Firstly the bad news. If you’ve been planning an escape to a new country, either taking the family with you like The Durrells or leaving them behind like Shirley Valentine, 2021 is going to be a lot more difficult than a year or two ago.
The first barrier is Brexit. If you haven’t moved by 1st January you will need a visa to live full time in most countries of the EU, from Estonia all the way to Portugal. You probably didn’t know you fancied a year or two in Latvia until the chance was taken away!
Secondly, our favourite long-distance, English-speaking countries – New Zealand, Canada, USA and Australia – have stopped all but their own citizens moving there until the Covid pandemic is under control.
Okay, there is some good news though, and we reckon that these four countries offer your best bet for 2021.
It’s just about the sunniest corner of Europe, is officially the UK’s oldest friend (we signed a treaty in 1373) and you’ll find a ready-made English-speaking community of Brits out there.
Not just the retired either. Post-Brexit, the cities of Lisbon and Porto are looking to replace the likes of London and Manchester as the place for ambitious techies to relocate as ‘digital nomads’. Loads of new high-tech companies are starting up there, and English is the lingua franca so you won’t even need much more Portuguese than uma cerveja por favor (although your experience abroad will always be much richer if you do learn some of the language).
Most of us will favour the Algarve though, stretching 150 kilometres along the southern coast next to Spain. Here the sun shines for 3,000 hours a year and while prices of homes are not cheap, they’re certainly less expensive than similarly attractive coasts such as Spain’s Costa del Sol or France’s Cote d’Azur.
To relocate here full-time from 2021 you’ll need a visa, and that will be much easier if you don’t need to work. For a ‘non-lucrative’ visa you’ll need to show a retirement income of around €30,000 per year and have private health insurance.
If you aim to work, consider a golden visa where you buy a property worth €500,000 or more and are granted residency rights in exchange.
If you’re looking for value for money, head to the eastern end of the Mediterranean and Turkey, until a few years ago a top choice for British retirees. That faded following the attempted coup in 2016 and the migrant crisis.
However, Turkey’s star looks set to rise again. There are three main reasons for that. Firstly, it’s not Europe so you can forget all about Brexit. Yay! Secondly, the cost of living has always been low in Turkey, but since the bottom fell out of the Turkish lira your pounds go 50% further than last year. This means that surviving on a pension or small income – such as renting out your UK home – and living on the difference, is completely possible without even needing to work. Currencies do constantly move though, so before you commit to buying anything major abroad it’s always smart to lock your exchange rate in via currency specialist.
Thirdly, the Turquoise Coast (aka Turkish Riviera) is washed by the same sparkling Mediterranean Sea as Mallorca or Mykonos, but property prices are far lower.
According to Property Guides’ reader surveys, New Zealand is the top choice for emigration in 2020, with twice as many enquiries as for Australia. It’s not just the wide-open spaces, with a land area slightly larger than the UK but a population of only five million, it’s also that the average New Zealand home is three times bigger than a British home. You could almost imagine your kids aren’t at home…
You can’t emigrate there just yet but you should start planning a year or so out from your desired move date anyway. So this is the perfect time to start the ball rolling for a move to New Zealand next September, in New Zealand’s spring.
There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get to New Zealand, including an upper age limit for work visas of 55 for work visas. So for a move rather sooner, much more cheaply (including property which is strangely expensive in New Zealand), how about Ireland?
The Emerald Isle is green for a reason, so you’ll be getting around 70% of New Zealand’s 2,000+ hours of sunshine per year, but here are three great reasons to move to Ireland.
Firstly, it’s easy to get home to see your mum (or to see a show in London, to get to your best mate’s hen party, or whatever takes your fancy). Secondly, although in the EU, the UK’s relationship with Ireland is governed by earlier rules than Brexit and you can still work there without a visa and get healthcare. Thirdly, it’s a great place to be, with gorgeous countryside and friendly people.
So, which will it be? Could ’21 be the key of the door to your exciting new life?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christopher Nye has been Senior Content Editor at Property Guides but his experience in the overseas property, currency, travel and business sectors goes far beyond that. Chris has written guidebooks on Mallorca, the Greek islands, on adventure holidays and running restaurants. As property hunter and features writer for A Place in the Sun, Chris helped hundreds of people to fulfil their dream of owning a home abroad.