The FC Exchange Blog

Rates surveys, currency market blogs, monthly newsletters and more...

Poorna Mandal
Migration from Australia to New Zealand hits record high

Migration from Australia to New Zealand hits record high

by Verity Maskell 02 February 2016 09:45

For the first time in almost 25 years, a study shows that more people from Australia are now migrating to New Zealand, rather than the other way round.

The study recently conducted by Statistics New Zealand found that 25,273 people from Australia moved east to start a new life in New Zealand in 2015. With 24,504 people moving from New Zealand to Australia during the same year, the findings show that a net flow of 769 people moving from Australia to New Zealand sets the highest new flow since 1991.

With 4.6 million people living in New Zealand, the country has experienced continued economic growth, political stability and a strong New Zealand dollar, which could be reasons for more Australians deciding to up sticks and change sides of the Tasman Sea.

Professor Spoonley, of New Zealand’s Massey University, claims there are three types of people currently attracted to New Zealand: Australians filling jobs in Australian-owned companies, New Zealand citizens or their children returning home, and professionals seeking employment in booming industries. 

From Cornwall to Limousin - A farmer tells his French emigration story

From Cornwall to Limousin - A farmer tells his French emigration story

by Verity Maskell 01 February 2016 11:52

We recently had the pleasure of talking with a young Cornish-born lad called Michael, who left behind his life in Cornwall in order to start his own farming business with his wife, Sophie, in Limousin, France. While talking with Michael over the phone, I could hear excited sheep baaah-ing in the background and, it's possible, I could even hear the sun beaming down on his lucious green fields. We asked Michael about his move to France because we wanted to understand more about the reality of the emigration process to France. After another expat interview we conducted recently, we found similarities between each person with their likes and dislikes about moving to France. See what you think.  

Q. What was your main reason for deciding to move to France?

A. We decided to leave our family farm in Cornwall so we could set up our own farm in France. This meant we could afford a much bigger property and set up a profitable business over here. We’d thought about it for a while and decided to make the move in September 2014 because the exchange rate was so good at the time, at GBPEUR 1.25. 

Q. What made you decide on the location you chose in France?

A. My wife and I are quite young looking to achieve our dream of running a farm in France, so we were really driven by choosing the cheapest region for that. We settled in Limousin because it had what we wanted and the layout of the land is pretty similar to what we’re used to in Britain so it was an easier transition into farming lifestyle than what we thought it would be in other regions.

Q. What were some of the most challenging things about moving to France?

A. You’d think it was learning the language but we didn’t find that – it was actually the bureaucracy and the red tape of setting up your own business that we found difficult. Also setting up our social security – it was just a lot harder than we thought it would be.

Q. Tell us about a normal day for you in France.  

A. At the minute, my wife and I tend to our livestock and make renovations on our house. The property we bought was quite rundown so we’re always tidying it up and getting it up to standards. My wife likes traveling the 5 miles to the local market town. There’s not much nightlife around here so we spend evening indoors relaxing.

Q. Would you say you have a better quality of life than you did in the UK?

A. Materialistically definitely but socially no, but then we haven’t been here that long. We’ve only been living in the farm since November 2015 so we haven’t had a lot of time yet to settle into the community but we love that we can afford more with our money. Also, it’s great having more sunshine and less rain. 

Q. What’s your favourite thing about living in France?

A. I hate saying it but probably the weather because it’s just so nice for us being outdoors people. Also the food and the way everything here is much more personal. For example, when you go into town to the bank or the shop you will deal with the same person every time because it’s so small. Beats all the call centres you get in the UK.

Q. Would you consider moving back to the UK?

A. Oh definitely. Not because I don’t enjoy France - I love it here - but Cornwall is still home to me.  We’d love to move back to the UK but it just makes more sense for our business to be out here in France... as a farmer, you get opportunities in France you wouldn’t get in UK.

Q. What advice would you give to someone considering moving to France?

A. Biggest piece of advice would be research the emigration process well, and secondly when looking at French property don’t think of it as such an investment as it is in Britain as property value doesn’t go up like it does in Britain. If you were thinking of moving to France and downsizing, then I would recommend downsizing your property in the UK first and then using the extra money to buy your property in France. Then at least you have property investment back in the UK.

Q. If there was anything about your emigration process you could change, what would it be?

A. That’s a difficult question… but I would say my wife and I definitely could have done more research into how to set up our business so we didn’t face unexpected red tape etc. We also wish we’d done a bit more exploring of the regions in France before settling down in Limousin – perhaps 6 months traveling around would’ve given us a better idea of what was available to us. However, we’re really happy in France and it’s an amazing experience. 

Make 2016 the year you invest in Dubai property

Make 2016 the year you invest in Dubai property

by Verity Maskell 01 February 2016 08:42

With UK property prices on the rise along with unattractive property taxes, more and more Britons are looking overseas for investment opportunities. No wonder, that with property prices bottoming out in several countries, from Spain to Dubai, there are some excellent investment opportunities arising.

So, if you are on the market for a property abroad, you may want to take a closer look at Dubai. According to Phidar advisory, the property prices in Dubai continued to fall into the fourth quarter of 2015, with apartment and residential property prices declining by 12.5% and villas by 15%. Another reason many are currently attracted to the Dubai property market is because of much lower property tax, so you can actually own a piece of sun-baked property and expect a good annual ROI of roughly 6-7%.

If you’re new to property investment, then it’s advised you do your research to ensure all the gaps are filled and you don’t fall into any traps. There are many purchasing options open to you in Dubai, including purchasing ‘resale’ directly from a seller, or ‘off plan’ which involves working with a developer and signing an agreement with them. If you are purchasing ‘off plan’ you will need to submit your passport, a copy of relevant ID documents and complete the reservation form, as well as pay reservation fees between 5-15% of the property value. However, if you choose to purchase direct a seller, you will need to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), along with 10% of the agreed price as a deposit on the property. As with all large transactions, it’s advised that you carry out thorough research to ensure the developer or the seller are legit.

Once you have made the decision to invest in Dubai real estate market, consulting with a reputable currency exchange brokerage will enable you to secure the best exchange rate possible. Choosing FC Exchange, you will be able to take advantage of the prevailing exchange rates, and forward book your contract so that when you finally make the transfer, you would be doing so at a rate that’s favorable to you.

With EXPO 2020 around the corner and a rush on more development, property prices are predicted to increase again throughout 2016 – this is why it makes perfect sense to invest in your Dubai property today and reap financial benefit. 

What's it really like moving to France? We ask an expat

What's it really like moving to France? We ask an expat

by Verity Maskell 27 January 2016 09:06

Especially for the France Show, we’ve spoken to one of our most valued customers, Jonathan C, who recently moved to France with his wife. We’ve asked him some questions to get a better idea of what it’s really like to up sticks and leave the UK for a more wholesome way of life in France.

Q. What was your main reason for deciding to move to France?

A. My wife and I decided to move to France for the quality of life. I lived in France about 10 years ago and loved the way of life. Our new life in Brittany suits us much better than the way of life we had in England.

Q. What was it about France in particular that appealed to you?

A. It’s nice to still be quite close to the UK so that our family can come and visit us – it’s much easier for them to visit us here as we have bigger accommodation. 

Q. What were some of the most challenging things about moving to France?

A. Organising our healthcare was quite painful (excuse the pun). As we are not retired and under the age of 65, we were not entitled to the S1 document. Therefore, I must qualify for healthcare by working for a French institution for more than 150 hours in the space of three months. Once I do this, my wife and I will be allowed entry into the French healthcare system. It has also been difficult for my wife to learn the French language, and dealing with certain bureaucratic systems.

Q. How did you find making your international money transfers with FC Exchange?

A. The company were absolutely great. They offered a secure and professional service and we felt as though our currency broker did everything possible to get us the best exchange rates.

Q. Tell us what a normal day is like for you in France

A. We wake up leisurely and my wife spends the morning working on her French language. I’ll go to work around lunchtime and when I get back we will spend the afternoon visiting a nearby town or sight. Then in the evening, we cook and potter about the house. We like the area very much and this way of life.

Q. What’s your favourite thing about living in France?

A. The ability to sample good foods at local restaurants and supermarkets and the relaxed way of life.

Q. Would you ever consider moving back to the UK?

A. No. We love it here in France and couldn’t imagine moving back.

Q. What advice would you give to someone considering a move to France?

A. Be prepared to embrace the French culture by keeping an open mind and not comparing it to what you’re used to in the UK. Also, I would recommend learning the French language.

Q. If there was anything you could change, what would it be?

A. A better transition into the French healthcare system, as this caused some additional worry that my wife and I weren’t expecting.   

Save money and have your dream destination wedding

Save money and have your dream destination wedding

by Verity Maskell 22 January 2016 16:00

As the big day gets near, you’re bound to worry about everything from your dress, the speeches, floral arrangements, the guest list, and, of course the budget. Weddings can be extremely expensive, with the average UK wedding costing around £20,000 – the equivalent of a healthy deposit on a property! If you’re considering ways to save a bit of money on your wedding, then it’s possible to opt for a smaller do and head to your local registry office. Alternatively, you could move the wedding abroad, like the other 1.5 million British residents who marry abroad each year. The reason so many Brits travel abroad for their wedding is because what you might pay £20,000 for in the UK, might cost you a third of the price in countries like Bordeaux, Bali or Mauritius, and - more often than not - not compromise on quality.

For example, booking a mid-sized venue in UK for your wedding can cost you anywhere from £2,000 to £7,000, whereas booking a similar venue in Thailand should only cost you around 20000 bhat (around £500). You might be thinking – “yes, but flights aren’t cheap” – however, if you’re organized then you can grab yourself a good deal on flights for you and your party, avoiding the pricey flights you might encounter when booking a few months prior to the departure date. Depending on the price of your flights, many of your close friends and family may even be happy to cover the cost themselves and make a holiday out of your destination wedding. On a side note, think how original you could be with your wedding favours by providing a few local curios or delicacies!

There no hiding the fact that organizing a wedding abroad may be more challenging than having your wedding in the UK, but there are people who help with that. There are many UK based wedding planners who specialize in destination weddings. Additionally, your overseas venue may offer wedding planning services, or an all-inclusive package if you’re not too fussy about the details. These kind of packages can cost you around 250000 bhat in Thailand (around £4871) or £1500 – £2500 in parts of the Caribbean.  

Currency exchange is a crucial part of why moving your wedding abroad makes so much sense and could save you a great deal of money. Working with a currency broker like FC Exchange can help you to secure favourable exchange rates for regular payments - perhaps to your wedding planner - and a forward contract for bigger lump sums – perhaps for your venue. Even if you’re in a rush and need to pay a supplier urgently, spot contracts are available to help you get the best possible exchange rate at that time and make an immediate payment.

Another part of the reason your wedding may cost you more in the UK is due to high tax rates, meaning the add-on price for suppliers can come as quite a shock and eat up your budget quickly. Avoiding these high tax rates by having a destination wedding is bound to save you money on your suppliers.

A separate word of advice: you may need to review the legal process involved in moving your wedding abroad, including any paperwork you are required to complete for your wedding to be considered legal and binding back in UK. Often, this involves in getting a certificate of no impediment from the local British embassy.

Here’s to wishing you the best on your big day or as the French would say, “Félicitations pour votre marriage, nous Vous souhaitons tout le bonheur du monde!" – translated: “congratulations on your wedding day and have a blissful life”.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 Older Posts »