If you are a business that needs to pay your employees and suppliers abroad or convert income from overseas, you must have used the services of a bank or a currency specialist to do so. Using a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX comes with certain benefits that your everyday banking institution cannot possibly deliver. From saving you money in unnecessary fees as well as securing a competitive exchange rate, UPFX’s dedicated team can relieve you of the burden of worrying about the exchange rate eating into your finances. A currency specialist will always provide a more thorough service than any bank can, and the overall winner is the client - getting better rates and more in depth insights.

If you want to make the right decisions and get the very best value when operating in the currency market, here are a few tips to consider.

Plan Ahead

Many businesses make the mistake of dealing with their foreign payments on a day-by-day basis. This opens you up to a huge amount of currency risk as the rate can fluctuate wildly from one to day to the next. At Universal Partners FX, we always help clients plan ahead by assessing their currency risk for the next 12 or even 24 months against the current rates. A strategy like this devised by an expert who will monitor the market can start saving thousands after just a few months.

Ignore Rates (at least initially)

This might sound illogical, but rates are not the most important thing when devising a strategy for your business to get the best value on foreign exchange. Choosing a provider based on their lower rates may yield dividends initially, but what happens when rates move? Like anything, price doesn't tell the whole story. Look out for the array of services that enable you to be flexible when the inevitable movements occur in the market. A spot contract can help you secure an excellent exchange rate at the moment you want to make an instant transfer, but you can budget effectively and protect your business from unexpected market volatility by fixing an exchange rate in advance with a forward contract. UPFX also offers stop loss and limit orders when you want to target a specific exchange rate. A limit order enables you to make a transfer at your desired and predetermined rate when the market reaches that level. A stop loss order is also perfect when you want to protect your funds against an unexpected currency drop by setting a predetermined worst-case rate. These are off-the-shelf products, but every business is different so we always tailor our strategies to suit the needs of each client individually.

Define Your Risk Appetite

As well as limiting risk, our services can also do much more than that. For businesses that have a higher risk appetite, our currency hedging solutions can enable businesses to profit from positive market fluctuations. Of course, this comes at a risk - but if you are in a saturated market where competitive advantage is everything, these strategies can not only protect your business, but also provide extra value that you can pass on to your customers. So before you embark on any strategy, it is important for you or your foreign payment provider to consider what risk level is appropriate for your business to cope with. 

 

If your business requires currency services to boost your bottom-line profits, UPFX’s dedicated customer support team or your personal account manager will explain everything you need to know about making foreign transfers effectively. You can also use our simple and user-friendly online platform to transfer your funds in a fast, secure and affordable way. Get in touch now with Universal Partners FX and find out how you can get the best possible value from the currency market.

You might have organised buying your home overseas a long time ago, but when it comes to Brexit there are a few things to consider before moving overseas. The requirements for living in France after Brexit have not been set in stone yet, with the latest updates referring to minimum resources. There is also some confusion regarding British expats’ French residency rights, healthcare and work in France after Brexit. In this article we hope to shed some light on some of these and to help guide you through the issues that most Brits are concerned with.

Minimum Resources Requirement

Many Brits are concerned about the number of resources they need to have to qualify for French residency after Brexit, especially for those who have limited income or are pensioners, which can be quite stressful.

The French government has recently published an Arrêté in the Journal Officiel, which clarifies what criteria officials need to consider when making their decisions. Such decisions will be based on individual cases, as the authorities will need to look at an individual’s specific situation, whether they own their home, paying mortgage or rent, or they have extra savings or rental income in the UK.

The French government will consider reasonable income anything that is in line with the French in-work benefit, the so-called Revenue de Solidarité Active (RSA) which is currently at €564.78 per month. For British couples for example, it will be fine if they both declare the aforementioned amount as their household income, without needing to receive €564.78 each. Regardless of how many people are residing in a specific household, the amount required will be the same as the minimum amount of the RSA for a single person without children. The same amount will also be the guideline figure for other applications such as those regarding the French benefit level for pensioners.

French Residency: Providing proof of your income

Not everyone has to provide proof of their financial situation when applying for residency. If you have lived in France for more than five years, you will only need to provide personal identity confirmation documents, proof of address documents and evidence of the date you arrived in France.

If you have been living in France for longer than 5 years or you are married to a French citizen, you will still need to apply for a residency card before 30th June 2021. If you lived less than 5 years in France, you would need to apply as either employed or self-employed, job-seeker, student, retired or as the family member of someone who meets the above criteria or the spouse, civil partner or live-in partner of a French person. If you are retired or financially inactive, then you will have to provide evidence of how you support yourself including recent tax declaration, any pension payments or recent bank statements. A French government website in both English and French provides more information about moving to or living in France.

Transferring Funds: Currency Exchange

If you are a British home buyer, a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX can help you navigate the current market while taking into consideration your specific needs, goals and your budget. UPFX offers excellent exchange rates and has a record in providing tailored and dedicated customer care to thousands of customers worldwide.

When considering buying your dream home in France, Universal Partners FX can give you peace of mind when sending money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

 

If you are buying your dream home with a mortgage from a Spanish bank, you should be prepared as the process will take some time and banks will be extremely strict with having all documentation in place. Preparing early and having your mortgage in place, will make the process much easier and give you peace of mind.

Buying property

The bank in Spain will typically request that you submit specific documents with your application, although a dedicated person from the bank’s customer relations will help you throughout with your documents and make all the necessary arrangements.  It is usually expected that you will provide a copy of your passport, proof of address documentation such as a utility bill, an NIE certificate, if you are employed, they will need at least 2 of your last wage slips, your annual tax statement, and 2 annual tax returns, last 2 years annual accounts, an accountant’s or employer reference, credit report, last 3-6 months bank statements, mortgage or rental agreement relating to the main residence. Whatever they require, they will first assess it and then they might respond with potential questions. After this, they will offer you a provisional approval on the condition that your property is valued, and it corresponds to the amount you are asking. The valuation takes a week. The bank branch submits your application to their risk department for a final approval which will be provided in writing.

Building a house

A similar process is followed if you are building  a house, as the value of your land and projected costs for a house will be assessed and cross-checked by a professional surveyor who will visit the location and provide their valuation to the bank.  By this time, you will need to have had architectural plans approved by the building authority and have a general estimate of your overall costs, so you present the bank with a clear and realistic number. If you do not manage to do so, this will create delays and more paperwork, so it is good to have a clear communication with your bank from the start and understand what is needed. Whether you are signing your contract with the bank or an independent third party will evaluate your property, you will be required to cover the costs. This will also include any fees for lawyers, especially if you do not speak the language, as the bank will arrange for a lawyer to be present to translate any papers you need to sign.

Total costs

The total costs of buying a property with a mortgage could be around 3%, as you will have to pay an arrangement fee (1% of loan as standard), valuation fee (approx. €500.00) and mortgage stamp duty (around 1.1%).

The interest rates in Spanish banks are attractive and relatively low, with an average rate around 2.75%. It is important to consider that banks now might offer a loan that covers only 60% (non- residents) to 80% (residents) of the purchase price or of the appraised value of the property (the lowest value prevails).

When buying a finca or rural property the maximum mortgage will be 60%. The rest you will have to finance yourself with your own resources, whether that means you need to increase your mortgage in your home country or with personal savings.

Spanish banks also take into account your family situation, whether you rent your home or have your own property, number and age of children, type of work, income, etc.

When applying for a mortgage in Spain, banks will look at the relation between your income and debt to assess your situation and decide how much you are able to pay per month. For example, the bank will consider around DTI of 30-35% (up to 40%) and for non-residents, the accepted DTI will be 25-35%.

If you are a British buyer, a currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX can help you navigate the current market while taking into consideration your specific needs, goals and your budget.

When considering buying your dream home in Spain, Universal Partners FX can give you peace of mind when sending money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

 

Buying your home in Spain is a dream come true, but there are many important things to consider when it comes to buying and transferring funds from the UK to Spain. Since buying a property involves taking into account the actual price of the home as well as any related costs such as paying taxes and fees, which can be as high as 8 and 15%, it is vital that you consider your finances, minimise your expenses and have a solid plan with a forex broker.

Costs to consider

It is important to work out your budget for buying your property, taking into account all of the related costs. One of the first things to consider is the property transfer tax which is around 10% of the purchase price and every region in Spain sets its own one. For example, in Andalucía, a property that costs up to €400,000 will have a property transfer tax of 8%, whereas over that and up to €700,000, you will have to pay 9% or 10% if the property costs over €700,001. But this is not all. When you buy a home or a plot of land, you have to register with the land registry, so you get your deeds. The fee for this can be €500.00 for a property of €100,000.

When you are signing your contracts and buying property this is conducted in the presence of a notary who will also charge a fee to verify the documents and the act taking place. Again, the notary fees depend on the price of a house, so for a €100,000 property, you will need to pay €800.00 for fees.

When you are buying, you will also need a solicitor to represent you and whose fees will be around 1% of the purchase price. Also, you will have to pay the commission of the estate agent, if there is one, and it is usually included in the property price.

How to Save Money

As always, getting some extra help from experts could relieve some stress and save you money. A very useful thing to do is contact an estate agent who knows the area you want to buy in well and who can give you more insight, help you understand market prices and explain the process of negotiating a price further. They might save you a lot of money by explaining the right price for a specific purchase and help you have the upper hand in the negotiations by providing valuable background on the purchase.

Additionally, someone who speaks the language and who can explain the process, such as a lawyer who can act on your behalf and elucidate complex legal issues, is a great asset. They will be able to point out things to watch and avoid such as illegal property building or planning which might cost you money to resolve later.

Paying with cash is always a great advantage as you can pay less and is something to consider if you are willing to do so.

A useful point to consider is paying for a survey of the property to make sure there aren’t any underlying problems and ensure that the structure of the house is solid, otherwise, if there are issues you can negotiate a lower price or save yourself the trouble and money.

Use a currency specialist

Transferring sterling to euro can cost you bank fees. To avoid unnecessary expenses, it is wise to use a currency transfer specialist such as UPFX that they can transfer funds for your purchase. Not only will they offer you competitive exchange rates, but they will make sure that your funds are protected from currency fluctuation.

When you are buying, it is good to consider buying offseason, negotiate the price and get a special deal and be open to change your requirements and find something that is much cheaper. You might be surprised at the opportunities you might find when taking a step back and looking at locations or properties you may have not considered before.

If you are a British buyer, and want to secure a strong investment opportunity, now is the time to get in touch with your currency broker. A currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX can help you navigate the current market while taking into consideration your specific needs, goals and your budget.

When considering buying your dream home in Spain, Universal Partners FX can give you peace of mind when sending money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

If you are considering buying a dream home abroad or simply investing in a desirable location where you can rent your property or relocate for good, then you must have looked at Spain as your top destination. Well, you were not wrong, as Spain continues to top the list for places to relocate or buy a property abroad.

According to iProperty Management’s research, Spain, which is already the top destination for Brits,  was the most searched for country, with 690,360 searches, 37,600 of which were from UK internet users. Following Spain, with less than 194,000 searches was Canada.

Spain is especially popular with Brits who made up 69% of expats in 2018. According to the data, those who want to invest in a property that will see demand from expatriates looking to relocate, should consider Spain. Among the top five, France and Portugal have also been a favourite location for Brits and the two countries saw 484,800 and 212,280 searches, respectively.

The interest in these countries does not simply result from the fact they are beautiful and desirable locations for retirement or for vacation. They are members of the EU and thus residents living in each of them are allowed to move and work freely.

 Spain is cheaper than London!

If you are hoping to get onto the property ladder, Spain is a good option. There are plenty of reasons for that as the number of expats in the Costa del Sol could attest. But beautiful location, gorgeous buildings, sunny beaches and good food can simply explain why you would want to settle there.

If you are buying property, the choice of buying within a gated community such as those located in the towns of San Pedro de Alcantara and Estepona, can offer security and peace. According to the Olive Press, a three bedroom apartment in Estepona  will cost around £200K, whereas the same amount could only get you a studio apartment in London, for example.

Places such as Marbella and Banus are also appealing due to the fact that they are secure and provide a great lifestyle. But also other areas on the Costa del Sol such as Casares Costa. Estepona, for example is only 20 minutes west of Marbella and is relatively cheaper than other more sought-after locations while offering a more authentic flavour of Spain. Guadalmina Ata poses a more pricey location where one can purchase beautiful properties exceeding €2 million.

For many Brits, and due to Covid-19 and Brexit, Spain appears to be the ultimate destination where they can retire and feel secure, while remaining part of the EU. Indeed, the number of Brits buying property in Spain has risen a lot recently due to Brexit.

Just looking at the data showing where Brits are registered in Spain, is indicative of the places and the kind of appeal they have for different age groups. The British community is concentrated along the coast, in Alicante and Málaga, and more than a third of residents are over 65. Madrid and Barcelona are a favourite among the younger generations who want to work and enjoy a more busy lifestyle.

Currency Exchange

If you are buying a holiday home in Spain, it is important to consult a specialist foreign exchange company such as Universal Partners FX right from the start. UPFX can help you manage currency fluctuations by locking the rate, as the final price of your home could vary significantly from the time you made your offer.

When moving large amounts of cash, it is best to get in touch with UPFX’s currency specialists where they can offer you competitive exchange rates and the best value for your money. Find out what your money is worth by giving them a call or requesting a free quote.

Buying property in Cyprus has grown consistently over the recent years, with many Brits relocating in the Republic of Cyprus. While Covid-19 has hurt the market, interest in property continues as the market is slowly recovering. Paphos and Limassol, for example, are especially sought after as they offer amazing villas and luxury properties in beautiful locations, allowing Brits to enjoy the best of what the island has to offer. In such areas, foreigners constitute as much as 75 percent of the market. Last year, world famous Colombian pop singer Shakira and her famous partner Gerard Pique, who plays for Barcelona football club, bought an exclusive villa in the coastal village of Peyia in Paphos. Celebrities and Hollywood stars have for years chosen Cyprus for their vacations. Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Douglas Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Malkovich, Elton John, Diana Ross and Rod Stewart are a few of the rich and famous who chose to spend their holidays on the sunny Mediterranean island.

Why Cyprus?

With Cyprus being warm all year round, having sandy beaches, and hospitable people, it is not surprising that it has become as popular as Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca. The big difference however is that the island offers some beautiful but affordable properties.

Home prices on Cyprus are indeed much cheaper when compared to Marbella, Spain, or the Algarve in Portugal. Whereas a villa in Spain or Portugal would be about 400,000 or 450,000 euros ($475,000 to $535,000), a villa in Paphos would be half the price. Cyprus’s coastal property prices could “range from as much as $724 a square foot in Limassol district to as little as $423 a square foot in Paphos district.”

Before the pandemic, Russians and Chinese buyers were the top international buyers, with many relocating their families and acquiring European citizenship by investing in property. German, British and Scandinavian buyers, as well as buyers from Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and South Africa have also preferred Cyprus, due to its location and its proximity to Europe.

Things to consider when buying property in Cyprus

Although some foreigners have bought houses in the illegally occupied area of Cyprus, these have usually been controversial due to the complexities and restrictions on home purchases on that part of Cyprus. As a recent article in the New York Times noted, “While European Union citizens with residency in the southern part of Cyprus can purchase unlimited properties there, others are limited to one apartment, house or plot….In northern Cyprus, the limit is four properties” but “buyers wishing to purchase a home there must confirm in advance that it actually belongs to the seller and not to a Greek Cypriot, because they may be exposed to criminal liability due to the political situation in Cyprus.”

Buyers across Cyprus should also be careful when buying a property, ensuring that the house “is free of any charges, mortgages or other encumbrances with the provincial land registry.”

When you decide to purchase a property on the island, it is usually recommended that you get in touch with a lawyer who will typically charge about 2,000 euros to serve as your local lawyer, protecting your interests and explaining the complexities of the market. When you are purchasing property, stamp duties range from 3 percent to 8 percent, depending on the property’s sale price, with the seller paying 5 percent real estate commission.

If you are considering buying your dream home in Cyprus, you should contact a foreign exchange specialist to assist you with transferring your money abroad, explain currency exchange, and hedge your funds from unpredictable currency movements. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX so you can have peace of mind when sending a large amount of money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

Buying property  in Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Greece is back in demand, with property site Rightmove reporting 1million searches in one day.

As travel restrictions ease, interest in buying property overseas has reignited with the number of Brits searching for a place in the sun rising. The top five property locations for Brits are Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Greece, according to search data from Rightmove last month.  

Rightmove sees a surge in interest in European destinations

Rightmove’s Miles Shipside said: “Lockdown has allowed many people time to re-appraise their lives, which has prompted lots of home-hunters to get serious about buying elsewhere in Europe. In particular, countries such as Spain, France, and Portugal have cultures that are familiar to us, and their warmer climates and reasonably priced rural stock will appeal to those who have been recently denied foreign travel.”

He added: “Social distancing would be far more straightforward if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford your own overseas pad. If other holiday-makers feel the same, then they may wish to rent your property, helping it bring in an income when you are not there. It’s still early days as we’re not out of lockdown yet and most airlines are still shut, but this is an indication that this has been a life-changing period for many who are re-appraising both how and where they want to live.”

According to Rightmove, enquiries to estate agents overseas reached the highest level since last June, with the number of new users on “Rightmove Overseas” being 41 per cent higher than the same month last year. Rachel Beaton, an overseas property expert at Rightmove, said that with the easing of the travel restrictions the demand for overseas homes rose to “record-breaking levels.”

Particularly, searches for property in Spain increased by a quarter compared to last June, with many estate agents reporting a surge in online browsing and enquiries for overseas homes in the month of June.

Estate agents at Savills told financial website This is Money that “its most viewed home online in Spain over the last month was a remote five-bedroom £572,475 home in Andalucía, complete with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, 10 hectares of land, a large swimming pool and an olive tree lined driveway.”

Spanish digital platform allows Brits to apply for a mortgage online

With interest in Spanish property rising, Spanish retail bank, CaixaBank, is providing its online platform HolaBank for Western European citizens considering buying a property to apply for a mortgage. The new digital platform comes after the release of digital mortgage application MortgageNow, another service which allows potential international buyers of Spanish property to apply for a mortgage from their country. Clients eligible to use the MortgageNow are European residents with an interest in purchasing a property in Spain.

 

In 2019, the Spanish Land Registry reported more than 62,000 property purchase agreements, particularly focussing on the Mediterranean coast, a number that represents 12.5% of the national total.

If you are considering buying your dream home, you should contact a foreign exchange specialist to assist you with transferring your money abroad, explain currency exchange, and hedge your funds from unpredictable currency movements. Get in touch with Universal Partners FX so you can have peace of mind when sending a large amount of money overseas. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

Brits buying property abroad and looking to experience that unique Mediterranean atmosphere, sun-kissed beaches, and European heritage have often turned their gaze towards the majestic Portugal. A great alternative to Europe’s overpopulated cities, Portugal has been the choice for many expats looking for their second home abroad.

However, with recent reports suggesting that Portugal will not be on the initial list of air bridges from UK, there has been a clamour from many tour operators and holiday makers alike to ensure that this is not the case come tomorrow when the list is announced. These demands may fall on deaf ears, but it highlights how Portugal is a real favourite amongst Brits as a holiday destination. This is for many reasons, first and foremost, Portugal is England's oldest ally since 1147 when English crusaders helped King Alfonso I capture Lisbon from the Muslims.

Famous for its national drink, port, beaches and dramatic scenery, Portugal is also an affordable destination, and the second best in value after Bulgaria. Younger generations have heard of the Livraria Porto bookstore in the Portuguese municipality of Porto, which has inspired the Hogwarts Library in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, while older ones are enthralled by its rich history, being one of the oldest states in Europe.

Portugal combines contemporary lifestyle with antiquated charm, and despite the recent financial crisis, the country has managed to recover, offering expats attractive tax and residency incentives and low mortgage rates.

Buying property in some of Portugal’s most popular locations

Whether you’re looking for a holiday home, your dream property to retire to or an investment, Portugal offers a variety of properties at different locations and prices. From Algarve’s beaches and golf courses, to Lisbon’s hip neighbourhoods and Porto’s famous wineries, Brits have many choices depending on the kind of lifestyle they want to experience and their budget.

Algarve’s property developments in such resort towns as Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago are sought after and expensive. A two-bedroom apartment can be up to €360,000 while a three-bedroom villa can worth around a million. Prices might be the same in Western Algarve, but, there, life is quieter as in the fishing town of Lagos where property prices range from €200,000 to €5 million. In the booming area of Eastern Algarve, properties can be cheaper, and you can find some attractive opportunities in the town of Tavira where country villas can be around €450,000.

Lisbon’s Blue coast, Costa Azul, is one of the most peaceful areas with such fishing villages as Sesimbra and Sines, most famous for its cuisine and seafood restaurants. Here, you can find five-bedroom villas ranging from €1-3 million or a three-bedroom house for €200,000.

Townhouses and apartments in developments can be a cheaper alternative, with the latter offering communal facilities such as pools and gardens with shared maintenance costs.

Financing your dream home in Portugal

If you are not transferring funds or re-mortgaging your UK home, you will need to consider your borrowing options, such as taking a Portuguese mortgage against a property. The larger amount of cash you deposit the easier it will be to secure a loan at a reasonable interest rate. You will need to also have in mind currency fluctuation as you will be better borrowing in the same currency you will be repaying the loan.

Currency Exchange

This is why, it is important to consult a specialist foreign exchange company such as Universal Partners FX right from the start. UPFX can help you manage currency fluctuations by fixing the rate, as the final price of your home could vary significantly from the time you made your offer.

When moving large amounts of cash, it is best to get in touch with UPFX’s currency specialists where they can offer you competitive exchange rates and the best value for your money. Find out what your money is worth by giving them a call or requesting a free quote.

Buying property overseas can be a stressful experience especially after the spread of the coronavirus and European countries’ lockdowns. However, you might not need to postpone your dream of buying a house abroad, as agents, notaries and lawyers have found new ways to respond to the situation.

Viewing a property

While you cannot be present materially to view your dream home, as countries such as Spain and France are on a state of emergency, many agencies continue to serve their clients through virtual tours and other online materials as an article in the Financial Times has pointed out. French agency Leggett Immobilier  state on their website that are open for business but can’t offer property visits. What they do offer, though, for the moment, is “a mix of videos, virtual tours, floor plans and additional photos.” They say that their agents are available to speak with clients through the telephone or video conference, and vendors willing “to do facetime or skype visits with you online.”

Proof of ID

While many viewings might have been postponed due to travel bans, agents and notaries are completing most paperwork online with the use of digital signatures, scanning and emailing documents or customers giving power of attorney (POA) to their lawyers. As the French agency says, their clients can give a “power of attorney” so they “don’t need to be physically present at either exchange or completion” when they purchase a property. While individual notaries might “have different interpretations of what is currently acceptable,” they note that clients’ agents will be able to clarify the current status of any purchase they have made.

According to Leggett, purchases continue with notaries accepting proof of ID by e-sign software such as web portals DocuSign and Yousign, without needing certification by a notary in the UK. The use of video conference and video links can also be used so that the notary can see the clients in real time signing the documents.

It is believed that the use of electronic signature in signing contracts remotely will continue and become more widespread over the coming weeks, especially when clients have already viewed the property and have already agreed on a price prior to the lockdown.

Flexible Dates

If you have already found your home and are in the middle of completing the purchase, then using a flexible completion date can ensure that the sale still progresses smoothly for both parties. Solicitor at My Lawyer in Spain Alex Radford says that they are suggesting a future completion date of at least two months which should be included when signing the documents. “There needs to be a clause inserted that states ‘completion will be by ‘x’ date or earlier by agreement or later if the parties or their legal representatives cannot attend completion due to Covid-19 crisis,’” he says. Radford clarifies that only documents of an urgent nature are signed, while other legal work is postponed, according to the notary’s criteria.

Agreeing on a flexible date is important, as this will guarantee securing your funds and progressing with the purchase. The FT article notes that having a “‘safety-net’ clause that allows buyers to pull out if they cannot secure a mortgage,” or extending target days will protect buyers as well as sellers who fear that their property might be devalued after the coronavirus.

If you are in the process of buying your dream home, there is no reason to panic. Jacqui Reddin, Head of Sales Development at Beaux Villages, says that staying in touch with your agent and remaining informed is the best way to move forward. She clarifies that they “are still actively dealing with ongoing sales and even have new ones since lockdown. The buying process is bound to take a bit longer, but if we all stay connected things will start to flow more smoothly.”

In regards to financial concerns over transferring your money abroad or currency exchange, keeping in touch with your currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX can give you peace of mind and help you navigate the unexpected volatility of currency markets. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

 

Are you looking for a new adventure? Maybe your career has forced you to relocate? Ireland, with its gorgeous green landscapes, rich history and a growing economy could be the perfect place for you – especially with the uncertainty that Brexit brings for many UK nationals. Here, Universal Partners FX provides a comprehensive guide for anyone thinking about moving to Ireland, what you’ll need to move as well as working and living in Ireland.

For expats considering moving to Ireland, the first thing that should be recognised is that the island is technically home to two nations. The Republic of Ireland, consisting of 26 of the island’s 32 counties, resides in the South. Northern Ireland, made up of the remaining six counties and is part of Great Britain, is found in the north. Despite being part of Great Britain, Northern Ireland does have its very own devolved government and is not governed by the United Kingdom. Generally, when people speak of Ireland, they are often referring to the Republic and not Northern.

A history of Ireland

Shortly after arriving in Ireland, you will quickly become aware of its long and well-documented history, of which its residents are extremely proud. Irish history, from its historic period all the way up to modern times, is one that is characterised by trade with the international community. As you travel around Ireland, the signs and sites can be seen throughout the country, and information of its rich past can be found in museums and tours. However, the most obvious examples of foreign influence across the island are inarguably those of the British Empire. As a result of being under British reign for over eight hundred years, the remnants of colonialism can be seen far and wide, stretching from the architecture all the way to the political and economic structures of the country. An important note to remember for anyone moving to Ireland is that the British Empire and Northern Ireland can be quite a touchy subject for those that live in the south!

Places to move to in Ireland

For most people moving to Ireland, their destination may have already been decided. Whether it’s a result of work or family commitments. However, many expatriates moving to Ireland may be looking for their next job opportunity. Thankfully, Ireland is home to a choice of large cities and centres of industry that stand as excellent places to both live and work.

  • Dublin – Dublin, the capital and largest city in Ireland, is the cultural and economic epicentre of the nation. Home to approximately 1.8 million people, Dublin accounts for nearly 40% of the entire population. As the considerable majority of offers on online job portals are in Dublin, the enticement of moving to Ireland’s heart is unrivalled. In addition, with superb transport links directed to the capital, it is an extremely easy place to travel in and around and to and from.

 

  • Cork – Cork is Ireland’s second-largest city and is ideal for anyone looking to find work within the industry sector. Residing in the southwest of the country, Cork remains the heart of the local industry, in particular, the IT, pharmaceutical and oil sectors. Global brands such as Apple, Amazon and Logitech all have subsidiaries and European headquarters there.

 

  • Galway – If you prefer a smaller city, Galway is a great choice. A small, coastal city in the west of Ireland, Cork is home to a large student population and a growing market for start-up companies, perfect if you’re thinking about setting up your own business. The compact city has good infrastructure and is only around two hours away from the capital along the motorway.

 

  • Limerick – A major economic hub for Ireland, Limerick is found on the west side of Ireland and is home to the Shannon Free Zone, Business and Technology Park. As a result of the appealing tax terms in this free trade zone, many international organisations opted to move to Limerick to set up shop. It is also located adjacent to one of the busiest airports in the country, Shannon Airport. Making the move to Ireland’s heartland a breeze.

 

Visas

Just like most countries, Ireland has a variety of visa options for you to choose from depending on your length and purpose of stay. If you are a citizen of the EEA, Switzerland or any country on this list, you will not need a visa to enter Ireland. Nationals from various countries outside of the EEA will require a visa, however. Even if you are the dependent if an EU citizen, as non-EEA national, you may need a visa to enter and move to Ireland if you do not acquire the respective family member residence card.

Expatriates interested in moving to Ireland will most likely need either the Long Stay Visas or Business Visas. For an overview of all visa types available when entering Ireland, as well as other important information for relocating, visit the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. The cost of applying for an Irish visa is around 60-100 EUR.

Once you move to Ireland, unless you are an EEA or Swiss citizen, you are required to register with the local immigration authority if you plan on staying in Ireland for more than 90 days. To do this, simply visit the local Garda District Headquarters where you will receive a Certificate of Registration, costing 300 EUR, which proves that you are legally residing in Ireland.

Work Permits

Just like visas, there is a choice of work permits to choose from in Ireland depending on the nature of your work and how much you will earn. In total, there are nine different types of work permits, but the most popular are:

  • The General Employment Permit – In order to be eligible for this permit, you must usually have a minimum annual salary of 30,000 EUR or in some exceptional cases 27,000 EUR. You must also have the qualifications, skills and experience required for the job.
  • The Critical Skills Permit – Formerly known as the Green Card, this permit is issued by the Department of Job, Enterprise and Innovation. You may be eligible for this permit if you earn more than 60,000 EUR per year or if your job is on the Highly Skilled Occupations List and you earn more than 30,000 EUR per year.
  • The Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit - Spouses, recognised partners, civil partners, and dependents of researchers and holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits and former Green Card permits are eligible for this permit. However, you must be a legal resident in Ireland in order to apply for this permit.

 

Living in Ireland

Before moving to Ireland, many people have an image of the ‘Emerald Isle’ that consists of a lot of rain, greenery and moderate pace in a way of life. These expectations are accurate to some extent but once you arrive you will quickly realise that the Republic of Ireland is amazingly similar to many other nations of a similar nature. It does, however, possess a number of ‘rules’ that you will need to be aware of.

The road system

In Ireland, motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road. Road conditions are generally on par with any other industrialised country and will only take a few days or so before you become normalised to the roads and countless roundabouts you are sure to encounter. Outside of the city centres, the roads can become a little trickier as a result of curvier, narrow and rockier roads.

Traffic regulations

If your stay in Ireland exceeds 12-months, you will be required to apply for an Irish driver’s license in order to keep driving your vehicle. If you are from the EEA or one of the residing states, however, you can simply exchange your driver’s license for an Irish one. The Irish driving system works off of a penalty point system, which was introduced in 2002 as a result of the increasingly high number of traffic-related deaths. If a driver receives more than twelve points, they will be suspended from driving for six months and must submit their license to the authorities. You can view the 62 offences that can incur points on your license here.

Healthcare

Ireland provides an exceptional, tax-funded healthcare system. The Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for providing extensive healthcare assistance to every Irish resident. The majority of healthcare in Ireland is free, however, some services such as hospital stays and emergency care do come with a charge. A good thing to note is that if your income and assets are below a certain limit, you are able to apply for a medical card or a GP visit card, which makes you exempt from certain or even all healthcare fees. If you earn about the threshold, you will have to pay to some healthcare fees.

If you have decided to move to Ireland to work for more than a year, you will need to contact the HSE as soon as possible to confirm your status as an ordinary resident. Expats coming from within the EEA are also entitled to receive certain medical services free of charge.

How Universal Partners FX can help you

If you’re planning on moving to Ireland, you will need to make a number of transactions at one time or another. Whether it’s to pay for initial accommodation fees, healthcare or to simply exchange money. When doing so, you’ll want to get the most out of your money, which can be a problem when high transaction fees and poor exchange rates are involved. Here at Universal Partner FX, you avoid all that. With zero transactions fees and bank-beating rates, you ensure a safe and secure money transfer, as well as getting the absolute most out of your money.

With our easy-to-use online money platform, you can send your money to Ireland in just a few simple steps. But first, be sure to sign-up for a personal account with us to be assigned your own personal foreign exchange specialist. To learn more about how Universal Partners FX can make moving to Ireland easier and smoother for your finances, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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