Top 10 things to plan
Finding a new job is just the beginning when planning on returning home to Ireland. There are other areas which need to be addressed
High-quality home broadband requires a monthly contract either for a landline or a mobile and it is best to plan ahead for this as soon as you know where you are going to live. Photograph: iStock
It’s no secret that housing costs in Ireland are rising rapidly. This means rents and house prices will continue to escalate even while people are in the process of planning their move home. “Make sure you’ve done your research and set a realistic budget for where you’d like to live,” advises Rebecca Brown of recruitment agency CPL. “Use services like Daft or MyHome to identify options and reach out to landlords. Make sure you have one or two references from previous landlords, including your overseas accommodation, as many landlords will require both references and proof of employment.”
Getting things like electricity and gas bills put into your name can be anything but straightforward. Planning ahead is essential. Find out from the utility providers what they require in terms of proof of identity, deposits and so on. The same applies to cable and satellite TV providers. Also, be prepared for a shock when it comes to the bills –Ireland is a lot more expensive than many other countries when it comes to energy and other utility costs. Make sure to budget for that and for a hefty upfront bill if your new home has oil-fired central heating.
Telephone and internet
It will usually not be possible to get your old mobile or landline telephone number back on returning to Ireland. Some particularly far-sighted people get around this by converting their Irish mobile to a pay-as-you-go phone before leaving and topping it up from time to time while they are away. If this is not an issue, you can get a new pay-as-you-go phone set up within minutes either online or by dropping into one of the many retail outlets offering phones. Broadband can be a different issue – high-quality home broadband requires a monthly contract either for a landline or a mobile and it is best to plan ahead for this as soon as you know where you are going to live.
Irish people will generally have a PPS number before they return home. However, they will still need to get a tax credit certificate if they want to avoid being subject to emergency tax of up to 41 per cent on their entire earnings. A tax credit certificate outlines the tax credits and reliefs you are entitled to. You can get a tax credit certificate by completing a 12A form and sending it to your local district revenue office. The form is available to download from www.revenue.ie.
Money laundering and other criminal activities have led to quite stringent rules being applied to the opening of new bank accounts. To open a new account in Ireland, you need to go into a bank branch in person with photo identification such as a valid passport or driver’s licence as well as proof of address such as a utility bill which has your name on it and which is less than three months’ old. This may not be that easy for a returned emigrant. It will be at least a month before you get a utility bill with your name on it, for example. Banks will sometimes accept a letter from an employer to confirm their employee’s details and bona fides. Call the bank beforehand to see if they will accept this. The best solution is to keep your Irish bank account open while you are abroad.
One of the biggest headaches faced by returning emigrants is the stratospheric cost of motor insurance. Driving experience abroad tends not to be taken into account by the insurance companies and people can face bills of thousands of euro in their first year. The good news is that the insurance companies are working on this and the best advice is to shop around well in advance of your return to Ireland. You also need to pay attention to your driving licence. If you have one from another EU member state, you can continue to drive on it as long as it is valid. However, licences from outside Europe have to be exchanged for an Irish licence as soon as you take up normal residence here. Where exchange is not possible, you’ll have to apply to do the driving test again here.
This is another major shock to the system for people returning from countries like the UK, where there is universal free healthcare at the point of care, or Australia, where citizens are covered by universal health insurance. Returning emigrants need to budget for the cost of GP care as well as private cover if they do not want to be subject to long waiting lists in the public system.
Emigrants returning home with children need to plan ahead for their education. There are waiting lists for most primary schools in urban areas and many apply strict admission criteria for children in their catchment areas as a consequence. Getting names down for preferred schools well before coming home is advisable.
Childcare is another service where demand frequently outstrips supply. The advice from many returning emigrants is to ask family and friends in Ireland to help out with this and to get your child’s name down for a suitable creche or Montessori school as soon as possible. If your child is aged between six months and 36 months and is enrolled in Tusla-registered childcare, you are eligible for a non means-tested universal childcare subsidy of up to €20 a week. Your child may continue to receive the universal subsidy until they commence their Early Childhood and Care and Education (ECCE) free pre-school care. If your child is under six months old, you may qualify for a means-tested childcare subsidy of up to €145 a week. The ECCE scheme provides early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. Children are eligible for the ECCE scheme if they are aged over three years and not older than 5½ years. To establish if your child is eligible for either of these schemes, go to affordablechildcare.ie.
Bringing it all back home
Bringing furniture, clothes and other possessions home can be an expensive business, particularly if you are returning from Australia or the US. Shipping costs can be prohibitive and there may also be import duties to pay on items which you can’t prove you have owned for longer than six months. The advice from other returned emigrants is to be quite ruthless and unemotional and sell what you can, ditch what you can, and only bring back those items which are absolutely essential.