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Coming back to the UK after 45 years living abroad.

(144 Posts)
kittylester Fri 31-Jul-20 09:56:47

Not sure if this is in the correct place but I know there is a wealth of info out there.

What would someone's position be in the above situation as far as benefits, pensions, health service etc are concerned?

Thank you for any info you can give me.

kittylester Fri 31-Jul-20 11:58:53

I'm bumping this as it's dropped of Active and I know someone will know something! Xx

kittylester Fri 31-Jul-20 11:59:12

I even put kisses on!

Sussexborn Fri 31-Jul-20 12:06:32

Are there any forums covering this topic?

Haven’t looked through the info but hope it helps.

geekesse Fri 31-Jul-20 12:09:47

Can you give us more information? Where have you been living and why are you returning to the U.K.? Are you a U.K. citizen?

kittylester Fri 31-Jul-20 12:45:46

I have been living in North Leicestershire! grin

My brother in law moved to South Africa 45 years ago with his job. He now has a fairly early diagnosis of Alzheimers.

Due to the policy of positive discrimination by the SA Government, he lost his business and they have no money (this is the potted version!) and the support for his condition is almost non existent.
My sil, at age 68, was teaching yoga to keep them going but that has disappeared due to Covid!
Meanwhile Dbil is getting worse quite quickly.

So, I was just wondering what their position would be if they were to come here!! They have children, grandchildren and, obviously, lives where they live.

Marydoll Fri 31-Jul-20 12:50:51

Kitty here are a few sites which offer advice. It doesn't look simple to just move back. I hope things work out.
What a difficult position to be in for all of you.

Antonia Fri 31-Jul-20 12:54:30

We have returned to the UK after almost 20 years in France. What we found was that it takes 3 years to be 'fully integrated' into the UK. You won't be able to buy anything on credit as you won't have built up a credit score. We had to buy a phone, as a contact wasn't possible until the 3 year mark had passed. So, you will need to buy with cash. I'm talking about small goods - I'm not sure about mortgages as we bought outright. We wrote to the tax office to let them know we are back, and they responded (eventually) with new tax codes for us. You will need to register with your local GP, and find a dentist. If you have a foreign driving licence you will need to exchange it for a UK one, although you can drive for up to a year on an EU licence. This might change though, with Brexit. Hopefully someone else will come along with more advice.

Antonia Fri 31-Jul-20 12:57:25

Contract, not contact

Charleygirl5 Fri 31-Jul-20 13:07:32

I doubt very much if he will be entitled to any NHS care except in an emergency because he has not been living in a European country and that will include GP surgery and dental care although your DH will have a better grip on the latter!

Illte Fri 31-Jul-20 13:10:59

I just looked it up on the Gov website and he will be entitled to NHS care though there's a number of paperwork hoops to jump through so it might take some weeks before anything except emergency care is available.

Is your Sil a UK citizen though? That's a crucial factor in returning.

Fennel Fri 31-Jul-20 13:19:22

Like Antonia we came back to the UK recently after nearly 20 years in France.
While there we kept our UK bank accounts, completed annual tax returns for both countries, received UK pensions. Also, since we were still in the EU the NHS refunded France for our health care etc. So the transition was OK from the financial and health sides.
One of the reasons we returned was the possible consequences of Brexit.
I don't know what the status of SA is with regard to the UK.
Is it similar to Australia and Canada?
Has your BiL kept any financial connection with the UK eg does he receive a UK pension? If not I wouldn't be too optimistc.
You could try contacting these people
If you can get through.

Illte Fri 31-Jul-20 13:20:24

State pension is based on NI contributions though. Do they have enough money to live on for the next x years?

Leaving their children and families behind is a massive step. Is there anyone here who could give support. Apart from you. And we're all getting on a bit!

MawB Fri 31-Jul-20 13:28:15

My BIL came back after 30 years in Singapore but not having paid NI I understand he is not entitled to a State Pension (Nor should he be!)
However he owns a flat in London which he lets and has presumably paid tax (or perhaps not!) on that.
He is eligible for treatment on the NHS though it seems.

Ellianne Fri 31-Jul-20 13:29:19

Yes Antonia, the worst bit was trying to sign up for a John Lewis card to buy furniture etc. You can have proof of over half a million in the bank but get rejected for a store card because you haven't had an address in this country.

annodomini Fri 31-Jul-20 13:39:33

I'm fairly sure that a British passport entitles the holder to NHS treatment. My late sister, a NZ resident, broke her wrist 12 years ago, at her daughter's wedding in Edinburgh and no-one questioned her right to NHS treatment. She had a New Zealand passport as well.

Callistemon Fri 31-Jul-20 14:37:30

Oh dear, I'm sorry to hear that kittylester.
I have heard how difficult things are for many people now in SA. Many have left and started new lives in Australia recently but they are younger and have a good few working years ahead of them.

A friend's family faced the same situation in Zimbabwe; although he had a British passport having left the UK when he was 5, his wife and family did not. They weren't able to come here even though my friend offered them a home with her.

Sorry to be pessimistic. It depends on nationality and financial situation.

Callistemon Fri 31-Jul-20 14:42:29

annodomini the UK has reciprocal arrangements with some countries for emergency healthcare and I think NZ is one of them.
We've both had emergency treatment in Australia; we took out NHS healthcare with us but they didn't want to see them.
Longer term healthcare would have to be paid for quite rightly.

Callistemon Fri 31-Jul-20 14:43:06

We took our NHS healthcare cards with us

cornergran Fri 31-Jul-20 14:48:23

Acquaintances moved back to the U.K. from SA 6 years ago to be close to their family. Both born in the U.K. Both have definitely been cared for by the NHS in primary and secondary care, one is currently in a care home which is part funded. I’m not sure if things have changed for those newly returning. Hope you can work it out for them kitty, difficult position to be in.

growstuff Fri 31-Jul-20 14:50:11

NHS care is based on residency. NHS cards be surrendered after three months.

Daisymae Fri 31-Jul-20 14:52:18

I know people who paid NI while living abroad and got state pension on returning. In time they also got state care, sheltered accommodation and a nursing home. No idea how that worked though.

Urmstongran Fri 31-Jul-20 14:53:39

Could you ask your GP ‘s opinion kitty?
- your family doctor, not any grandparent!

growstuff Fri 31-Jul-20 14:54:39

It would appear that "Citizens who return to the UK on a settled basis will be classed as ordinarily resident, and will be eligible for free NHS care immediately." Presumably, he will have to prove that he's here to stay.,for%20free%20NHS%20care%20immediately.&text=Note%20that%20these%20changes%20apply,with%20your%20local%20health%20authority.

kittylester Fri 31-Jul-20 14:59:09

Thank you all for your help. I knew the grans would help.

I will look at all the links you have supplied I had looked but I don't trust that I am looking at the latest info.

When DS1 came back from Japan having suffered a major stroke, we were told by the very officious woman (who seemed to enjoy making me cry) at the DWP that he would not be eligible for NHS treatment for 6 months but the gp ignored that.

Both of them receive (very small) UK pensions and have UK bank accounts.

DH is one of 4 brothers (one of whom lives in Thailand) and DSIL has 2 sisters so there is no lack of support. And, some of us send them money occasionally as it is.

They have not said that they intend to come back but I would like to have some information in case it is the only option. This morning they were unable to get to their son's house because of the unrest on the main roads.

I feel so sorry for my SIL as she is carrying this responsibility on her own with little back up apart from family who are all working.

A few of you will know that i am a huge promoter of the Alzheimer's Society and there is nothing like that in SA so she is using their online information, Talking Point and me!!

You can only feel sorry for her!! grin

Thank all again, so much.