Turks & Cacis - Redux

Old Nov 25th 2014, 5:05 pm
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Default Turks & Cacis - Redux

Hi y'all, I know there are a few T&C threads out there, but rather than highjacking an old one (again) I figured I would pop a few specific questions here. Two years ago I posed some questions regarding potential to move to T&C (Provo) whilst working overseas (family would stay there, I would complete rotational work out of country). Since then a lot of things went pear shaped, but are now coming back around. I am looking at moving potentially early 2015. I am of no delusion that it will be cheap living, but would like to get an understanding of the costs (I checked the IGA flyer, so generally know food rates), as well as general information. Few questions:
  1. Housing - Having two kids I'd be looking for a three bedroom place, preferably house/townhouse (not so much a condo/apartment style). In general terms what should I be looking to pay and where should I be looking (I know the stock response is Well how much do you want to spend, I am just looking in broad terms). Is it reasonably easy to find a long term rental (I have seen a couple realtor websites, just am not sure if they are representative)? I also would like to bring my dog, which leads into the next question;
  2. Anyone brought a dog? I saw the list of not permitted breads, mine is a pug so I don't think it would fall under breeds of bulldogs.
  3. My wife would be on her own a fair bit, so it would be nice to get someone to help around the house (once or twice a week to help clean up, maybe someone to look after the kids occasionally), how much does that sort of thing cost (in general).
Residency status - From what I understand the following is really all I need to do to get temporary residency, please advise if I am missing anything:
  1. Show financial independence (I have a job out of country - no issue)
  2. Open a bank account locally
  3. Pay a fee ($50 + $1,000 + $150 + $50 + $50 = US$1,300 per year)
  4. Get a blood test
  5. Copy of passport
  6. Declare in writing we will not take up gainful employment
  7. Passport photographs
  8. Police clearance (from country of origin?)
  9. Character references
  10. Proof of marriage
  11. Birth certificates
Is this really all there is to it? Can this (or does this have to) be done in country, and about how long does it take and how difficult is it? I will probably be "in country" about three weeks at a time, would I be able to cover all these basis during that period?
Much thanks.
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

Originally Posted by kelapstick View Post
Hi y'all, I know there are a few T&C threads out there, but rather than highjacking an old one (again) I figured I would pop a few specific questions here. Two years ago I posed some questions regarding potential to move to T&C (Provo) whilst working overseas (family would stay there, I would complete rotational work out of country). Since then a lot of things went pear shaped, but are now coming back around. I am looking at moving potentially early 2015. I am of no delusion that it will be cheap living, but would like to get an understanding of the costs (I checked the IGA flyer, so generally know food rates), as well as general information. Few questions:
  1. Housing - Having two kids I'd be looking for a three bedroom place, preferably house/townhouse (not so much a condo/apartment style). In general terms what should I be looking to pay and where should I be looking (I know the stock response is Well how much do you want to spend, I am just looking in broad terms). Is it reasonably easy to find a long term rental (I have seen a couple realtor websites, just am not sure if they are representative)? I also would like to bring my dog, which leads into the next question;
  2. Anyone brought a dog? I saw the list of not permitted breads, mine is a pug so I don't think it would fall under breeds of bulldogs.
  3. My wife would be on her own a fair bit, so it would be nice to get someone to help around the house (once or twice a week to help clean up, maybe someone to look after the kids occasionally), how much does that sort of thing cost (in general).
Residency status - From what I understand the following is really all I need to do to get temporary residency, please advise if I am missing anything:
  1. Show financial independence (I have a job out of country - no issue)
  2. Open a bank account locally
  3. Pay a fee ($50 + $1,000 + $150 + $50 + $50 = US$1,300 per year)
  4. Get a blood test
  5. Copy of passport
  6. Declare in writing we will not take up gainful employment
  7. Passport photographs
  8. Police clearance (from country of origin?)
  9. Character references
  10. Proof of marriage
  11. Birth certificates
Is this really all there is to it? Can this (or does this have to) be done in country, and about how long does it take and how difficult is it? I will probably be "in country" about three weeks at a time, would I be able to cover all these basis during that period?
Much thanks.
It is that easy, but the question is if it's worth it. Not a cheap place to live and you could get rock fever.
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 12:26 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

Yes, well that is what I am trying to work out. I have an understanding of the cost of living, but would like to confirm what I have found. I know that it is expensive, however I will have a full time job outside the country (as opposed to coming as a retiree). I am looking into Turks and Caicos because of the ease of getting residence (as compared to Southeast Asia where you have to have a large wad of cash to deposit into a local bank up front), the proximity to Canada/US, and the frequency of flights off the island (your latter point).
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

Originally Posted by kelapstick View Post
Yes, well that is what I am trying to work out. I have an understanding of the cost of living, but would like to confirm what I have found. I know that it is expensive, however I will have a full time job outside the country (as opposed to coming as a retiree). I am looking into Turks and Caicos because of the ease of getting residence (as compared to Southeast Asia where you have to have a large wad of cash to deposit into a local bank up front), the proximity to Canada/US, and the frequency of flights off the island (your latter point).
I'm more familiar with the Bahamas, but in general you'll have the same issues. Flight connections aren't great and on which island do you want to live? Rentals are probably easier to find on the islands directly, or contact agencies to get an idea. Here an example:
Amethyst Townhomes Rental 2 bedrooms , 2 bathrooms

Because of flight connections, you'll probably have to pick Providenciales, but with just 98 km2 you'll get bored pretty quickly and other islands such as Grand Turk won't be better with 18 km2 and are even harder to get to. Electricity costs are a big issue and apart from going to the beach what will your wife do?
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

Yes I am looking at Provo, with regular weekly flights to Toronto and daily to Miami I should be able to make the logistics work (famous last words). I reckon that finding a rental would be easier while on the island, thanks for the link. I have a couple other real estate links, and haven't been scared off by the prices yet, so will connect with someone when I go down to have a look. Looks like the (fluctuating) electricity price is about 50¢/kWh, which is significantly higher than what we pay in NS (7.3¢-18.6¢ depending on time of day and season).

As for what my wife will do, I am not sure and will be looking into that to be sure. I know it is a small island, with limited options, is there any sort of expat community on the island?
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

Originally Posted by kelapstick View Post
Yes I am looking at Provo, with regular weekly flights to Toronto and daily to Miami I should be able to make the logistics work (famous last words). I reckon that finding a rental would be easier while on the island, thanks for the link. I have a couple other real estate links, and haven't been scared off by the prices yet, so will connect with someone when I go down to have a look. Looks like the (fluctuating) electricity price is about 50¢/kWh, which is significantly higher than what we pay in NS (7.3¢-18.6¢ depending on time of day and season).

As for what my wife will do, I am not sure and will be looking into that to be sure. I know it is a small island, with limited options, is there any sort of expat community on the island?
How long do you want to stay on the island and why specifically the Caribbean? If it's the weather, you'd be far better off in Florida or Europe (Spain, Portugal etc.). I don't know if you've lived on an island, but you also need to consider hurricane season and you might be stuck with no flight going. It's great for a holiday, but what kind of life do you expect there? Sorry for the questions, but you really need to consider everything.
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 3:52 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

A little more detailed explanation, I will be working overseas (Mongolia) which has a favourable tax law (10%), if we stay in Canada I am subject to Canadian taxation, if we live somewhere else I am not (in simplistic terms). My plan is to move my family out of Canada, and maintain a reasonably close cost of living (currently my estimate is showing approximately a 33% increase in cost of living, even if that is light, there is still quite a lot of room to move with the tax savings). I would have the option to move the family to Ulaanbaatar, however it is not a place I would like to bring my family for a number of reasons, the main reasons are:
  1. The cost of living for an expatriate is very high (I estimate about $90,000 to rent a decent townhouse and put two kids in the international school).
  2. I would not actually be working in Ulaanbaatar, so would be away Monday to Friday anyway.
  3. Not a particularly safe place to live these days.
  4. Travel back to Canada is a significant cost financially and time wise (CA$2,000 + 30 hours to Halifax), my flights back when I work Fly in Fly Out are paid for, if I lived in Mongolia they would not be.
So subsequently I would like to find a place I can get a long term (one year renewable at least) residency permit without having to make a significant investment in property. I can't just up and move to Florida, for instance, as the family would have to stay there when I am working, as Canadians we are only permitted to stay in the US for 183 days per calendar year (not an issue for me in particular, but yes for the family). I have done a fair bit of research on places to get a residence permit, for example to get residency in Malaysia you have to deposit (in the neighbourhood of) US$60,000 in a local bank, the balance is to not go below that amount for the duration of your stay. For Panama you have to purchase property of a set value.

I had previously selected Malta, which at the time only required you to deposit (and be taxed on) about €15,000 annually (which you could spend however you saw fit), however they changed their permanent residency scheme a couple years ago, making it more difficult to get.

My search next turned up Turks and Caicos, which had the following advantages:
  • Easy to get a permit.
  • Favourable climate (notwithstanding hurricane season).
  • Direct and relatively inexpensive (CA$650 + 8 hours to Halifax) flights to Canada/US - as we only have to be absent from Canada for 183 days to qualify as non-residents, my wife and kids could travel back to Canada or the US as frequent (or infrequent) as they like, presumably for the summer at least (for budget purposes I am presuming four round trip flights per person per year).
  • Local language is English.
As for what kind of life I am expecting there, I really have no preconceived expectations, which is why I am asking here. I plan to go down for a visit, see what the place is all about, take a look at some rental properties, go shopping at the grocery store, see if I can meet up with some other expats to get some in-person feedback on what island life is like (I know it's small, I know it's boring).
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 4:15 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

Originally Posted by kelapstick View Post
A little more detailed explanation, I will be working overseas (Mongolia) which has a favourable tax law (10%), if we stay in Canada I am subject to Canadian taxation, if we live somewhere else I am not (in simplistic terms). My plan is to move my family out of Canada, and maintain a reasonably close cost of living (currently my estimate is showing approximately a 33% increase in cost of living, even if that is light, there is still quite a lot of room to move with the tax savings). I would have the option to move the family to Ulaanbaatar, however it is not a place I would like to bring my family for a number of reasons, the main reasons are:
  1. The cost of living for an expatriate is very high (I estimate about $90,000 to rent a decent townhouse and put two kids in the international school).
  2. I would not actually be working in Ulaanbaatar, so would be away Monday to Friday anyway.
  3. Not a particularly safe place to live these days.
  4. Travel back to Canada is a significant cost financially and time wise (CA$2,000 + 30 hours to Halifax), my flights back when I work Fly in Fly Out are paid for, if I lived in Mongolia they would not be.
So subsequently I would like to find a place I can get a long term (one year renewable at least) residency permit without having to make a significant investment in property. I can't just up and move to Florida, for instance, as the family would have to stay there when I am working, as Canadians we are only permitted to stay in the US for 183 days per calendar year (not an issue for me in particular, but yes for the family). I have done a fair bit of research on places to get a residence permit, for example to get residency in Malaysia you have to deposit (in the neighbourhood of) US$60,000 in a local bank, the balance is to not go below that amount for the duration of your stay. For Panama you have to purchase property of a set value.

I had previously selected Malta, which at the time only required you to deposit (and be taxed on) about €15,000 annually (which you could spend however you saw fit), however they changed their permanent residency scheme a couple years ago, making it more difficult to get.

My search next turned up Turks and Caicos, which had the following advantages:
  • Easy to get a permit.
  • Favourable climate (notwithstanding hurricane season).
  • Direct and relatively inexpensive (CA$650 + 8 hours to Halifax) flights to Canada/US - as we only have to be absent from Canada for 183 days to qualify as non-residents, my wife and kids could travel back to Canada or the US as frequent (or infrequent) as they like, presumably for the summer at least (for budget purposes I am presuming four round trip flights per person per year).
  • Local language is English.
As for what kind of life I am expecting there, I really have no preconceived expectations, which is why I am asking here. I plan to go down for a visit, see what the place is all about, take a look at some rental properties, go shopping at the grocery store, see if I can meet up with some other expats to get some in-person feedback on what island life is like (I know it's small, I know it's boring).
Is your main work in Mongolia, so are you receiving wages from Mongolia, or are your wages coming from Canada? If you are resident in Mongolia, surely they can't tax you in Canada? You could have your main residence in Mongolia to avoid taxation in Canada.
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

My work will be in Mongolia, my wages will come from Mongolia. If I own a house in Canada and my family lives in Canada I am taxed in Canada, even if I personally spend more than 183 days out of Canada, and only receive income from foreign sources. Canadian residents are taxed on worldwide income, and owning a house and having dependents in Canada will deem me a resident of Canada.
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Old Nov 26th 2014, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

I think you should be paying more attention to how your wife would cope wherever you choose to live, as many expats end up splitting up or going home because of the effect on their wives who are basically stuck at home all day and soon get bored. Many years ago I took my family to live in Bermuda and after a year we split up as she got island fever, and thinking back, it was foolish of me to think she'd "find something to do" , which she didnt apart from the boring coffee mornings with other expat wives. To choose a place for tax reasons is not wise. Low taxes are for a reason and bring compensating high costs in other areas. There's no income tax in Bermuda but that saving is more than cancelled out by astronomical food, water, electricity costs.
In summary, I suggest that if you move, you go to where your family will be happy, not where income tax is low.
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Old Nov 27th 2014, 7:46 am
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Default Re: Turks & Cacis - Redux

Originally Posted by kelapstick View Post
My work will be in Mongolia, my wages will come from Mongolia. If I own a house in Canada and my family lives in Canada I am taxed in Canada, even if I personally spend more than 183 days out of Canada, and only receive income from foreign sources. Canadian residents are taxed on worldwide income, and owning a house and having dependents in Canada will deem me a resident of Canada.

A departing Canadian resident must establish a residence elsewhere, otherwise the presumption is that he or she is a continuing resident of Canada for income tax purposes

If you establish residency in Mongolia, you should be able to avoid the taxation, but if you move to the Turks there won't be a difference in my opinion.
Revenue Canada has stated that when an individual leaves Canada for a period of less than 2 years, that person will be presumed to be a continuing resident of Canada for income tax purposes. However, if the individual can establish that he or she has severed all residential ties on leaving Canada, that individual will be considered to have become a non-resident of Canada on departure, even if they do return within 2 years.

Apart from that I think dfjordan is right. There won't be anything to do on the island and apart from a few gift shops that's it. Of course it's paradise when you're on holiday, but living there is completely different. You also have to think about the kids.
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