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Opportunity to move back to UK

Opportunity to move back to UK

Old Oct 11th 2020, 7:02 pm
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Question Opportunity to move back to UK

Hi, we have been in Canada (Edmonton area) since 2009 and are now considering a move back to the UK. I've been approached about a senior position that is based in Lowestoft. Not my first choice to relocate back to. We've struggled to make friends here and find Edmonton such a narrow-minded parochial town. We are also considering a move across to Ontario but to be honest we are attracted by the idea of moving back. We would be leaving behind our married daughter, our son who is at Uni, but taking our third child who is 15. So...questions:
1. Reality of life back in the UK today?
2. What would a 15 year old teenage girl come back to regarding school
3. Any ideas of life over in the far eastern part of the UK.

Greatly appreciated
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Old Oct 12th 2020, 8:59 am
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Hi, and welcome to BE.

I've got a 15 year old, and life in the UK is pretty fabulous for us, but we're nowhere near Lowestoft! Hopefully there may be a forum member or two in that area that can advise.

Schooling wise, it will depend on when she turned 15. If it was before 1st Sept then she'd be going in to Year 11 which I think would be hell, as that's GCSE year so would be really tough on her. Mine has got mocks in a month, and essentially this whole year is just endless revision and practice papers. If she's turned 15 since 1st Sept, then she'd be going in to Year 10 so more manageable, but then I'd strongly suggest you more asap so she doesn't miss too much of the course. I've no idea what schools in Lowestoft are like, do check that out as you'll need a pretty good one moving her at such a crucial point.

How does the 15 year old feel about moving?
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Old Oct 12th 2020, 12:20 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

It depends what you like in a town. Lowestoft has a very nice beach with all the associated bucket and spade type amenities. In general the town is down at heel and has seen better days. The region is lovely though. You’ve got Southwold, Dunwich, Minsmere etc. just to the south, the Suffolk heath, great walking and cycling and lovely villages. Just North and West is the Norfolk Broads. Easy access to London by train.
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Old Oct 12th 2020, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

1. That is very personal. Opinions vary between "hell on earth, terrible place, we need to leave" and "it's good to be home, we love being back". So it really depends on your motives, opinions, and expectations - it sounds as if you are not moving back to be near to family and friends.

I suspect that a lot is going to depend on what you expect. If you expect things in the UK to be just like when you left, and you can pick up life with relatives and friends as if you had never been away, then you will likely be disappointed.

2. I wouldn't move a 15 year old. As Christmasoompa already said, you would create an unholy mess for your daughter if you dumped her into the education system 1 year before GCSE's; IMO it wouldn't be much better if you waited a year and put her in the situation of facing A levels without having done GCSE's.

Then aside from purely educational issues, teenagers are busy finding their place in the world, and making friendships that may last in the long term, and I would sooner remove my right arm with a rusty hacksaw than even so much as move my teenage daughter between schools, never mind to a different education system in another country. Honestly, my advice would be to wait until your daughter has finished high school, even if that means one of you going back to the UK to take up an attractive job offer while the other stays behind to look after your daughter.

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 12th 2020 at 5:57 pm.
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Old Oct 12th 2020, 5:54 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Thanks all, that’s been very helpful. I really don’t like the idea of moving my daughter and equally not a fan of moving solo. I think if we we’re moving closer to our friends it might be a bit different. But still very challenging.
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Old Oct 19th 2020, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

We are also heading back to the UK to retire either in Devon or Cornwall having lived on Vancouver Island. We have been in Canada for 14 years. I have a 20 year old daughter and 16 year old son in Grade 11. We agonised whether to move our son back to the UK at 15 but as the Canadian school system is so different to the UK we decided it would be in our son's best interest to graduate in Canada. This has been very tough on the wife and I as we checked out of Canada some time ago and just want to leave. Hopefully this works out for our son but COVID has thrown us a curved ball and we don't think he is leaning very much.
We have just applied for our UK passports ready for our return just in case we decide to leave earlier. There was a few shocks with returning to the UK that we didn't expect 1) The TOR, which we don't fully understand how this works in practice with the requirement to have your goods to follow list pre approved. 2) the requirement for our kids to pay foreign tuition fees for 3 years) The extra stamp duty we have to pay if we buy a property before we become tax residents in 6 months.
It looks if the UK makes it as difficult as possible for returning citizens which I find really odd. But then that's the way it is.
We are really looking forward to returning to the UK and is the only thing which keeps us sane at the moment. .
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Old Oct 19th 2020, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Originally Posted by getoutofbritainquick View Post
We are also heading back to the UK to retire either in Devon or Cornwall having lived on Vancouver Island. We have been in Canada for 14 years. I have a 20 year old daughter and 16 year old son in Grade 11. We agonised whether to move our son back to the UK at 15 but as the Canadian school system is so different to the UK we decided it would be in our son's best interest to graduate in Canada. This has been very tough on the wife and I as we checked out of Canada some time ago and just want to leave. Hopefully this works out for our son but COVID has thrown us a curved ball and we don't think he is leaning very much.
We have just applied for our UK passports ready for our return just in case we decide to leave earlier. There was a few shocks with returning to the UK that we didn't expect 1) The TOR, which we don't fully understand how this works in practice with the requirement to have your goods to follow list pre approved. 2) the requirement for our kids to pay foreign tuition fees for 3 years) The extra stamp duty we have to pay if we buy a property before we become tax residents in 6 months.
It looks if the UK makes it as difficult as possible for returning citizens which I find really odd. But then that's the way it is.
We are really looking forward to returning to the UK and is the only thing which keeps us sane at the moment. .
Why and why? I'm genuinely interested when forum users say that.
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Old Oct 19th 2020, 6:05 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Thanks getoutofbritainquick. Have you tried anywhere else in Canada? We often think that the microcosm of St.Albert is weird (big houses, big boats, big cars, superficial "friendships", parochial mind set, small thinking, poor food, wings and pizza franchise is seen as the best thing ever" etc etc...oh and a soleless town (not a city)" so we are left wondering if we should really try elsewhere first out of Alberta to see if Canada is different... I've been reseraching going back into the UK education system and out 15 year old would have to do 2 years of GCSEs and the A levels and then Uni, Here it seems that Grade 11 is equivalent to GSCEs and then Grade 12 is like a first year of A levels in the UK...but at a lower level.. it's possible but very difficult.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

The extra stamp duty we have to pay if we buy a property before we become tax residents in 6 months.

You can reclaim the extra stamp duty once you've met the 183 days criteria, and have 2 years from the date of purchase to do so by amending your stamp duty tax return.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 11:42 am
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Yes I was aware that we can claim that back after we become tax residents. But I like my money to be in my account not the tax mans!
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

The UK does seem to penalise its own citizens, or at least treat them no better than non-citizens unlike many countries - as a UK national, I can't buy a property in, or am subject to restrictions and/or additional fees compared to locals in many countries. I'd hoped the stamp duty supplement would apply to non-citizens and I'd be exempt as a citizen, but alas ....

Technically, the stamp duty supplement isn't linked to tax residency, but follows its own logic, and deems you resident for stamp duty supplement purposes if you have been in the UK for 183 days in a 365 day period, and purchased a house within this period. So you could be tax resident from day 1, and also pay the stamp duty supplement if you buy a house within 183 days.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

There are a number of reasons why we want to return. We have been in BC around 14 years. We left the UK just before the last financial crises hit (hence my username!) and moved to Vancouver (which was very affordable at the time) where we spent our first 7 years and had a wonderful time. We then moved to Vancouver Island, near Victoria where we have been for the past 7 years. My wife and I have very good secure jobs. We have a beautiful house located on a mountain but live under the constant threat of developers tearing the place apart. However we had no plans to return to the UK until we moved to the Island (due to an attractive job opportunity) where our experiences have not been good.

We made lots of friends when we first moved to BC but since we have been on the Island have made very few. Our daughter hates it here.

Culture shock hit us very hard and we wondered for a couple of years what was the difference between VI and the Lower Mainland. As ramram49 has indicated we found similar issues with the people here. We realised most of our good friends in the LM were all 'multicultural' people from many different parts of the world, generally very well educated and more worldly in their outlook. My wife and I both work for the Government agencies, I work for a Utility and my wife works in Healthcare. Without going into too much detail we are both appalled with the work ethic here, the sense of entitlement and the resistance to change. Due to our professions we get to see a little deeper into how the place functions or rather doesn't, the politics and the extreme unnecessary waste which takes place. There is no forward thinking, everything they do is reactive and usually politically or personally motivated.

We hate the reckless, rapid development which is taking place without upgrading the infrastructure to cope or any consideration for the existing residents. The transport system is 'third world'. Too many municipalities, wastefulness and no cohesive plan, awful architecture and devastating environmental destruction. The forests are being decimated and they are blasting away the natural features to build awful looking condos and tiny homes. Our particular municipality is run for the benefit of the Mayor and his developer buddies (check out 'WTF Langford' to get an insight). Between them they have absolutely butchered our town for their personal benefit, it looks awful. Everyone knows what's going on and just say well he is 'pro development' (to put this in perspective he wants to be the fastest growing municipality in Canada in a geographically restricted area) but people are too scared to say anything and this is the riding of the Premier of BC! Then there is LooneyVille in Victoria, I won't even go into details about that place! The place has gone downhill so fast in the past 5 years it's staggering. You cannot drive anywhere around these parts which is not being dug up for one reason or another, congestion is getting worse and there is no long term plan to deal with it. It's like living in a permanent construction zone.

Then there is the cost of living which seems totally out of control with no sign of abating, salaries are virtually static. Not just the price of property, but insurances, very high personal tax rates, food costs, property tax, liquor and generally everyday living expenses. How the average person can afford to live here is beyond me. Our children wouldn't stand a chance here unless we heavily supported them.

The Wild Fires are getting worse and we seem to have to suffer the awful smoke every year which is damaging to our health not to mention the constant threat of Earthquakes and Tsunamis always exist.

We did move to the Island with an intent to retire but for some of the reasons above no longer desire to do so. We thought about moving to another part of Canada but with only a year or so before we retire we think that the UK would be a better option, particularly because we still have family there and we miss the culture in the UK. We intend to travel in Europe when this awful virus restrictions lets up so being in Canada doesn't make much sense.

My family and I certainly don't regret the move to Canada and have done many things we couldn't have done in the UK but we think now is the time to go home and retire to a beautiful part of the UK somewhere in the West Country.



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Old Oct 21st 2020, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Originally Posted by ramram49 View Post
Hi, we have been in Canada (Edmonton area) since 2009 and are now considering a move back to the UK. I've been approached about a senior position that is based in Lowestoft. Not my first choice to relocate back to. We've struggled to make friends here and find Edmonton such a narrow-minded parochial town. We are also considering a move across to Ontario but to be honest we are attracted by the idea of moving back. We would be leaving behind our married daughter, our son who is at Uni, but taking our third child who is 15. So...questions:
1. Reality of life back in the UK today?
2. What would a 15 year old teenage girl come back to regarding school
3. Any ideas of life over in the far eastern part of the UK.

Greatly appreciated
Hi there. Bit late to this thread but hope I can contribute. We previously lived in Calgary, and came back to our house the UK (Norfolk) when our eldest was ready for high school (age 11). I then commuted between Fort Mac & Norfolk for several years, then I returned full-time to the UK and was working on offshore projects out of Lowestoft. (Sounds like you might be in the energy business too?)

As was mentioned upthread, Lowestoft itself is a bit down-at-heel, however, there are some nice parts e.g. Oulton Broad, and you don't have to go very far outside Lowestoft to find some beautiful villages that are a world away in lifestyle. Putting it bluntly, Lowestoft is a bit scabby, but much of Norfolk & Suffolk is very genteel. The beach at Lowestoft is amazing though.

We live in a nice village about 45 miles away from Lowestoft. It was about 45 minute commute by motorbike, or 1hr 15 mins by car.

Reality of life in the UK - We much prefer it to Canada. We always felt that living in Canada was like being permanently mildly anaesthetised. The UK is much more visceral and vibrant, even in sleepy old Norfolk & Suffolk!! COVID aside, the opportunities for travel from the UK are unbelievable compared to Alberta. Indeed, after my project in Lowestoft finished, I worked in Germany for 3 years, commuting by Ryanair from Stansted. Door-to-door in less time than it used to take me Fort Mac to Calgary!

Schooling... depends entirely exactly where you chose to live, and I would definitely NOT choose Lowestoft itself. There are some excellent schools around, a bit of research will give you a better idea. 15 years is not the ideal age to move though, they're well into their GCSEs at that stage. You'd need to take better advice by speaking to a few schools directly I think. But in general, we chose to put our kids through high school in the UK instead of Canada, and we don't regret it at all. Both now at University in the UK, and much more worldly-wise than if we'd stayed in Calgary.

Life in the East? Love it, we really do. We are on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, 20 miles to Norwich and only 100 miles to London. Beautiful village, great scenery. But we are in the process of moving, although that has nothing to do with the area - our kids have left home and the house is far too big for just the 2 of us. I have a new project based out of Glasgow and all our extended family is in Scotland so we are moving back. But we've had our house in Norfolk for 20 years and I would have no problem staying here for the rest of my life, it's a great part of the world.

In summary - would I recommend leaving Edmonton for Norfolk/Suffolk? No doubt about it - but don't think about living in either Lowestoft or Great Yarmouth.

Happy to help further if I can.

Last edited by Jingsamichty; Oct 21st 2020 at 4:15 pm.
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Old Oct 23rd 2020, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Originally Posted by getoutofbritainquick View Post
There are a number of reasons why we want to return. We have been in BC around 14 years. We left the UK just before the last financial crises hit (hence my username!) and moved to Vancouver (which was very affordable at the time) where we spent our first 7 years and had a wonderful time. We then moved to Vancouver Island, near Victoria where we have been for the past 7 years. My wife and I have very good secure jobs. We have a beautiful house located on a mountain but live under the constant threat of developers tearing the place apart. However we had no plans to return to the UK until we moved to the Island (due to an attractive job opportunity) where our experiences have not been good.

We made lots of friends when we first moved to BC but since we have been on the Island have made very few. Our daughter hates it here.

Culture shock hit us very hard and we wondered for a couple of years what was the difference between VI and the Lower Mainland. As ramram49 has indicated we found similar issues with the people here. We realised most of our good friends in the LM were all 'multicultural' people from many different parts of the world, generally very well educated and more worldly in their outlook. My wife and I both work for the Government agencies, I work for a Utility and my wife works in Healthcare. Without going into too much detail we are both appalled with the work ethic here, the sense of entitlement and the resistance to change. Due to our professions we get to see a little deeper into how the place functions or rather doesn't, the politics and the extreme unnecessary waste which takes place. There is no forward thinking, everything they do is reactive and usually politically or personally motivated.

We hate the reckless, rapid development which is taking place without upgrading the infrastructure to cope or any consideration for the existing residents. The transport system is 'third world'. Too many municipalities, wastefulness and no cohesive plan, awful architecture and devastating environmental destruction.
The forests are being decimated and they are blasting away the natural features to build awful looking condos and tiny homes. Our particular municipality is run for the benefit of the Mayor and his developer buddies (check out 'WTF Langford' to get an insight). Between them they have absolutely butchered our town for their personal benefit, it looks awful. Everyone knows what's going on and just say well he is 'pro development' (to put this in perspective he wants to be the fastest growing municipality in Canada in a geographically restricted area) but people are too scared to say anything and this is the riding of the Premier of BC! Then there is LooneyVille in Victoria, I won't even go into details about that place! The place has gone downhill so fast in the past 5 years it's staggering. You cannot drive anywhere around these parts which is not being dug up for one reason or another, congestion is getting worse and there is no long term plan to deal with it. It's like living in a permanent construction zone.

Then there is the cost of living which seems totally out of control with no sign of abating, salaries are virtually static. Not just the price of property, but insurances, very high personal tax rates, food costs, property tax, liquor and generally everyday living expenses. How the average person can afford to live here is beyond me. Our children wouldn't stand a chance here unless we heavily supported them.

The Wild Fires are getting worse and we seem to have to suffer the awful smoke every year which is damaging to our health not to mention the constant threat of Earthquakes and Tsunamis always exist.

We did move to the Island with an intent to retire but for some of the reasons above no longer desire to do so. We thought about moving to another part of Canada but with only a year or so before we retire we think that the UK would be a better option, particularly because we still have family there and we miss the culture in the UK. We intend to travel in Europe when this awful virus restrictions lets up so being in Canada doesn't make much sense.

My family and I certainly don't regret the move to Canada and have done many things we couldn't have done in the UK but we think now is the time to go home and retire to a beautiful part of the UK somewhere in the West Country.
Wow! Sounds a LOT like Cayman! Other than personal tax (which we don't pay) the rest is identical. We get thumped here 'duty' wise with any imported goods and because virtually everything is imported, the cost is put on day to day living. Me and my wife both have jobns so our joint income means we have a decent standard of living and can save a buck or two but as has been said on a different thread, come next year's elections the cost of living will go up again. I'm already digging my tunnels for a return to Europe somewhere. Brexit dependent of course 🙄
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Old Oct 23rd 2020, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Opportunity to move back to UK

Originally Posted by Jamesy5008 View Post
Wow! Sounds a LOT like Cayman! Other than personal tax (which we don't pay) the rest is identical. We get thumped here 'duty' wise with any imported goods and because virtually everything is imported, the cost is put on day to day living. Me and my wife both have jobns so our joint income means we have a decent standard of living and can save a buck or two but as has been said on a different thread, come next year's elections the cost of living will go up again. I'm already digging my tunnels for a return to Europe somewhere. Brexit dependent of course 🙄
I suppose if it's not the personal tax that hits you it's all the other costs. Jersey Channel Islands is similar in that sence and we have friends there who say cost of living has made them want to leave. I suppose no place is perfect and different places suit different people. In Ireland we have one of the highest excise taxes on alcohol in Europe and many complain but then again I can happily live with it. I don't drink that much anyway and when we drive down to Spain, we just fill up the car on the way back. Quiet a few people seem to have returned from Canada in recent years and all say the same. No doubt one always has to compare salaries vs. cost of living but overall it seems we have more options in Europe to reduce costs.

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