Repatriating home? What to consider financially

When you move back to your home country, you will have to put some of the things you did before you moved to the Middle East in reverse.  Try and plan well ahead of time, particularly if there are considerable assets both here in the UAE or offshore. From a financial point of view be aware that moving back home can affect your tax situation, your savings and your investments - so you should talk to a financial expert.

Closing and opening bank accounts

Try to open a bank account in your home country before you move if you did not keep it open when you became an expat.  If you closed your bank account in your home country, you may no longer have a credit history - so it may be worth keeping an offshore account open until you arrange a new account back home.

Be aware that, if you did not keep a bank account open in your home country while you lived overseas you may not be entitled to any credit (including a mortgage) on your return.

If you've been earning in a different currency from your home currency, and you're planning to repatriate some or all of your wealth you will need to look into the foreign exchange solutions available to you. British Nationals do not have to repatriate their assets should they return to the UK and may keep them overseas for as long as they wish.  Be aware however that any growth or interest, will be subject to UK tax.

Remember that as soon as you take up employment in the UK or another country you will come to the attention of the tax –man!

Savings plans

Many expats residing here in the UAE will have contributed to some sort of savings vehicle whilst offshore. Few companies offer pension provision here and in the most part these savings plans are used as an alternative platform to accumulate long term growth. Others will have taken advantage of increased earnings and no tax and will have accumulated wealth in the form of a lump sum. In some instances where such plans are encashed after returning home there is likely to be a significant tax charge. You may also be saving in a different currency to that which you will now be earning in and so it is worth checking whether you can change the currency of your premium

End of service gratuity

As the name implies the end of service gratuity is an amount of money that every employee is entitled to receive, and every employer is liable to pay, upon termination of an employment relationship in the UAE, provided that the employee meets the conditions set out in the Labour Law (UAE Federal Law No.8 of 1980).  Find out from your employer the procedure and how much you can expect to receive in good time before your move.


Many people have life assurance policies that they took out whilst resident in the UAE. Check that you will still be covered before you move. It may also be worth checking through the parameters of each policy. For example you may have no intention of moving away from your home country again and therefore paying a larger premium for World- wide cover may not be necessary.

Medical cover

Chances are your employer would have been providing you with medical cover for both you and your family, or you may have taken out medical insurance on your own. If you are repatriating back to a country that provides health care to residents you may no longer need this and so you should cancel the policy to avoid unnecessary expense.

Sorting out your finances are a large part of the repatriation process, an experienced IFA can help with this process and also inform you about minimizing your tax. Your tax situation will depend on your personal circumstances and it is always recommended that you obtain independent tax advice.

Before you make the big move try and make a list of all the expenses you will face, research your financial limitations and ensure that you have a big enough budget to tide you over during the settling in period. If not, it may be prudent to remain in your host country until you do.

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