Online hub launched for expatriates: Expatme

From

Matthew Kidd

An online hub for expatriates to maximise their overseas experience and ensure they capitalise on investments while away has been formed. Expatme is an alliance of companies that provide international support to Australians who are either moving abroad, living abroad or coming back home.

Expatme services cover immigration, tax & accounting, finance, estate planning, property investment, property management, investment management and asset protection. The hub is a combination of the skills of four companies.

Expatme has commenced with four firms that all assist offshore Australians

  • Omniwealth (Finance, Financial Planning, Estate Planning, Tax and Advisory)
  • Four Points Immigration (Immigration Services)
  • Bright Residential (Real Estate – Property Management)
  • Milk Chocolate (Real Estate – Buyers Agent)

The market opportunity to assist expatriates came with changes in the Visa system from March 2018. These changes can lengthen the time it takes to process Visa applications, particularly for people wanting to bring partners back into the country. Expatriates will need to rethink the way their applications are made.

“In Australia, there is no existing service for expatriates that brings together so closely everything required to make a move abroad successful, either leaving Australia or returning. Changes to Visas due in March 2018 will impact on the length of time it takes to process Visa applications, particularly for people wanting to bring partners back into the country. Australians working offshore or looking to work abroad will need to rethink their strategy given that it can take up to 16 months if Visas are not applied for in the right order,” said Justin Browne, CEO at Four Points Immigration and co-founder of Expatme.

New Visa laws, longer time horizon for partners, more borrowing rules and tax

There has been a 37% reduction in 457 approvals during the July – December 17 half and that number is on the rise.

Domestic changes in property markets affect the ability for expats to purchase property either for investment or home ownership, making investment from abroad tricky. Bank policy will largely dictate how and when expats can apply for finance. The key is to understand the lenders and what they want.
Tax is the first consideration when relocating overseas or returning home – what the tax implications are and how best to approach the relationship between the Australian and foreign tax systems.

Property is an issue for expats and exchange rates

A 2017 survey by HSBC showed that expats globally held 33% of their wealth in their home country while 52% hold most of their wealth abroad … 62% of expats already own property somewhere in the world, with similar proportions of ownership in host (37%) and home (32%) countries.[1]

The survey also revealed that 31% of expats see a less favourable exchange rate as one of their main financial wellbeing concerns. Almost half (44%) of Australians currently living abroad have kept their wealth at home compared with only a third
 globally.[2]

“It is not enough to have a good tax guy but no coherent plan in place for a returning spouse or a strong understanding of the Sydney/Melbourne property markets. Being London-based for three years and returning home needs that same level of planning and coordination of experts as if you were starting a new business,” said

By Matthew Kidd, Chief Commercial Officer at Omniwealth and co-founder of Expatme.

1. HSBC (2017), Expat Explorer: Broadening perspectives, p. 76. Retrieved from: http://www.hsbc.com/-/media/hsbc-com/newsroomassets/2017/pdfs/expat-explorer-global-report-2017.pdf
2. HSBC (2017), p. 48

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