Why You Should Consider Making a Move to Guernsey.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs….then you might want to consider making a move to an island that stands apart from the UK’s Brexit troubles, but is just a short hop from London.
Guernsey is emerging as the sensible option for anyone who wants to maintain links to Europe and the UK but who is seeking a stable environment within which to do business and live well.
The world is in a state of flux. How Britain will cope in a post-Brexit era is unknown; America has a president that can destabilise his country’s foreign policy with a single tweet, and other offshore jurisdictions are at the centre of more scandal.
The European economy is on the up – except for Britain, where fears about the unknown effect of the country’s exit from the European Union are having an adverse effect on business and consumer confidence.
Meanwhile, in the 25 square miles of Guernsey, little has changed. The island already sits outside of the EU, with no VAT, little or no corporation tax and a generous tax cap.
If you are considering a move away from the UK, but don’t want to head into the unknown or stray far from the City of London and the European finance strongholds, then Guernsey is worth considering.
Here are 10 reasons to consider a move to the Bailiwick of Guernsey:
1. Progressive but Stable Tax Regime
There are no complicated non-dom rules, and no fear that Guernsey will introduce such a regime. In fact, from 2018 a reduced tax cap of £50,000 for new residents buying in the Open Market will be available. This will be applied in the year of arrival and the three subsequent years, providing a document duty of £50,000 or more has been paid.
There is no inheritance tax and anyone who needs to spend time off island can do and still pay tax in Guernsey as long as they are on island for a certain number of days per year.
The island’s progressive tax regime has increased personal allowance by £500 to £10,500 per person.
Guernsey’s corporate tax regime has undergone no significant changes since 2007 when Zero-10 was introduced. Certain regulated businesses are charged a company tax rate of 10%.
2. An Established EU Neighbour
Guernsey has never been part of the EU, but there is a formal relationship between the Channel Islands and the EU, and the island can trade with Europe as if it were part of the EU.
So, Guernsey effectively has established a relationship that means the island has a positive relationship with the EU but is outside of its non-customs and trade-related laws. The island has complete autonomy but close access to its neighbours; it is not bound by Europe’s employment or free movement laws. You could say the island has already achieved what the British government is trying so hard to negotiate for the UK….
3. Easy to Make the Move
Guernsey’s approach to immigration is refreshingly simple and is based on a two-tier housing market. Those moving to the island can purchase an Open Market house, which automatically gives them the right to work and stay as long as they wish.
Open Market properties are priced slightly higher than the Local Market, but not extortionately so, and there is plenty of variety of housing stock to choose from across the island’s 10 parishes.
From rambling 16th- century stone farmhouses to modern ‘lock ‘n’ leave’ apartments with a sea view in the pretty town of St Peter Port, there is something for most budgets and tastes.
4. Immigration for Non-EU Citizens is Fuss-Free
Guernsey has several simple options for non-EU passport holders and a dedicated government team to help people make the move. The Investor Immigration route and Entrepreneur Immigration options mean non-EU passport holders can live in Guernsey’s Open Market either by investing in the island or by buying or establishing a business in the island.
Investor Visa route – Applicant must have £1m available and under their control, with a requirement to invest £750,000 for the benefit of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Entrepreneur Visa route – Requirement to invest £200,000 in a new or existing Guernsey company which the applicant will manage themselves.
5. Economic and Political Stability
In Guernsey, you can make direct contact with your local politician; you might even bump into him or her in the local supermarket. Elections are held every four years and the only recent changes saw a reduction in the number of Deputies to help streamline the political system.
The political system might be stable, but it isn’t backward; like any government, the States of Guernsey has a clear policy plan in place. Known as Future Guernsey, the plan sets out a vision for the island in 20 years’ time and business, government and community have closer links than are seen in most other jurisdictions.
It is also worth noting that for the financial year to the end of March 2017, the UK deficit was £52bn. In 2017, the States of Guernsey recorded a budget surplus of £9 million. This meant a transfer to the island’s investment reserves could be made.
6. Buying a Property is Fast and Fuss-Free
In the UK, conveyancing to buy a house can take up to three months, whereas in Guernsey the average time it takes to complete a property purchase is six to eight weeks. Buyers need an advocate to act on their behalf. Once the purchase offer is accepted, an ‘operative date’ is set when the conditions of sale are signed. A completion date will be set at that time and in Guernsey, buyers attend court to complete the purchase.
7. First-Class Health and Education
Guernsey follows much of what is so good about Great Britain. The island has a first-class healthcare system that is paid for but subsidised by the States of Guernsey through social security payments. Secondary healthcare is free, and the island’s health community follows the UK’s health excellence guidelines. It is also good to know that Guernsey medical staff must be members of globally respected bodies such as the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council.
The island’s state education system is undergoing a transformation, while the private schools on the island all have an excellent reputation. Young people can take the International Baccalaureate, GCSEs and A-levels and while many travel to the UK for university, there are further education options available on the island.
8. Global Finance Standards
The recent wave of negative attention on the offshore finance industry has highlighted that not all jurisdictions are the same when it comes to integrit
y and transparency.
Guernsey is perceived by finance industry experts as a stable and forward-thinking regime. The island has always adopted international initiatives such as the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard.
MONEYVAL, a body of the Council of Europe, assessed Guernsey’s finance regulations against the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and was awarded the highest standard of any jurisdiction so far assessed.
Guernsey is one of the few places to regulate trust and corporate services providers and was among the first to do so, in 2000. The new Beneficial Ownership register is another example of Guernsey’s early adoption of the highest standards of transparency.
9. Easy Access to the UK and Beyond
There are nine routes to and from the UK, and around 14 flights daily. Residents enjoy easy access to France via St Malo, and the island is committed to flying to Gatwick, giving onward access to 228 destinations in 74 countries around the world.
The island is seen as being an essential part of the City of London and as a Crown Dependency islanders share the UK’s currency and time zones.
10. Island Life is the Good Life
There are many, many reasons to make a move to Guernsey but, above and beyond the favourable tax rates and stable political system, the three islands that make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey are a beautiful and healthy place to live.
Local crime rates are low. The most recent figures show that overall reported crime has gone down in Guernsey, this is in stark contrast to the figures from across the Channel. Latest reports there show a 10% rise in crime in England and Wales, with an 18% increase in violent crime.
The 64 km coastline offers rugged beauty and soft sandy beaches. The community has a thriving sports and wellbeing culture, 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, London-standard restaurants and a calm beauty that quickly steals your heart.
While the UK is floundering over Brexit and giving mixed messages to those at the higher end of the income bracket, Guernsey is an island of calm in troubled waters.