the economy grew in the month – the first of the third quarter, with manufacturing also expanding by 0.3%, and the industrial sector growing by 0.1% during the month. However, the last three months the GDP has remained flat, as Brexit uncertainty has impacted on investment.

This is why, despite Brexit recession fears having eased, the economy remains under pressure. For example, the services sector growth might be an indication that businesses are stockpiling in preparation for Brexit as its outcome continues to be unknown. Plus, as many economists indicate, it is unclear for how long growth will continue.

KPMG report  

As accountancy firm KPMG forecasted, there is a possibility of Britain falling into a recession in 2020 if it leaves the EU without a deal. According to the firm, a no-deal Brexit will negatively affect the UK’s trade and business confidence and lead to the economy shrinking by 1.5% in 2020. The accountancy giant is not the first to warn of the negative effects of Brexit on the economy, as experts have already underlined the grim economic outlook for Britain.

Forecasts by the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility, have also highlighted the negative economic consequences of a no-deal Brexit and, consequently, of losing access to the EU single market and customs union.

The possible recession will cause a rise in unemployment, a decline in consumer spending and an estimated 6 percent slide in house prices, the KPMG report added.

Yael Selfin, the  KPMG’s chief economist noted that in the case of a recession resulting from a no-deal Brexit, the decline in the pound’s exchange rate will “push up inflation to above the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target, potentially forcing the central bank to lower its key interest rate to near zero.”  With the central bank’s key rate currently standing at 0.75 per cent, interest rate cuts will possibly be no higher than 1 percentage point.

The report also said: “[The new government’s] resolve to leave the EU by 31 October has become increasingly clear . . . and the proximity of the date make the outlook for the next two years rather bipolar.” KPMG added that the pound’s 10 percent expected decline in value, will hurt even exporters as issues over borders will eliminate any positive effect the weaker currency might have. Selfin said: “The most damaging impacts could come from potential shortages of imported foodstuffs as well as medicines in the immediate term, negatively impacting households’ sentiment.”

Selfin could not be clearer when discussing the damaging effects of a no-deal on the economy: “With the Brexit debate poised on a knife-edge, the UK economy is now at a crossroads. It is difficult to think of another time when the UK has been on the verge of two economic out-turns that are so different, but the impact of a no-deal Brexit should not be underestimated. Despite headwinds such as the slowing global economy and limited domestic capacity, the UK economy now has the potential to strengthen over the next 12 months. But a no-deal Brexit could put paid to this upside, triggering the UK’s first recession for a decade.”

Government and Bank of England will be unable to stop a recession

Indeed, the outlook looks grim as the economy contracted by 0.2 percent between April and June, with investment and growth being limited. 

On Monday (9 September), the Resolution Foundation thinktank in its assessment of the UK’s readiness to respond to the next recession, said that the government and the Bank of England were unprepared and that this was a significant risk that policy makers should take seriously. As the think tank noted: “The UK’s macroeconomic policy framework has not kept pace with significant changes to our economic environment and is therefore at risk of leaving the country underprepared for the next recession. That is not a risk policymakers should take lightly.”

 In its key findings, the think tank stressed that the country was facing the biggest risk of recession since 2007, that those of lower incomes would be the most exposed to the recession and that monetary policy will be unable to provide “anything like the level of support it has previously in recessions, reflecting what appears to be a secular decline in the level of interest rates around the world.”

Importing and exporting

If you are an importer or exporter and are worried about the future effects of a weakening pound, post-Brexit border controls and other complexities, contacting Universal Partners FX is the best option for you. UPFX can save you lots of money when transferring funds abroad and can recommend hedging strategies to protect your funds. Give them a call today to find out how they can help you save on your international currency transfers and have peace of mind.

 

Moving to Italy and buying property might be a dream for many, but what happens when Brexit is looming on the horizon and your EU status is suddenly questioned?

Brits can buy a property in Italy, despite being from the EU or not, so Brexit won’t have a big impact on your decision to buy property there. However, as with other European countries where Brits are relocating or buying a property as residents, you will have to register as a resident in Italy, check whether your passport is valid for travelling, exchange your UK driving licence for an Italian one, as well as register for healthcare. So, buying property in Italy means also deciding about your residency as you must register as an Italian resident if you are considering staying there for more than three months. 

Residency

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the rights of all UK nationals living or working in Italy legally will be recognised by the Italian government. However, if there is no deal, UK nationals living in Italy will have to get a non-residence permit by 31 December 2020 to protect their rights to work, healthcare and social benefits.

When it comes to buying a property after Brexit, being a non-resident and non-EU national, will mean that you will have to use the house as your holiday home, while only being allowed to stay there a maximum of 180 days per year, but only 90 days at a time. If you buy the property as a resident, then you will have to live there for over half the year and state that the property is your main residence. This will lower the amount of money you have to spend on purchase and local taxes.

Buying a property

Buying a property in Italy is usually performed by a notary who is a qualified lawyer to conduct the transfer of the property between the seller and yourself. The notary will prepare the deeds, check for outstanding charges, and make sure that the property meets required standards. They will also make sure there is a translator present when you sign the legal contracts. The translator might cost you a couple of hundred euros.

As a buyer, you will pay the purchase taxes and the notary’s fees. The notary will be paid approximately 1-2 percent, depending on the price of the property.

Buying property as a resident or non-resident, as well as from a private individual or a company are factors that will affect the kind of taxes you will have to pay for your property. Buying from a private individual will involve paying the cadastral fee which is defined by the property’s size and location. Additionally, if you’re buying as a non-resident, you will have to pay taxes on the cadastral value, as well as smaller taxes. While buying a house as a resident will involve lower taxes and obtaining a residency permit within the next 18 months, only do so if you intend to become a resident, otherwise, you will still have to pay the relevant taxes plus a penalty of 30%.

For a property bought from a company, you will pay a similar cadastral value on the property as buying it from an individual, especially if you’re buying as a non-resident, but buying as a resident the taxes will be much lower. A more favourable situation arises when you buy a winery or a country property which will demand you to pay much lower taxes (just 1 percent on the purchase price in tax). If you are buying an Italian company for commercial use, then you only pay a few fixed fees and no taxes.

Can I buy a property in Italy immediately?

While the time depends on the individual case, you can usually finalise a sale within approximately 10 weeks, as there is paperwork to be completed, registrations to be updated and other related issues that might arise. If you arrange power of attorney, this might take longer, but if you are present yourself and the property is ready to go with all the relevant papers in place, then you are all settled, and the process can be quick.

In case, however, you don’t have the relevant funds in place, but you have fallen in love with a property, then it is possible to sign a purchase agreement in order to reserve it for maximum a month until you can sign the preliminary contract.  Paying a deposit of around €2,000 – €10,000 will protect you against any legal issues, but you will be unable to get it refunded if you no longer wish to buy the property.

Buying a property in Italy with a limited budget is also a possibility, as there are village houses or unrestored old properties that are much cheaper than modern buildings or properties in expensive areas such as Tuscany.

 

Foreign exchange specialists: Universal Partners FX

Whether you are on a limited budget or you can afford a luxury villa, you are still concerned about the value of your funds when you exchange them into foreign currency. In terms of currency volatility, things in Britain haven’t really changed. The prospect of a no-deal Brexit is extremely possible as the latest updates show.

With the Internal Market Bill fiasco and a continued stand-off over fishing rights, a no-deal may be the most likely outcome. Any news that comes out between now and the end of the transition period will certainly affect the euro rates one way or another. For example, if the Internal Market Bill is upheld, this will likely lead to legal action being taken by EU and further jeopardising a deal. Ongoing Covid-19 impacts will also affect the economy and the pound, but eyes will be on the EU as they consider more stimulus packages that will further increase debt and impact the euro.

One thing is for sure, it is hard work keeping track of rates so it is important to protect your funds by getting assistance from a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX. UPFX can offer you the best possible exchange rates and can even fix exchange rates in advance to avoid market movements costing you money. Contact us today to find out how much money you can save on your international money transfers.

Brexit: Buying Property Abroad as Pound Tumbles

Buying property abroad has become more complex the last few years as Brexit uncertainty and the pound’s volatility continue to negatively impact the UK economy, with fears of a recession increasing.

Brexit update

On Tuesday (3/9), the pound experienced increased volatility, reaching its lowest level  in 34 years, from which it rebounded, as rebel Tory and opposition MPs attempted to block a no-deal Brexit. The prime minister Boris Jonson was eventually defeated. According to the so-called Benn bill, if he is unable to reach an agreement with Brussels in the next few weeks, he will have to delay Britain’s departure from the European Union until 31 January.

Sterling dropped due to fears of a snap general election, reaching its lowest level in more than three decades, with the exception of the October 2016 “flash crash." Ahead of the vote, and after Tory MP Philip Lee’s defection to the Liberal Democrats, it rose slightly.

“For all the uncertainty that lies ahead, markets see a Boris Johnson led no-deal Brexit as the worst-case scenario and thus treat anything that undermines that as pound positive,” said analyst at IG Joshua Mahony.

According to the Independent, a Bloomberg survey last month, showed that a delay was seen as the most positive outcome for the pound. Sterling has tumbled significantly since the EU referendum in June 2016.

Boris Johnson’s defeat by a margin of 328 to 301 on Tuesday, has put the prime minister in a precarious position, and has wounded his rhetoric of no-deal. As a result of his defeat, the prime minister said he would table a bill to trigger a general election, but Labour said it would not back his election motion, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass through the Commons.

On Thursday, the House of Lords voted in favour of getting the Benn bill, that will rule out a no-deal Brexit, through all the stages of parliament by Friday afternoon.

Buying your dream abroad

For many, the decision to buy a home abroad is not significantly affected by Brexit. They have prepared and have done their research and are confident that their decision is final. For them, consulting a leading expert in transferring money abroad has also given them peace of mind. Foreign exchange specialists such as Universal Partners FX have years of experience in international money transfers and can navigate volatile currency markets, saving you money and time. So, considering the current volatility and the weakness of the pound, getting help from UPFX will help you significantly when you make large international transfers to buy property abroad or pay related costs.

Residency rights

Due to the fact that many Brits are already living in countries such as France and Spain, and with more EU countries guaranteeing British expats post-Brexit grace periods, British expats are slightly less worried about Brexit, especially the ones already living there. As many European countries have pledged to offer legal residency rights to British expats in return for the same rights for European nationals residing in the UK, it is hard to see that certain freedoms will completely eclipsed after Brexit. For example, the Italian government has announced that British expats will remain legal residents in the event of no deal, while the Spanish authorities are saying British expats will have the same rights in Spain post-Brexit as long as Spaniards already living in the UK are offered the same residency rights.

France has also made sure to clarify its position on residency by passing a bill in the case of a no-deal Brexit, followed by a government decree. Like other European countries, France will apply these rights as long as the UK does the same for French nationals living in the UK. After Brexit, for example, Britons in France will have six months to apply for a residence card. During the one-year transitional period Brits will continue to have existing rights over residence, work and benefits, while they can enjoy access to healthcare for two years after Brexit. Remain in France and the UK government website provide more details.

So, if you are buying a home in a European country, you need to consider all the complexities of life abroad after Brexit. More importantly, as the pound continues to fluctuate, getting expert help from a foreign exchange specialist such as UPFX, will prove to be extremely beneficial especially when you are transferring your hard-earned money. Get in touch with them today for a quick quote and find out how much you can save on your international currency transfers.

With a no-deal Brexit most likely happening in a couple of months, experts have warned about how unprepared many trading companies are.  Service industries, such as finance make up 79% of the British economy and account for 45% of UK exports. A no-deal Brexit means that these service providers would lose access to European markets and might have to comply to new rules and regulations. According to Bloomberg Economics, in a “more benign no-deal scenario growth will probably slow sharply, while a more disruptive outcome would make a recession highly likely.”

The prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to leave the EU by 31 October with or without a deal. Without a withdrawal agreement in place, the UK will crash out of the EU, lose its access to the single market and revert to the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, having to deal with complicated restrictions and tariffs on exports. For many economists and business organisations, a no-deal Brexit will simply be disastrous for the economy.

Trading post-Brexit

While the UK has enjoyed tariff-free trade, after Brexit the UK will have to pay tariffs on UK goods and services. The change will hurt the UK economy, cause delays and increase costs and controls. Particularly, many financial companies are planning to move part of their operations to Europe to counteract the loss of access to their EU “passporting” rights and secure the smooth trading of goods and services with the rest of the world.

Similarly, UK prices will increase for EU imports such as food and cars. Cars will get a 10% tariff, clothes and linen a 12% tariff, while the UK will impose import quotas on beef, lamb, fish, poultry and swine.

The Bank of England has warned that Britain has one in three chance to plunge into a recession the beginning of the next year, as uncertainty over Brexit continues to affect the economy. In this climate, British businesses are stockpiling goods or plan to do so, as a hard Brexit will create problems at ports and hurt supply chains.  

Trading companies not prepared for Brexit

Carol Lynch, partner in Customs and International trade with the accountancy group BDO, said that only half of importers and exporters have signed up for the basic trading requirement. She said: "When we are looking at client reviews in terms of planning, the first question - particularly for vendors and suppliers - is have you got an EORI number. If you haven't, that's a very good indication that you haven't given any thought to future planning, deferred planning, tariffs, haulier preparations. The EORI is the very basic requirement.” For her, both imports and exports will be seriously affected by trade barriers. Lynch clarified: "Imports are especially important for consumers and manufacturers. Goods purchased from the UK and 80% of goods coming from Europe and outside of Europe come through the UK. It's critical and we'd be working with hauliers in making sure drivers are prepared and the right paper work has been handed in. Whatever chance you have of not being delayed is based on your preparations, that you know how to complete import declaration, that it's cleared and that you have that clearance slip in the cab so the driver knows what to do when they drive off the boat. There are a number of steps to ensure you can minimise the risk of delays which are, to a certain extent, inevitable.”

According to the Financial Times, France is already preparing for a no-deal Brexit by planning to trial an electronic customs system. The trial of the electronic customs system will commence in mid-September in Calais, ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit on 31 October. French minister in charge of customs Gérald Darmanin told French radio station RTL: “For a month, we’re going to pretend there is Brexit. For a lot of companies, we are going to have a sort of dress rehearsal so that we are ready at the end of October.”

If you are an importer or exporter, you must have experienced the general pessimism and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, while you might have been affected by the weak pound. If you want to protect your business and financial transfers, contact Universal Partners FX. UPFX will offer valuable support and assistance when transferring money internationally while tailoring hedging strategies to your business’ needs. Give them a call today and find out how much you can save on your international money transfers.