Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Project: Move back to SA

The clock is ticking, the countdown has long since begun. A mountain of paperwork, process and planning awaits me. Having started the process off a few weeks ago with the dreaded trip to South African High Commission in London, where I got my citizenship revoked, I now prepare myself for the second journey, this time to apply for my 18 month old's relative visa. This time round I'm going more than prepared, I just hope they don't mess me about. With less 7 weeks to go to finalise the move, the visa application takes about 3 weeks...fingers crossed.

So what does a relocation plan look like?? Some people say that relocating one's family between continents is one one of the most stressful projects, if not, the most stressful project in one's life. How do you prepare for such a move? There's so many variables to consider, logistics, and timetables. Each task brings about new dependencies you haven't thought about.  All of these delays take time, for example, just to name a few:

  • Insurance policies can't be cancelled more than 14 (motor vehicle) or 28 (household) days in advance. The computer system only allows for cancellation as long as it's within the allowable time window! Imagine that - you sign up for insurance and pay up front for the entire year, and then to simply cancel based on a forward looking date is next to impossible...grrrr! So you have to pencil in days in your calendar to remind yourself not to forget about calling up your insurers within the time window. So can't mark those tasks as completed until you know for sure your policies been cancelled.
  • Similar note - beware of the AA.  Reminds me of the clip from lethal weapon - read the fine print in the terms and conditions page 19.   Apparently, leaving the country doesn't count as an exceptional circumstance, and you're not allowed a rebate on your annual policy of £150 just renewed last month, and you can't terminate the agreement on the day you're leaving the country - bottom-flippin-line: No refund due.
  • Inland revenue - you can't really sort your income tax out without getting the P45 from your employer. So if you want to be an eager beaver and prepare in advance, no chance. First wait until your notice period expires, get the P45 and then inform inland revenue. All of this should ideally be done whilst you're in the country. 
  • Sorting out relocation companies and vehicle import - this deserves a separate post....
  • The biggest headache is sorting out the house for renting. If you're like me and take your time fixing up things, i.e. just being content with living with the problem, then before you know it, all of these add up and bang - one problem after another to fix.  And somewhat ironical that the tenants will move into a much better house than what we were living in :p But joking aside, it's really important to ensure the house is in order, safe and free from major defects - which should mean less worries for the landlord...
Anyway, just take a look at what an initial brain-dump of a project plan for relocation looks like:

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