How to leave the United Kingdom

Pack possessions, kiss loved ones goodbye and inform HMRC (or stay and try to help make things better)

Andy Gregory
Friday 13 December 2019 02:23 GMT
How to leave the United Kingdom

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have achieved their best election result since Margaret Thatcher’s government.

It was reported in the run-up to the general election that some people of colour were considering leaving the UK if the Tories retained power as a result of the PM’s history of racist comments.

There were also reports of Jewish people planning to do the same if Jeremy Corbyn won the keys to Number 10, due to antisemitism within the Labour Party.

And after the 10pm exit poll forecast the Tories could win a commanding majority of 86 seats, fresh statements of intent to leave the country began to flood social media.

But other than packing possessions, kissing loved ones goodbye and boarding international transport, how do you actually leave the country?

UK residents are obliged to tell the relevant government offices dealing with your benefits, pension and taxes before moving abroad, according to the government’s website.

In order to move country, you need to inform HMRC, to make sure you either pay the right amount of tax and avoid paying in both countries at the same time, while those with a student loan should also advise the Student Loans Company.

If you receive a pension, you must contact the International Pension Centre. You can still claim a state pension while based abroad “if you’ve paid enough UK national insurance contributions to qualify”, the government’s website states.

For those claiming benefits, you must inform your local Jobcentre Plus, and you may be able to continue claiming UK-based benefits if you’re moving to one with a special arrangement with the UK, or in the European Economic Area.

However you could be committing benefit fraud by failing to report a change in circumstances, such as working, buying a property, or claiming benefits in another country.

While the UK remains part of the European Union – which could be only until 31 January – there will be no change to the rights and standards of UK nationals living in EU countries, according to the government’s website.

Those looking to emigrate to a non-EU country will need to apply for a visa, for which you will need to qualify and in many countries can take months to process.

But as the statements of intent to leave Britain emerged on social media after the exit poll, voices emerged in response, urging people to put the interests of those without the means to move country before their own.

Others suggested getting involved with local politics and joining a party, volunteering and donating to charity as ways to affect tangible change.

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