You lined up a great job in sunny Australia, your visas are in your hands, the house is sold and the family is excited about the prospects of starting a great life with wonderful opportunities. But the ‘admin’ seems to be a bit of a mountain you have to conquer. Let’s face it there is a lot to do before you can get on that Australian flight.
A year to immigration:
Start obeying the South African speed limit and road rules. Too many speeding fines will see you losing your driver's license.
Make certified copies of all important documents (passports, visas, ID books, birth certificates etc) and leave it with a reliable friend or family member. Even better yet, have it scanned and leave a copy of the disk - take the other one on the plane with you.
Six months to immigration:
Set up a free email account like Gmail and start using it before you leave.
Make the decision whether or not you will continue paying your policies (Life Insurance, Annuities etc) from Australia.
Close your store, hire purchase and credit card accounts.
Update your Last will and Testament and leave a copy with a reliable friend/family member.
Three months to immigration:
Change postal address of all accounts to a reliable friend or family member. Don’t forget Dstv, your city council, security company, insurance, your bank, all accounts and
Get a reference letter from your short term insurance detailing your no claim bonus etc.
Give a reliable person general or specific power of attorney to attend to your business on your behalf. Make sure they have details of all your bank accounts, policy numbers, contact persons etc. As well as copies of all important documents.The banks require a special POA and do not accept a general one.
Take the whole family for a medical check-up, have their eyes tested, go to the dentist, get that filling etc. Dental and optometry is very expensive.
Inform your tax consultant that you are leaving. He will still have to complete a tax return for you for the current tax year.
Go to the AA travel shop and buy some South African to Australia or New Zealand plug adapters and pop them in your hand luggage!
Cancel all membership debit orders etc that won't continue. Remember your cell phone and internet service provider contracts
Sell your cars.
One month to immigration:
Get a reference letter and client code from your bank.
Give bank Power of Attorney to a trusted person. This allows them to conduct banking transactions on your behalf etc.
If you don't already have internet banking, get it set up and test it.
Cancel Telephone account (Do this in writing and keep proof - applies to all cancellations)
Get all you kid's immunizations up to date and have it recorded on their immunization cards. (To attend day care and school in Australia it has to be up to date).
Get a reference letter for your family if you were involved in volunteer work. Volunteering is big in Australia and if you were involved in volunteering, it goes a long way - also, when you want to get involved again in Australia, you will need references.
Back-up everything on your computer (photos, documents, inbox, sent items etc) and take the CD's or removable hard drive with you on the plane.
Leave your flight details, first accommodation details etc with a family member/friend.
Also leave the details of your next of kin with this person.
Write this person's contact details in the back of your passport.
Get transfer cards from your kid's schools and their latest report cards or a progress report.
Get reference letters from your kid's activities e.g. ballet report, etc - this will assist in placing them in the right group when they take it up here. If your child performed in anything, get proof. You WILL need it!
Get the contents of your medical files from all your doctors and specialists. Saves you from going through the whole process again. If you have a special condition, let the doctor write a letter. If you have contacts or glasses, get your script.
Get scripts for all medication your family is currently using - especially chronic. You can bring 3 month's prescription medication if you have a written script. Take it on the plane with you in case your container is delayed etc.
You do not need an international driver's license but make sure that RSA driver's license is not about to expire. You will require a current RSA license is conversion.
Pay your UIF and de-register. Give your employees their UIF documents as well as a letter that they no longer work for you. Pay them their last salary, notice pay, leave and pro rata bonuses. Keep proof.
Help the older members of family set up Skype before you leave. Buy them a microphone for their computer as a gift.
Take photographs of everyone and everything, your friends, family, the neighbours, your pets, the kid's friends. This is all you will have of your life in South Africa. It may not seem important now, but when your kids, or grandchildren one day, want to know what life was like, you'll have more than enough visual memories to share.
Arrange your transport to the airport.
Pack all your visas, passports, identification documents and travel money in a safe place. Store certified copies of every document in two other separate locations and give a close family member a set too.