Tag Archives: International Moving

Healthcare in South Africa: What are the options for your family?

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook pages and follow the Twitter profile.

Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.

 

Expats heading to the Rainbow Nation for a new life in South Africa will need to think carefully about their healthcare provision. There are currently two options for those living there – public or private healthcare.

Whilst 80% of South Africans use the public system, it’s recommended that expats take out private health insurance. Here we explain why.

Public healthcare:

The South African government is this year attempting to establish a public healthcare system that works for all, but in the meantime the service is poorly funded, lacking resources and manpower. Patients can expect long waiting times in inadequate conditions. Treatment is not free so patients pay for services based upon their salary and number of dependents.

As mentioned, the government is working towards improving care with the implementation of a National Health Insurance system. This will eventually be established countrywide and will see more money being poured into the public system. It is hoped that in the next 10 years the service will improve the lives of all South African residents.

Private healthcare:

In contrast to public healthcare, the private sector is excellent with each city having a wide range of hospitals, GPs and clinics. There are a huge number of private hospitals across the country, and the good news is that the service here is one of the best in the world. Very much on a par with care in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not free. It is recommended that expats take out private healthcare insurance either before they arrive in the country, or with one of the local providers. Some insurance companies will specify the hospitals in which you can have your treatment, others will have their own network.

Choosing your insurance provider will require you to think carefully about what you and your family need. You may be offered insurance by your employer as a key benefit or it may be possible to switch your current healthcare policy to include treatments in South Africa.

All schemes will offer you different variations and options. It is strongly suggested that you to take out an insurance policy that lasts for longer than a year, as companies can refuse to renew them if you fall ill. Others can terminate insurance in the same circumstances so make sure you have understood all the small print. You don’t want to be caught out.

If you choose a local company for insurance you may be required to get your treatment pre-authorised. You may also be asked to carry your medical card with you in your wallet at all times.

It could be the case that your basic care allows you to be treated in an emergency but not in other circumstances. You’ll need to think through your options in terms of visiting the GP, regular check-ups and even dentistry. Only those on the lowest salaries will be entitled to free dental care so look at your medical insurance carefully if you’re keen to include dental visits.

It is the same situation with GPs. Public healthcare consultations will involve waiting times of weeks. If you have paid to go private, these times will be cut dramatically. You can choose your doctor from a long list, dependent on requirements and locations.

Some hospitals expect you to pay upfront for services, and you’ll need to do this before any treatments begin. Make sure you have sufficient funds as it may take a number of weeks to claim the money back from the insurance provider.

Finally, if you are looking to have a baby whilst living in South Africa the good news is that private healthcare in maternity services is of a very high standard. Again make sure you have definitely got all treatment required in your policy.

Take a look at our services to South Africa if you are looking to make the move.

If you are considering moving abroad, PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote.

Why live in another country?  10 reasons to move abroad

There are a whole host of reasons why people decide to move to another country. Living overseas can offer new opportunities, new lifestyles, new careers and a new direction. Here we look at some of the best reasons to hop on that plane and discover an exciting and different way of living.

It’s character building:

Johannes Juks Mirrelevant! 🙂

There is certainly no other experience that’s going to test you like turning up in a new location and starting a new life. But that’s the exciting part. New experiences, new friends, new memories. If you want a new you, moving country is a great way to do it.

Enhancing Your Career:

Sarah Hartley, Seeking out a job

If your ultimate aim is to improve your job prospects, living abroad can revolutionise your prospects. You could reinvent yourself with an entirely different career or quickly progress up a ladder not available to you previously. Either way it will look great on your CV and might just make your work day a pleasure rather than a chore.

The culture shock will be of the very best kind:

barbara w afternoon.

Even if you arrive in a country where they speak the same language as you, nothing will prepare you for the change in culture. Everything from what breakfast you eat to the time you go to work can be different. Embrace the changes, embrace the lunchtime siestas, and make the most of your new location.

You’ll change your tastes:

Nadia Pavlova

There’s nothing like exposure to new foods, design and locations to give your firmly held beliefs and values a good shake up. This is a good thing. Challenging those tastes with a different outlook can help you understand who you are and give you a new zest for life.

It will be rewarding:

Pictures of Money

Very few people go abroad and say it just wasn’t the worth the effort. Even if you don’t stay in your new location forever the experience will stay with you and you’ll have plenty of new memories and stories to tell your family and friends.

Your family will thank you for it:

Jose Juan Murillo Hernandez
Family

Whilst the initial move may be difficult for everyone involved, the new opportunities will be bountiful. Children will make new friends, you’ll find a great job and gain new hobbies. What’s not to thank you for?

Developing social skills will be beneficial:

Image of happy teens playing while their vacation

Awkward situations are guaranteed in a new location. Making new friends and fitting in at work can be tricky at the beginning. Learning to override the difficulties will only give you more confidence, which is something you’ll never regret.

You’ll find new friends everywhere you go:

Ran Allen play

It may be lonely at first but making new mates is one major benefit of living overseas. Meeting people with different life experiences to you will make for an interesting time. It will also help you fit into the new location.

Learning a new language is a great life skill:

Virginia Anderson, px271068

Arriving in a new country and having to quickly learn how to converse in a different language can be challenging but fun too. In fact, you’ll learn it much quicker and it will be much more interesting than picking it up from a book.

It will change your life one way or another – forever:

Thomas Upton Jump!

Even challenging experiences help build us as people and there will be plenty of those along the way. You can also expect plenty of life affirming moments that you’ll simply never forget. New dawns, new jobs, new friends and new relationships are all great reasons to embrace the dream.

So, when are you going? Our FAQ will help to give you a good headstart: https://www.pssremovals.com/faqs

If you are considering moving abroad, PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention. Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote.

Undiscovered Regions of France For Expats

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page  and follow the Twitter profile.

Undiscovered Regions of France For Expats. With some 150,000 Brits living in France it’s clear that the country is a big hit with those in the UK looking for a new place to live.

Popular with those who are retiring, as well as couples and families looking for a better quality of life, France can offer expats everything with the added bonus of not being too far away from home. British expats are usually attracted to certain areas and regions of France.

The name “Dordogneshire” is often bandied around to explain where Brits live in the South West of France although this is only part of the picture. Many also reside in the Ile De France region (which includes Paris), Brittany and Provence.

However, if you’re looking for somewhere a little different, away from the madding crowds of Brits, we’ve selected three regions where you might find the perfect taste of France.

Burgundy

Gr8ful Ted, Somewhere Along the Canal du Nivernais

The perfect spot if you like a tipple of the top wine, delicious cuisine and beautiful views, Burgundy is renowned for its historical hilltop villages and medieval locations. Situated in the east central region of France it is one of the most prestigious wine producing areas in the world. With a capital called Dijon it was also once the ‘mustard capital of the world’. Weather wise you’ll get lovely warm summers although temperatures will dip in the winter, and you can expect rain. With great transport links back to the UK the average house price is 120,000 Euros which will buy you a three bedroom house. Four bedrooms go from 137,000 Euros; five 156,00 Euros.

Champagne-Ardennes

Claude, Place Royale, Reims, Marne, Champagne-Ardennes, France

North East France produces some of the best sparkling wine in the world aka Champagne. Close to the Belgian border the area is not a huge hit with Brits as it’s not exactly the sunshine state, with just 1,500 hours of sun a year. This is in sharp contrast to those living in western regions where they might see 2,400 hours a year. That said, it’s very popular with Germans, Belgians and Swiss expats so it clearly has plenty to offer. The average house prices are expensive, around 214,000 Euros although you could be lucky enough to snap a property up for the minimum price of 60,000 Euros.

Lorraine

Pascal. Lechaudel,Les Maïs

You will find some British expats living in Lorraine region although only around 850, so you’re unlikely to bump into fellow citizens unless you really want to. Neighbouring the regions of Alsace and Burgundy, Lorraine is steeped in history and even able to stake claim to being the birthplace of Joan of Arc. It is the only area to border three countries – Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, so plenty of places to visit on the weekend. The Vosages mountains also offer the perfect spot for some winter ski-ing or summer hiking. There’s also a chance to bag a property bargain here with projects going for as little as 17,000 Euros. If you are considering moving to France,

PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention. Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

Doing Business in Barcelona

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

Barcelona by Bert Kaufmann

Barcelona by Bert Kaufmann

Barcelona has an irresistible attraction for many British expats. With the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains close by, this vibrant, cosmopolitan city is also brimming with history and culture. But what possibilities does the city hold for expats that want to do business there?

Spain as a whole remains a relatively easy place in which to do business. This may explain why it was positioned 33 out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey for 2016. Spain ranked well in factors such as trading across borders (earning first place), resolving insolvency (25th), and protecting minority investors (29th).

Perhaps due to its diversity, with Spanish nationals and international expats living and working closely together, there are excellent business prospects for expatriates in Barcelona. However, to make the most of business opportunities, fluency in the Spanish language and, ideally, a basic grasp of Catalan, is an enormous benefit.

When you get past the language, what is different about doing business in Barcelona? Well, there’s a different timetable for starters. Business isn’t typically 9 ‘til 5. Instead, it starts somewhere between 9 and 10am, breaks for lunch around 1pm, and resumes from about 3pm until evening. There isn’t quite a siesta, but a long lunch is quite normal.

That break in the middle of the day isn’t all about feasting and snoozing, however, as business is often carried out over lunch. Spaniards and Catalans love eating and it is very common to spend time in restaurants combining delicious food with business.

One of the characteristics of doing business in Barcelona, is that relationships tend to be formed between people, rather than companies. As a result, once you have established a connection, it will be unaffected when you, or the other party, change companies. Trust, therefore, is very important, and demonstrating reliability and strong business ethics is key.

You must also show due respect to those senior to you, as Spanish businesses are hierarchical. Even though you may be depending on a decision from a senior executive, it would be bad form to attempt to set up an initial meeting with anyone above your own rank.

On the subject of etiquette, dealing with associates in their own language is another essential, not just verbally but in all your materials. Offering presentations in both English and Spanish shows that you appreciate the opportunity to take your business to their country.

Some customs in Spanish businesses may seem strange, even rude. For instance, it’s quite normal for people around the meeting table to interrupt one another, and even talk over each other. This should not be misinterpreted as impoliteness, although it can make it difficult to follow the conversation, especially when it is in a foreign tongue.

Once you navigate around a few cultural differences, you will find that doing business in Barcelona can be a pleasurable experience. Spaniards are generally friendly and cheerful, and those in Barcelona are no exception. It’s likely that you will find the business community warm and genuinely interested in you and what you can offer through your business.

If you are setting out on a business venture in Spain, it is advisable to consult with a solicitor and accountant to ensure that all your dealings adhere to Spanish law and tax regulations. You may be considering setting up a company in Barcelona – a Sociedad Limitada. In which case, you will need assistance with this and with setting up an overseas bank account.

If you are considering moving to Barcelona, PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

 

What You Need To Know About Moving To America

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

 

DonkeyHotey, Flag - Illustration Simple America Flag illustration.

DonkeyHotey, Flag – Illustration Simple America Flag illustration.

 

 

With around 794,000 British expats living in the USA it’s one of the most popular destinations for those looking for a different way of life. Relocation hot spots include New York City, Austin, Florida, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles.

As most people are aware America has a strict immigration policy and moving there will involve a large amount of paper work. What kind of visa you require will be entirely dependent upon the kind of work you are undertaking. Some work visas will entitle you to work temporarily in certain industries, whilst a green card may be applicable if you have been offered permanent employment in a key business. Many expats begin with a sponsoring employer. A green card is unlikely to be applied for in the first instance, and you’ll probably begin with a work visa from the variety of options. The US Embassy will be the first port of call for most applicants.

Moving to America is not going to be cheap especially if you’re from the UK. Recent Brexit negotiations have made the dollar very favourable against the British pound, but not so great if you’re moving in the opposite direction. With most expats beginning their new life in one of America’s key cities, house hunting can be an expensive business. Despite recent housing market crashes the market is now strong and house price hikes have been seen in key areas such as Seattle, Portland, Tampa, Dallas, Miami, Boston, Detroit and Atlanta. The average price of new homes sold in America rose to $390,440 (£295,243.47). That said, if you’ve found yourself in New York you’ll be looking at an average price of $788, 529 (£596, 349.21).

Schooling will be a key issue for anyone relocating their children as well as their jobs. Most children begin their education before the age of six in kindergarten, ending 13 years later at grade 12. Middle school is composed of students in grade 6-8, with high school beginning at grade 9 and ending in 12. Expats are able to apply for public schools in America (similar to the UK state school system) although as in most countries, the quality of education will be determined by the area moved into. The schools offer a great opportunity for kids to meet friends from the local neighbourhood. International and Private schools offer a different option for expats. Fee paying, and in some instances selective, these educational facilities are considered to offer a better level of teaching however, your children may have to travel great distances to get to school.

If you are considering moving abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

How Countries Can Attract International Students

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

 

UBC Learning Commons, Student studying

UBC Learning Commons, Student studying

In a global economy with a global workforce, a global educational system fit for all is key to the success of both countries and individuals alike.

A new report by the British Council takes a look at 10 countries around the world and analyses them with specific reference to mobility, recruitment, global rankings, scholarships and student residence rights.

The countries included in the report entitled, The Global Race for International Students, are Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, UAE and the United States.

With students now having an abundance of options when choosing to study, higher education institutions have to try much harder in order to entice them to their colleges and universities. The report finds that institutions will need to internationalise their education system to attract those from overseas.

Students have to pay more in tuition fees in order to study abroad. Therefore, international education systems need to make sure that they are offering the highest standards. Students are likely to consider global league rankings as well as the availability of scholarships. Student mobility and their rights once in a new country will also need to be clarified and streamlined.

The rise in technology student’s ability to study anywhere and at anytime is also changing how people study. The report found that countries need to look at this issue and develop plans in order to cope with the changes.

Zainab Malik, Research Director at the British Council, and report author said:

“A nation’s education industry is key to its economic prosperity as well as its long-term international diplomacy, innovation and arts and culture.  Attracting internationally mobile students is pivotal to giving graduates the skills necessary to excel in a shifting economy. Government, the higher education sector and industry all benefit from joining together to create supportive policies that, in the end, provide students with the best opportunities for success.”

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, promoting knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries.

If you are considering studying abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

Which Jobs Could Earn You More Money In Australia and New Zealand?

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

Salary growth along with added benefits such as flexible working, increased holiday entitlement and career opportunities are just some of the employee desires revealed in Hays 2017 Salary Guide.

As worldwide recruitment experts, Hays surveyed more than 2,950 organisations across Australia and New Zealand, which represents more than 3 million employees. The results of the survey reveal both optimism for a growing workforce but caution when it comes to salary increases.

The good news is that businesses are booming – and are optimistic that this boom will continue.  75% expect an increase over the coming 12 months, and 36% foresee a strengthening economy coming in the six to 12 month period.

This rising level of activity revealed that many companies expect to increase their overall headcount in the coming year with 45% expecting to bolster their permanent staff levels and 23% adding to their temporary or contract workforce. This however doesn’t mean salaries will see a comparative increase.

In fact, many of those surveyed are nervous about salary increases and even those that are considering them offer tentative low rises.  Employers in 11% of industries admitted they will not offer salary increases in their next review and those that do are looking at minor adjustments.

The survey also found that 65% will increase salaries by less than 3%, with 19% intending to award between 3 and 6% and just 5% expecting to offer more than 6%.

The good news is that some industries are offering above average pay increases. A skill shortage across the regions in technological and operations staff, accountancy and finance, means higher wages are needed to attract employees to key roles.

Hays 2017 Salary Guide found that industries intending to offer more than a 3% increase in the next 12 months, include 48% of the IT and telecommunications sector, 42% of advertising and media and 34% in construction, property and engineering.

“Salary growth for the majority of Australia & New Zealand’s skilled professionals will remain subdued in the year ahead, says Nick Deligiannis, managing director, Hays Australia and New Zealand. “Add the number of employers who indicated that business activity has and will continue to rise, and such small salary increases will test the loyalty of employees.

“It seems the time honoured supply and demand principle has also failed to impact salaries in all bar a few instances.  Yet Australia’s strengthening economy, rising business activity, growing headcounts and skill shortages cannot be overlooked for too long. The piercing question therefore is how high will turnover reach before typical salary increases climb above three per cent?”

If you are considering a move to Australia PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 34 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

To find out more about the latest salaries around Australia and New Zealand , click HERE to view the Hays Specialist Recruitment salary guide.

If you want to discuss your potential job prospects in the fields of Construction, Engineering, Accountancy and Finance, IT, Digital, HR or Marketing then get in touch with the London based Hays team who recruit into the Australian and New Zealand markets “   0203 465 0158 or email globalinkteam@hays.com

infographic hays_1891215

How To Make 2017 The Year To Move Abroad

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For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

We can all make resolutions to lose weight or learn a new language on December 31st only to break them by January 2nd. But what if you want to do something really major like move to a new country and start a new life? It’s a huge commitment and one that takes some planning.

If 2017 is the year you want to realise your dream of settling abroad, we’ve listed the basic necessities to help it become a reality.

–  Check out the visa situation:

A visa is your gateway into many countries and essential if you want to emigrate and work in countries such as America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Other places such as the UAE allow you to enter with a three month working permit, before applying for a longer stay during that time period. In Hong Kong you will need a work visa and permit before securing employment. The UK government has more advice here.

–  Take stock of the jobs on offer:

One of the biggest issues faced by those looking to move abroad is finding work. In many countries, it’s imperative you have a job offer before you can even get certain types of visas. EU residents can work within other EU countries with relative ease but in other locations it’s not so straightforward and you’ll need to check out the roles on offer before deciding to relocate. See here for New Zealand, here for Canada and here for Australia.

– Research the country to where you’d like to move:

You may like the idea of Danish ‘hygge’ or a life drinking Manhattans in New York but in reality what do you know what living in your chosen country? Do your research. Look at expat blogs, expat forums and a number of books dedicated to residing in a new country. Be fully informed about where you’re going and what you can expect from a life living there.

– List what is important to you:

Where you decide to relocate to can be as much dependent upon the lifestyle on offer as the jobs available. For many, the lure of a better climate, shorter working hours or a quality education system are right up there on the checklist. Making a list of the pros and cons of staying or leaving can help you focus on what you need and what you can live without.

–  Think about your property home and away:

You might like to hang onto your own property in the UK or you could choose to rent it out. In another instance you might sell up and put all of your finances into a new home abroad. Both will need careful planning and some thought must be given to financial and tax obligations. Check out some international estate agent websites and see what you can afford in your new locations too. You may be pleasantly surprised – or disappointed – about the cost.

–  Talk to an international removals company:

Last but not least, contact a removals company such as PSS International Removals about your options for transporting your belongings. You may want to take just a few boxes or the entire contents of your house and the removals company will be able to give your guidance and pricing for both. They can also give you advice about customs.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

Photo credit: New York City Sunrise, by Anthony Quintano https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

How The World Celebrates New Year’s Eve

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

 

mandalaybus, Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

mandalaybus, Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

 

The 31st of December is for many the chance to celebrate the end of one year and welcome in another. It can either be a time for quiet reflection or riotous parties, dependent upon your mood or location.

With 39 different local times in use, it takes 26 hours for the New Year to be seen in around the world. First to say goodbye to 2016 and hello 2017 will be Tonga in the South Pacific, before moving across countries including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India, Moscow, United Kingdom, Canada and America.

If you find yourself in a new country for the first time, you may not know what to expect from New Year’s Eve, so here’s a PSS guide to that all important night.

Australia: New Year is lively in Australia. The main hubs for huge firework displays are Sydney and Melbourne. The familiar site of 80,000 fireworks going off over Sydney Harbour Bridge is one most won’t forget. Melbourne too throws huge parties on the 31st and more information about events can be found here.

Japan: It’s a much quieter affair in Japan over New Year but some traditions revolve around TV and buckwheat noodles. On New Year’s Eve families sit down to view Kohaku Uta Gassen, a four-and-a-half hour TV programme involving the most successful musical artists of the year. Food served will include Toshikoshi soba which heralds good luck and long life. At midnight temple bells will ring 108 times and crowds will begin to visit the shrines and celebrate the New Year.

New Zealand: The Auckland Sky Tower is one of the best places to catch the midnight fireworks in Auckland. If you’re in Queenstown head to Earnslaw Park from 7:30pm for views of the festivities. Take a picnic and chill out listening to live music in the capital Wellington where all the action takes place at Frank Kitts Park.

Moscow: Take in the Christmas tree in Red Square, which acts as the centre point to Moscow’s New Year celebrations. You probably won’t find more spectacular sights than fireworks going off around the statues of Lenin and iconic buildings such as the Kremlin Tower (which shows the final minutes before New Year’s Eve). The New Year holiday lasts from 1st-5th January. Families serve delicious appetizers, sparkling wine and Oliver salad (known as a Russian salad elsewhere!).

Sweden: Swedes like to spend December 31st with their friends and it’s a very lavish affair. Expect beautifully laid tables, delicious lobster meals and well-dressed guests.  In Stockholm the countdown takes place at Skansen open air museum, where a bell chimes and Tennyson’s poem Ring Out, Wild Bells is read.  All over Sweden church bells will ring too.

Hong Kong: For a truly spectacular display of fireworks and celebrations head to Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong’s waterfront for 10 minutes of pyromusical displays. Stay until January 28th (Chinese New Year’s Day) and you’ll see an amazing New Year Night Parade complete with floats marching bands and costumed characters. The Year of the Rooster will certainly get off to a flying start.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.

What Can I Expect From The Swedish Childcare System?

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

 

Shauna Hawkins, Family Fun

Shauna Hawkins, Family Fun

Managing childcare around parental work responsibilities is for a many an expensive juggle of office hours, nursery costs and limited availability. But in Sweden there seems the almost enviable situation of having great employment opportunities for working mothers, supported by flexible working hours and leave for both parents.

No wonder it often ranks highly as one of the best countries to bring up children. A survey in 2015 rated it third in the world for availability of childcare and education, cost of childcare and education, quality of education and family well-being. It was only beaten by Austria and Finland.

Sweden’s childcare principles are based around the idea that family life is very important. In order to support that family life, the state provide excellent facilities for children, so both parents can earn a salary. Women are actively encouraged to return to work and for the most part, many of them do.

In 2014, 73.1% of women were employed in Sweden, which was close to that of men, which is 76.5%. In fact, measured in 2014 again the employment rate of mothers with children under the age of 6, stood at 79.2% is the third highest in the EU.

The childcare benefits kick in as soon as the baby is born. Swedish parents are offered long, paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. In fact, parents are given 480 paid leave of which 390 days allow for 80% of salary being given. The remaining days are paid at a flat rate. Parents are also allowed to ask for flexible working rights and can legally work shorter hours. Men and women can share the parental leave in whatever way they feel most suitable.

In the UK the rights are very different. Women are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks (365 days) statuary maternity leave. Rates are dependent upon separate employment contracts. See here for more information.

After a year, parents can send their children to preschool, where all children are offered and guaranteed a place. The preschools are open from 6.30am-6.30pm and can also function around shifts, nights and weekend roles. When children reach the ages of 3-6 years, childcare provision is free for up to 15 hours a week. Before this time, costs are based upon a parent’s income and can be up to 3% of their salary. The Swedish government also provides a monthly child allowance which many parents offset against childcare fees. To see how much your Swedish income affords you in terms of benefits check here.

Schooling continues to be free for children from the ages of 6-19, with free school lunches added to the mix. University is also free to Swedish residents and those from the EU.

Of course, there is a price to be paid for all of this free or heavily subsidzed childcare. The Swedes can pay up to 30% of income tax on their salaries. Those that earn over 591,600 Krona (around £52,000) pay the top rate. In contrast with many countries, Swedes almost welcome – or tolerate – high taxes as they see them helping the society in which they live. If you want to find out more about living in Sweden, and whether you drink as much coffee as the average population, see here.

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.