This article is part of a series. Please scroll to the bottom of the page to see all the articles in the series.
You’ve made it home.
You’ve negotiated your way through closing accounts, selling assets, shipping, moving investments, tax planning and you’re back in old Blighty. This is an exciting time, the first day of the rest of your life...
To help you on your way, Part 6 of this series will outline some of the all important areas which you should be sure to tick off your list to ensure the smooth transition continues.
We will cover:
- The Electoral Register
- Accessing the NHS / Private Medical Cover
- Registering with a GP / Dentist
- Your mental health
1. The Electoral Register
Depending on how long you were offshore, and whether or not you retained your right to vote, you may or may not still be on the electoral register. If you’re not registered, it’s very simple to do online. You can access the page here.
Alternatively, you can contact your local council once you have moved into your new home and have a registered address.
Registering to vote is extremely important as it can affect your credit rating. If you are intending on purchasing a home as discussed in Part 2 of this guide, ensure you have registered before the banks start to do any credit checks on you. This will make it more likely that you will be accepted. You can view your credit score using ClearScore.
If you have children of school age, this could determine where you end up living due to the catchment area rules applicable for state schools.
Alternatively, you may consider private schools in line with what your children will have been used to in the UAE.
Location is a factor when it comes to the cost of school fees but many tend to be in the region of £20,000 per annum (particularly in the south!), which is not too dissimilar to some of the schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
As you might expect, the highest rated schools can often become over-subscribed. It may therefore be worth visiting a few schools if possible prior to your move home. It is important to note that your children must be physically in the UK in order to enroll for a school place.
3. Accessing the NHS / Private Medical Cover
As a British citizen, by returning to the UK you will be entitled to free health care.
999 is the number to call if you have a medical emergency; 111 is the number to call if you simply need medical advice.
Gone are the UAE private medical insurance days where you will turn up to the hospital with a cut on your leg and be sent for an MRI... The NHS is a fantastic service but does come with its flaws.
If waiting 3 months for an operation doesn’t appeal to you, you may wish to opt for Private Medical Cover instead. Of course, you will have to pay for it each month but if you do ever need medical care, in my experience, you’ll be glad you’ve paid for it. You may even receive this as part of your employment package so be sure to check your contract.
4. Registering with a GP / Dentist
3 things you will need to do:
Prove your identity and residence on registration so make sure you take the correct documents with you when registering.
Complete a GMS1 form.
Complete a medical questionnaire and for some surgeries, undergo a basic medical assessment.
Before you leave the UAE:
It is advisable to ensure you are in possession of any medical information or records from your time offshore. Speak to any doctors or hospitals you’ve seen during your time in the UAE before you leave and show this to your new GP once you’re back in the UK.
It would also be prudent to ensure that if you take any prescriptions, to ensure that you have more than enough to cover any periods from when you leave the UAE up until when you register in the UK.
It’s less common that dental cover may be included in your employee benefits but it’s still worth checking your contract or asking your employer just in case.
TIP: As with your medical records, if you can bring your dental records back with you from the UAE it will make life much easier for your new dentist in the UK. I shouldn’t need to explain the benefits of having a happy dentist...
One of the few things in life which you pay for but hope you never have to use. It is likely that you will need to reassess your overall coverage.
The first thing you should do is check your insurances to see if you are still covered following your move home. Depending on your provider, any life insurance may or may not transfer.
The level of cover you might need differs enormously from person to person and this is something you may need to take advice on. Whether you have children, any large debts such as a mortgage, or anyone who is dependent on you for income, you should ensure you have adequate cover in place.
In addition to life cover, you should also be considering protection such as income protection (in case you get ill or have an accident and are unable to work) and critical illness cover, which pays out if you have a serious illness such as cancer.
Once you have protection in place for yourself, other things you should consider ticking off are home and contents, car, any particular assets of value.
For more bespoke insurance needs, such as art or high end jewellery, please feel free to get in touch.
The UK currently has an enormous protection gap of over £2.4 trillion. This means that nowhere near enough people have the appropriate covers in place. Don’t let it be you.
6. Your mental health
Last but by no means least in this guide, with all of the planning, excitement, stress and overall change, it is very easy to forget the impact that this could have on your mental health.
If you have been in the UAE or offshore for a long time, you are likely to have got used to a certain way of living. The UK will also likely have changed significantly during your time away and may not be exactly as you remember it.
Knowing this in advance of your return may help you to adjust. Be kind to yourself. This is an exciting time in your life and you should try to enjoy it. There is a reason you are moving home and if you do find yourself experiencing any level of reverse culture shock, try to focus on the positive reasons for moving.
To remind you, these may include any of:
- having 4 seasons again;
- being closer to family/long term friends;
- summers under 40℃;
- supermarket wine costing less than 100 dirhams;
- anything in the supermarket costing less than 100 dirhams!;
If you anticipate and accept that you might experience a degree of reverse culture shock, it may well help you adjust to your return more quickly. Speak to those close to you if you are experiencing issues and be sure not to suffer in silence.
Most of what you need to do in relation to registering can now be done online.
The tips in this guide will hopefully start you on your way, but if you feel that I have missed anything important that others would benefit from, I would be happy to receive your comments and update the content as necessary.
In the next and final part of this series, we will look at financial advice in the UK and whether you need it.
Circumstances vary for individuals and any personal opinions or firm opinions represented above should not be seen as advice or a recommendation to take any specific course of action.
We are not tax advisers. The value of an investment, and any income from it, can fall or rise. Investors may not get back the full amount they invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
Personal opinions may change and should not be seen as advice or a recommendation. This post is based on current legislation as at the time of writing, which is subject to change and will not be kept up to date. This document is for UK retail investors.