Summer relocation newsletter 2019
Summer Relocation Newsletter
Welcome to our summer newsletter, bringing you articles, news and updates from the world
of international relocation and education.
Taking Your Four-legged Family Member Abroad
By Ellen Harris, GMS - Content Manager at Living Abroad LLC
Taking your pet on an international move
Most pet owners consider their animals members of the family. Choosing whether to include them in a family relocation or leave them at home can be a very difficult decision. Several aspects of life in the host country will influence what is best for the animal.
Your pet’s health is the first consideration. Are there age- or health-related issues that could hamper quality of life? Is the climate so different from home – or extreme – that it could present an insurmountable transition? Will your lifestyle allow you to care for your pet as you want to? For example, if family members are required to travel more often or spend long days away from home, this can affect your pet’s daily routine. Pet sitters may be an option, of course, but it’s a good idea to confirm that’s a viable option while making your decision.
What is the quality of veterinary care in the host location? Do veterinarians speak your language? And are there facilities for more serious treatments available, in case your pet should need it?
Also keep in mind that attitudes vary. While some cultures embrace pets and make accommodations for their presence in public life, others make it difficult for you to bring an animal onto public transportation or to an outdoor restaurant, for example. Renters may encounter property owners who don’t allow pets; searching for one that does can take some extra time and effort.
Note that some dog breeds may not be imported into certain countries. These can include snub-nose breeds and larger dogs like Great Danes, Afghan Hounds, Neapolitan Mastiffs, and Rottweilers. Check with the pet import authority in the host country, and your airline, for any restrictions.
If all of the above leads you to believe your pet would be better off not travelling, what are your options for care while you’re away? A family member or friend may be willing and able to provide a comfortable home during your time abroad.
What you’ll need for transport
Once you do decide to bring your pet, what do you need to know?
At the very least, typical vaccinations must be up to date. Animal-threatening diseases such as rabies or leukeamia may be common in your host country, or admission procedures may be extremely rigorous.
Watch for very strict documentation, immunisation, and quarantine requirements. Most countries require some form of health certification and other documentation to accompany incoming pets. If required, a health certificate is prepared by an accredited veterinarian in your home country, in advance of travel. It states that your pet does not show signs of communicable disease, is healthy enough for travel, and has an up-to-date vaccination record.
Microchips are required by some countries; they contain data to identify the animal and contact information of the owner. While there is no worldwide standard, the ISO 11784/11785 are accepted standards in Asia, Australia, Europe, and parts of North America. Owners using different microchip standards may encounter difficulties with local readers.
Contact the consulate of your destination country and your transportation carrier for the most recent and complete pet-entry requirements and details of transportation conditions, including information about translating any required certificates. Another direct resource is the in-country authority which governs the import of pets. For example: the UK’s Department for Environment Food and Agriculture (DEFRA) and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment’s Department of Animal Resources in Qatar.
Companies specialising in transporting pets worldwide can also provide country-specific information. In addition to data on necessary health certification and other entry requirements, pet movers provide travel kennels that meet government and airline standards, air cargo routing and reservations, pick-up and delivery at the destination, and pre-flight boarding and port-of-entry services.
If you are not using a pet-moving company, contact the airline or carrier that will be transporting your pet. They should be able to provide you with country-specific, pet-entry requirements, as well as their own regulations that may vary from the general rule. The airline regulations often are not as strict if you are traveling on the same plane with your pet, whether your pet is in the cabin with you or being transported in the baggage compartment. Some employers include pet-moving expenses in corporate relocation programmes. Out-of-pocket expenses may, in some countries, be tax deductible for employees of companies that do not cover these costs.
You’ve arrived! Now what?
Moving to a country that requires quarantine means an extra delay before your pet can join you in your new home. Some quarantine facilities allow family visits, especially if the period of confinement is long. Again, consult the animal import authority in your host country to prepare for this ahead of time.
Once home, your pet will need some time to adjust. Dogs can benefit from short walks to help them explore new scents and acclimatise to new sounds, sights, and climate variants.
If possible, designate a place in your new home for your pet to claim as his or her own space. This can bring a sense of safety and calm amid what is likely to be a time of relative stress as your family settles into a foreign location. Have some toys or comfort items – like a blanket or stuffed animal – from home to keep some continuity. As much as possible, keep your pet’s diet the same as at home.
Just as family relationships often intensify when individuals are immersed in new experiences, so can your pet feel these changes. People – especially children – benefit from the calming effects of a pet close at hand. Likewise, the pet can be soothed by the closeness of family members. A winning combination for all involved!
Happy Kids = a Successful Relocation
Cindy Blanes, Early Childhood and Lower School Principal at ACS Egham International School
Happy kids = a successful relocation
Cindy Blanes, ACS Egham International School
A family relocation can create a wealth of opportunities for children, allowing them to develop new friendships and be exposed to different hobbies, but it can also be an unsettling period.
During a move, there can be a lot of uncertainty, with home, school and friends all changing. Often in these times, the parent-child relationship provides a stable foundation. Parents can help children feel more comfortable with the inevitable changes by making them feel involved during the transition.
This could mean finding creative ways to include them in family decisions by giving them an important job, like packing their toys and books or choosing items for their new bedroom. Including children in the moving process gives them a sense of ownership and helps to manage their expectations of what is to come.
Schools play a significant role in helping children adjust to their new environment and international schools, such as ACS, have ample experience and are ideally placed to support children moving between different counties, countries or continents.
At ACS, all campuses have dedicated, full-time school counsellors for each year group – Lower, Middle and High School. A large part of their role is working with new students to ensure that they hit the ground running – often a student’s ability to settle quickly into their new school determines the success of the moving period and impacts their own learning journey.
Counsellors will be in touch with new students before they join the school often matching them with a ‘buddy’ – a current student of a similar age or background. The new student and his or her buddy will correspond before joining ACS and the buddy will act as an ‘instant’ friend during those first few weeks of school. Student ambassadors and peer mentors also make sure that everyone has a friend to play with at break time, and someone to sit with at lunch.
Joining a sports teams or a drama group can be a great way for fresh students to meet new friends. ACS counsellors will help identify extra-curricular activities so that students can continue any hobbies they’re passionate about or develop new ones they might like to try.
Alongside teachers, counsellors also look to create activities to help new children integrate into their new classroom communities and host regular lunch groups with other students in the first few weeks providing new students with an open environment to make new pals.
There is also an open-door policy with all ACS counsellors, enabling new students to drop in whenever they feel they need to voice a concern or worry.
Allowing for an environment where young students are cared for during and after moving and reducing any worries they may have, can only benefit a child’s well-being and promote positive personal development.
The advantages to your family of moving home far outweighs the challenges, if that central component of their young lives – school – is a happy one.
How money is moving around the world: The Wealth Report 2019
Flora Harley, Senior Analyst, Knight Frank Research
The Wealth Report assesses the factors driving capital movements around the world and takes a detailed look at wealth flows from three major hubs.
Wealth flows are influenced by many factors, including economic and personal stability and preservation of wealth. Increasingly, governments around the world are targeting globally mobile wealth, albeit for a variety of different reasons. Some are actively enticing wealthy individuals to relocate with favourable tax regimes, while others are introducing overseas buyer taxation on residential purchases.
Italy, for example, has introduced a new fixed-rate tax payment of €100,000 on worldwide income for “non-domiciled” residents. Conversely, Singapore increased the foreign buyer stamp duty on residential property to 20% in July 2018. In England and Northern Ireland, a consultation on an overseas buyer’s taxation is scheduled to begin in January 2019.
The backdrop to all this is the increasingly footloose nature of wealth. Data from our Attitudes Survey indicates that 36% of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) already hold a second passport, up from 34% last year, with 26% planning to emigrate permanently, up from 21%.
However, growing economic risk in emerging markets could boost demand as money is channelled to safer havens. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered growth forecasts for emerging markets from 4.9% in 2018 and 5.1% in 2019 to 4.7% in both years due to heightened economic uncertainty and upheaval.
This concern is partly the outcome of trade tensions between the US and China, as well as a result of investors seeking higher returns and turning to currency speculation. As many citizens in these economies, including Indonesia and China, have previously witnessed stricter capital controls due to economic downturns, those who can may well be looking at options to keep their wealth globally mobile.
Even if liquidity can be maintained, confidentiality is becoming more difficult to guarantee in certain parts of the world. The EU, for example, followed the UK’s lead on transparency measures with the approval of a new Anti-Money Laundering Directive in May 2018. This introduces fully public registers of the beneficial ownership of companies throughout the EU. But this level of transparency is not finding universal favour: a number of countries in the union recognise the need for regulators to be informed, but not for information to be made public.
Focus on China
In the past two years, China’s tightening grip on capital outflows has cast a shadow over outbound investment. The introduction of stricter controls has been partly driven by concern over falling foreign reserves, which the government uses to maintain the value of its own currency. In the second half of 2016, China’s foreign currency reserve assets fell by US$203 billion as the result of exchange rate fluctuations from a raft of overseas acquisitions.
Across 2018, China’s foreign currency reserves fell by US$67 billion, although many of the declines seen in the earlier half of the year were beginning to reverse.
If the exchange rate, which on 11 January 2019 stood at 6.76 renminbi to the US dollar, falls further, this decline could be exacerbated, possibly leading to further restrictions on overseas investment by Chinese nationals.
Real estate is now classified as a “sensitive” sector, which means almost all investments into overseas property markets require stringent official approval, especially for large transactions. Despite this, Chinese buyers are still looking at familiar global markets such as London, Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong, all of which offer language advantages and immigration possibilities, as well as remaining outside any trade disputes.
The worsening of the trade relationship between China and the US may cause Chinese investors to shift their presence into other key markets. Indeed, there is already evidence for this: in the year to March 2018 there was a 4% decline in US transactions by buyers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan compared with the previous 12 months, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2018 report.
Real estate remains a significant wealth preservation asset class. Middle Eastern investors have been longstanding players in global real estate markets, in particular in the UK, Europe and US. Recently, this appetite for global geographic diversification has intensified due to the continued strength of the US dollar. Data from our Attitudes Survey shows that 29% of Middle Eastern UHNWIs increased their exposure to property in 2018.
Focus on India
India is witnessing a substantial rise in personal wealth. The country’s UHNWI population has grown by 30% in the past five years, fuelling an increased appetite for overseas real estate investments.
Indian buyers are typically attracted by world-class education opportunities for their children, new business ventures and stable investment returns. Coveted markets such as London, Melbourne and Dubai draw significant interest.
However, other markets, particularly in Cyprus, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are also proving popular. Despite the restrictions in place under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), there is a clear and growing interest from Indian nationals to invest abroad. The LRS permits each resident, as of May 2015, to remit up to US$250,000 overseas per financial year. Since the implementation of the higher limit, Indian residents have sent nearly US$30 billion overseas, with remittances up by 144% between the 2015/16 and 2017/18 financial years.
Focus on the Middle East
The spread of private wealth across the region is centred on the major Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia taking the top spot, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. While oil income boosts government revenues, the biggest source of wealth for the private sector have been the construction and financial services sectors.
Today these are prominent in the portfolio of Middle Eastern private billionaires, accounting for 23% and 15% respectively.
Given the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) social context, family businesses are the largest player in trading activities. In line with global trends, generational transition remains a challenge: just 7% of billionaire businesses survive to their fourth generation, and only 2% to their fifth. As a result, Middle Eastern families are increasingly turning their attention to generational planning to preserve the passage of wealth.
One consequence of this is that investment is increasingly outward-looking. Volatile oil revenues, regulatory changes such as Value Added Tax, geopolitical uncertainty and government investigations remain a key driver of outbound flows.
Real estate remains a significant wealth preservation asset class. Middle Eastern investors have been longstanding players in global real estate markets, in particular in the UK, Europe and US. Recently, this appetite for global geographic diversification has intensified due to the continued strength of the US dollar.
Knight Frank Middle East’s Wealth Intelligence team has mapped the requirements of private wealthy investors in the Middle East. At the end of 2018, there was an estimated $6.2 billion looking to be invested into commercial property alone, with a significant amount targeting the UK. London remains the top target destination, followed by other European cities like Berlin. This is driven by stability, transparency, liquidity, good returns and cost of debt. In terms of sectors, office and hospitality remain as preferred segments. However, following global trends and opportunities there is an increasing enthusiasm and consideration for more specialist sectors, such as healthcare, education and the private rented sector.
This article was first published in The Wealth Report 2019.
A new-look ACS is almost here
Get ready...for something new!
Look out for our new ACS brand – coming very soon.
ACS International Schools is now enjoying its 52nd year in operation and, while our name remains the same, our appearance will soon be changing.
You will notice some changes to the look of your next newsletter and of our website over the next few weeks.
We’re excited to share more details with you soon and look forward to the future, to ringing in a new era for ACS.
ACS Campus News Roundup
Get ready for our new look, and celebrate with our graduating students
Last month saw the end of school life for our Grade 12 students at all four of our schools. Doha was first on 30 May, followed by Egham, Hillingdon and Cobham the next day.
ACS Doha hosted its graduation ceremony at the Ritz Carlton, celebrating the achievements of 39 graduating students who will now broaden their horizons into further education.
The ceremony – which is the school’s fourth since opening in Doha in 2011 – was attended by parents, teachers, students, and members of the ACS Board from the UK, with Dr. Aisha Al-Obaidly, Director of Capacity Building at the Qatar National Research Fund, acting as the ceremony’s guest speaker for this year. The overarching theme of this year’s graduation ceremony was ‘ready’.
The ceremony was initiated by Robert Cody, Head of School, who said: “For the graduating class of 2019, think about the next significant moment in your life, do you know the time and place of that moment. Maybe? Maybe not. Many moments of dramatic change in your life will happen with minimal warning. So, you will need to be ready. Ready for whatever comes your way. Ready for happiness. Ready for challenges. Ready for the life you have always dreamed of.”
ACS Egham's 18th graduation featured 51 students from 17 nationalities. Around 450 family, friends, faculty and dignatories attended the reception in the Woodlee Sports Centre, which had been turned into a giant marquee.
Students gave speeches on their time at ACS Egham and pondered on what the world holds next for them. A number of awards were also handed out on the day including The Alderdice Citizenship Award. This award is of special significance, named after Egham’s first Head of School, the late Mrs Kay Alderdice. Recipients of this award display consideration, thoughtfulness and politeness towards each other and, by their actions, attitude and presence, help create a caring community. This year the award went to Habiba Arafah.
ACS Hillingdon School hosted its 39th ceremony, with 53 students graduating.
One of the awards presented on the day was the ECIS Award for International Understanding, which was presented to Filmon Tekle.
This award is presented to a student who is a good representative of their own country, has a positive attitude toward the life and culture of others and is able to converse in at least two languages. They need to be a contributing force in the life of the school, with the ability to bring differing people together in a sense of community, thus furthering the cause of international understanding.
136 students officially completed either the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme or the Advanced Placement Programme.
A number of awards were presented on the day including The Founders' Award, which was presented to Samuel Philipson. This is given to a student who has demonstrated excellent academic achievement, consistent involvement in extra-curricular activities and school life, service to others and school leadership.
The keynote guest speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony was Ben Cohen, MBE – former Northampton and England rugby union player. He now runs the Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation to combat homophobia and bullying.
His advice to the graduating class was to persevere. Whenever life gets you down or you think you can’t do something – keep going. You can do whatever you set your mind to so never give up.
US art scholarship recognises Filmon's talent
A student from ACS Hillingdon was awarded a scholarship to study at the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), based in Georgia, United States.
Filmon Teckle, aged 17, will spend his first year at SCAD’s renowned Hong Kong campus.
As part of the SCAD application process, Filmon was required to submit 20 different artworks from his impressive portfolio, developed while studying for the International Baccalaureate Diploma, taking art, physics and psychology. At face value this is perhaps an unusual subject combination but it has served his art portfolio well, as Filmon explains:
"My IB studies encourage an exploration of connections between things and there are numerous connections to be found between science and art,” he said.
Asil Al-Shammari, ACS Hillingdon’s University and College Counsellor, encouraged Filmon to pursue his artistic ambitions and helped him with his applications.
“I can’t stress enough how supportive and important this help was,” said Filmon. “Our counsellors have a very broad knowledge of institutions and courses which really helps you appreciate the vast range of options to explore.”
By Andrew J Kittell
Follow Andrew on Twitter or LinkedIn
School's out for Summer
While our day and boarding students are visiting friends and family the world over this summer, ACS Cobham will soon welcome highly deserving and academically achieving high school sudents from across the US for the all-scholarship British Studies Summer Programme (British Studies).
This is the first year British Studies will include students entirely funded by an ACS alumnus. Two students are joining the programme from Grand Rapids, Michigan courtesy of Brian Kujala, Cobham ’98, and his wife Keri. This is a model we look forward to expand in 2020 and beyond.
To learn more about British Studies, please CLICK HERE
Forum for Expatriate Management Americas Summit
In late-May, ACSers attended the Forum for Expatriate Management’s Americas Summit (FEM) in downtown Dallas, Texas. Top of the agenda topics shared during FEM by expert panel members and individual presenters included:
Rapid changes in immigration law within the Americas and the harsh penalties for non-compliance
The continuing evolution of assignments favoring shorter-term engagements and potentially high risk business travelers and other “shadow assignments”
Machine learning, data sciences, and still-emerging Artificial Intelligence tools that will support assignments and free Global Mobility professionals to focus on strategic/higher-value issues.
Cost cutting to a point, realizing that the global war for talent is very real and that employees and their families need to be supported, including international-style schooling were imperative.
Look out for ACS on the road in 2019
For over 25 years, ACS has remained active in the Global Mobility industry as a thought leader advising on how to best support families in international transition. Our team members regularly present at industry-leading conference, contributing significantly to the same.
ACS remains the only international school to ever serve on Worldwide ERC’s Global Workforce Symposium Planning Committee (now three times). This commitment to sharing best practice in whole-family relocation support continues.
Please look for ACSers at North America’s two leading talent mobility-focused conferences:
September 15-17, 2019
Canadian Employee Relocation Council Conference
Niagara Falls, Ontario
October 16-18, 2019
Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium
More details about these events and other ACS North American Office 2019 travel commitments will be announced via LinkedIn and Twitter.
Profile: Patricia Tavares
Patricia Tavares, Unilever Global Mobility Lead Americas
Few in Global Mobility ever envisioned their careers. Fewer still thoughtfully prepared for the role as young children.
In many ways, Brazil-born Patricia Tavares is the exception that should be the rule. At least she wholeheartedly identifies with the challenges families face in international transition. It’s her story, too.
With a father employed by the United Nations, Patricia’s schooling was of the international sort. She explains, “I was brought up in international schools. Having studied in Italy and in Uruguay and Chile gave me fluency in several languages besides Portuguese and English. This of course has been a big help in my Global Mobility career.”
But these weren’t the only lessons Patricia learned abroad. She comments on the added value of her earlier years, “Having learned so many languages is something I value, but learning to understand cultural differences on three continents is also something I apply in the relationships I develop today, particularly when dealing with Unilever assignees from around the world.”
It’s this daily interaction with her international colleagues that makes Patricia’s work at Unilever’s Americas hub so enjoyable. “I love the cultural diversity, the number of people you meet, and knowing that I’m helping a family settle in the best way, meaning I have a positive impact on this family both personally and professionally,” she adds.
Not every day’s a perfect one for most Global Mobility professionals. Patricia encounters the same challenges facing most leaders in our industry. Regional barriers to cross-border relocation top her list with immigration reforms and currency devaluation being first of mind in Latin America (LATAM).
A lifelong learner, Patricia keeps informed and up-to-date by attending industry conferences, often presenting individually or with expert panels. She’s also a LATAM leader for the Forum for Expatriate Management. Patricia finds personal and professional inspiration by constantly learning from others and studying how to develop better ways to serve her Unilever colleagues in transition.
From this industry-leading perspective, Patricia’s developed an informed opinion about what’s next. She shares that view, “I believe that technology is on its way, with AI-enhanced systems for assignment management, including bots to reduce response time in dealing with transferees’ doubts and questions. But no matter what’s ahead, we cannot forget that as Mobility professionals we’re dealing with people. The human touch will always be fundamental to success.”
Patricia has a few suggestions for people new to our industry, and a friendly warning, “If you’re bitten by the “mobility bug,” then you’ll never manage to leave us. Prepare yourself for a lifetime career. Relationships, open communication, employee satisfaction, supporting families in transition, and enhancing lives and professional journeys will all be in your hands, so you really have to love what you do.”
When Patricia’s not doing the work she loves at Unilever, she seeks a little excitement outside the office. OK, a lot of excitement. She enjoys open-water swims and doesn’t mind adventure in the sky. Just take a look of the inset photo of Patricia taken a few weeks ago while she was tandem paragliding over Cape Town, South Africa!
Hello Cape Town!
Patricia impresses friends and colleagues with her adventure pursuits, but also by recounting her early life and her home-work-home commute. She concludes, “People are always surprised when I share how I was brought up. As an expat daughter, I left Brazil when I was only four months old, returning when I was 16, and studying in international schools until 11th grade. In many ways, I’ve never stopped traveling. I currently commute every week between Sao Paulo and my hometown of Curitiba, about a six-hour drive each way. You need to be dedicated and strong to manage a weekly commute like that. I love it.”
Dedicated and strong are definitely two words most would use in describing Patricia Tavares. And always surprising.
UK relo round up
By Caroline Breeds
Follow Caroline on LinkedIn and Twitter
Out and about with Caroline Breeds
I recently attended the annual EuRA conference in Munich. It's grown in size, now hosting 700 global delegates to discuss the future of global mobility and identify opportunities for growth and innovation.
Highlights of the conference included meeting with many different relocation professionals and listening to some superb speakers over the course of the conference, prompting thought-provoking conversations. I look forward to learning more about the ever-changing industry and meeting new delegates at next year’s EuRA conference in Seville.
Earlier this year we were delighted to welcome many of you to our relocation event at our Cobham campus. As always, it was well attended by relocation professionals and we were thrilled to welcome our guest speaker, Louise Wiles author of Thriving Abroad, representing FIGT (Families in Global Transition).
We look forward to hosting our next event in December at our Hillingdon campus. More details to follow!
My colleague Christina Decu, Dean of Admissions at ACS Hillingdon, and I enjoyed networking at the recent ReLocate awards at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. A great opportunity to celebrate different achievements from the relocation sector, this year’s winners were located in the UK, as well as other global destinations including a relocation service company from India. Many congratulations to all of this year’s winners!
I will be attending Stirling Ackroyd and Townends Relocation services launch taking place in London later this month. I am also really looking forward to the ARP dinner also taking place in June, good luck to all those who have been shortlisted.
If you have not visited one of our campus locations recently please do get in contact, we can arrange a date for the new academic year.
I look forward to seeing you soon.