Republic of South Africa is the largest and most developed country in Africa. Undoubtedly, expats moving to this beautiful country will experience and see the wonders of an entire world within the borders of a single country. There are six floral kingdoms in the world and Africa is the only country that contains all of them; the Cape Floral Kingdom has 9.600 different plant species and 70 percent of them are only found in South Africa.
The huge geographic diversity and differences will provide expats with many opportunities with suitable places to settle in. Foreigners moving to South Africa often realize that the high quality of life in this country is above their expectations. Expatriates who aim to find employment will not encounter any difficulties since sectors such as engineering, information technology and education are always in need of people with high level of education and the right skill sets. Expats concerned about the language barrier will surely be surprised to find out that there are 11 official languages accepted in South Africa and English is often used for business purposes.
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Moving to South Africa
South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world, and it also has the cheapest electricity in the world. The private healthcare and the education systems are world class and expats will most certainly feel confident to receive treatment in local hospitals. As for the education, expats’ children will be among the ones who receive education comparable to the best schools in the world. Although, private institutions meet the world standards, there are still problems in the public healthcare system and in some other sectors in the country. Expats concerned about the high fees in the private international schools, could also consider the option to send their children to public schools without any worries about the level of education they will receive.
Expatriates moving to South Africa are totally free to decide where to settle in. Every part of the country has breath-taking experiences to offer. However, most popular cities among expats are Johannesburg and Cape Town. In contrast to Cape Town that offers more a undemanding lifestyle with its fascinating beaches and mountains, Johannesburg is the cosmopolitan business centre with never- ending hustle and bustle .
Public transport in South Africa is well maintained and structured. 80 percent of Africa’s rail infrastructure is to be found in South Africa and along with that, the world’s most luxurious train is also in Africa.
Interesting fact, expats might want to know, is that South Africa is the among the top three countries in the world in supplying safe, drinkable tap water. Unlike many other countries, where drinking tap water will certainly be problematic, in South Africa you can feel totally safe to drink tap water.
Despite the high standards of living the country generally has, there are still sizeable social inequality and high unemployment rates, the country is battling with. This is one of the reasons for home security to be a concern in the country. It is not as dangerous as some might imagine it to be, however, expats are still advised to take appropriate precautions such as installing security gates for doors, alarm system, burglar bars for the windows, good locks and also contacting private security companies could count as an option.
For expatriates moving to South Africa who are too conscious about their security, there are many alternatives to ensure their comfort and welfare such as townhouse complexes or gates communities which employ security guards and night watchmen who control access to the property 24/7.
Accommodation in South Africa
Renting a property in South Africa is a relatively easy process. Working with a real estate agent is a popular option expats moving to South Africa choose when looking for a place to stay. However, there are also plethora of websites and local newspaper that contain listings with rental properties or ones on sale that could be helpful for those who prefer to find a place without help or using real estate agents’ services.
Expats in South Africa will be offered a wide range of accommodation types including houses with big gardens, apartment blocks, semi-detached units in modern complexes as well as Victorian cottages and shared houses, which is a good option for students and young professionals living and studying in the country.
As for the process of renting a property, the real estate agents in the area, preferred from expats, provide them with a list of properties that meet the requirements they might have. After that, viewings are scheduled and once applicants decide on a property, they will fill out a lease agreement and wait until it is proceed.
A standard procedure is for tenants to be able to prove their financial capability to pay the rent. Being financially capable means that the monthly income of the tenant is at least three times the monthly rent. Along with that, they will be required to pay a deposit which is equal to two or three month’s rent. The standard of the South African accommodations is quite high, despite the prices are relatively inexpensive. Interesting fact is that there is an South African institution of barbecuing that ensures most properties to have some kind of outdoor area for entertainment. Any worries that you will not have a garden or outdoor area for barbecuing are groundless in this country.
Buying Property in South Africa
Expats moving to South Africa with plans to stay for a few years often end up buying properties instead of renting them. It is not surprising since the country offers competitive property rates and has undoubtedly enormous investment potential.
Moreover, it is crucial to mention that the South African government does not restrict non- residents from owning property in the country. There is, however, a restriction regarding the amount of financing non- South Africans can apply for. Expats are allowed to borrow only 50 percent of the house’s value and have to provide the rest themselves. Those who are on a work permit, are considered to be residents and therefore, they are not subject to this restriction.
Once owner of a property in South Africa, expats can resell or rent them out. If they decide to do so, they will be required to register either for income or capital gains tax depending on the action taken.
Shipping Furniture to South Africa
Expats planning to ship their household good to or from South Africa need to be very careful when choosing the right international moving companies. The process of shipping is usually considered to be unreliable and expensive, however, if reputable international moving companies contacted, they could provide you with different options on how to ensure a safe and affordable way of sending your goods.
It is crucial to compare quotes from a few international moving companies and work with the ones that are trustworthy and have at least some years of experience. These companies will make sure you are well-informed about the whole process and documents you need to prepare. Most of the certified international moving companies will also provide you with insurance and storage services in case this is applicable to your needs and wants.