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Bigger Price Tag to Relocate to UK Come December

LONDON: The United Kingdom (UK) government is set to double the immigration health surcharge (IHS) on 1 December 2018, making it even more expensive for South Africans to relocate. The surcharge allows anyone in the UK on a work, study or family visa for longer than 6 months to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as UK citizens.

“While individual applicants for the UK’s increasingly popular ancestral visa are currently required to pay £1,000 (about R19,000) upfront to cover their 5-year settlement period, come 1 December 2018 they will need to fork out £2,000 (about R38,000) for the same IHS,” says Ryan Rennison, managing director of UK visa solutions experts, Move Up.

“This radical cost increase could be a barrier to South Africans being able to afford to immigrate to the UK,” he adds.

Rennison says the company has seen a 22% increase in South Africans interested in relocating to the UK over the past two years. He lists the strength of the pound sterling, access to cheaper travel opportunities, a high-functioning government and political stability as the main reasons South Africans cite for wanting to leave. Better job opportunities, increased earning potential and access to better education for children are other factors at play in most people’s decision to move.

UK Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes, said that while the government welcomes long-term migrants using the NHS, it is a national, not international health service. According to Nokes it is right that immigrants make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability.

“The extra money raised will go directly towards sustaining and protecting our world-class health-care system,” she says.

To assist ancestral visa applicants to beat the IHS price hike, Move Up is offering an expedited service for ‘last minute’ cases lodged between 1 – 20 November 2018. Applicants specifically wanting to avoid the massive IHS price increase will be able to do so at a 40% higher case fee, while cases lodged up until 31 October will still fall under Move Up’s highly competitive standard rates. Applicants are also urged to try Move Up’s free birth certificate assessment to prevent delays around visa applications.

For more information regarding UK visa applications, visit or call 021 761 4608.




Contact Anago Marketing with your public relations, marketing and media needs. 

Marrying Mr Darcy: Practical Tips for Wedding an Englishman

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” – William Shakespeare

While it is incredibly romantic, getting engaged to a foreigner comes with some practical challenges. Many South Africans don’t realise that being able to live – and work – in the same place as your British spouse can be a long and rocky road if you aren’t properly informed.

Sibs (29) recently got engaged to Robert (32) – her long distance boyfriend in Manchester, England. They spent their 2-year dating period taking extended holidays to visit each other every few months after neither could get working visas, which would have allowed them to live in the same city while dating. “We spent months investigating our options before getting engaged, because the rules around spousal visas can be tricky,” says Sibs.

“In SA, when you marry a foreigner they aren’t allowed to work right away unless they already have the correct visa and, astonishingly, it can take a very long time to get a spousal visa. In this economy that is a huge strain for most couples who rely on a dual income to get by,” she adds.

If you have fallen for your own Englishman (or woman), we’ve put together a handy guide from the experts to help ensure you live happily ever after – as soon as possible.



“While it’s tempting to believe that a marriage registered in the UK will make your UK settlement visa easier to obtain, it’s simply not true,” says Ryan Rennison, director of SA’s favourite UK immigration visa specialists, Move Up.  According to Rennison, South Africans can have a difficult time getting permission to marry in the UK, while settlement visa applications with a marriage already registered in South Africa are better received.

Leading local immigration lawyer, Craig Smith, says that for couples wanting to reside temporarily in South Africa, Home Affairs offers a temporary spousal visa granting foreign applicants permission to live in the country for 3 years with work, business or study endorsements.

“The downside is that, if not married, a spousal visa can only be applied after the relationship is proved with 2 years’ worth of financial evidence of sharing resources. If you are married then you are not required to produce financial evidence and can immediately apply,” he adds.

Couples married or in a permanent relationship of 5 years or more can obtain permanent residence: Smith recommends that applicants apply for the spousal visa and permanent residence concurrently. While standard South African permanent residence can take up to 2 years to process, with extreme cases taking even longer, elevated interventions like court visits can reduce delays.


Insider Tip:

The advantage of marrying someone from the UK is that their spousal settlement visas are usually processed within 3 months. This means Sibs and Robert can easily begin the first few years of their married lives in Manchester, with the option to apply for Robert’s South African spousal visa after 5 years.  Visit for expert assistance with your UK settlement visa applications.



Another factor to consider is cost. Recently relocated from Cape Town to London, former wedding planner and Lovely Pretty wedding blogger Kelly Hartmann says a South African wedding is far cheaper to host than one in the UK – and prettier too, “A South African wedding offers unbeatable views and a range of world-class suppliers who create Pinterest-worthy weddings – all at comparatively cheap pricing.”


Insider Tip:

Don’t forget that it’s also cheaper for UK-based wedding guests to visit South Africa than the other way around. Visit for wedding venues and accommodation to suit your pocket.



The UK’s Home Office has put strict procedures in place to prevent fraudulent marriages from happening.  Applying for your settlement visa from your country of residence is one of the rules.

“Settlement visa applicants should take note that they cannot change their visa status while in the UK – they will need to travel back to their country of residence to apply for the new visa” says Rennison. “From that perspective it makes sense to apply for your UK settlement visa as soon as possible after your wedding in South Africa,” he adds.

Insider Tip:

Getting married on paper (legally) in South Africa three to four months before your ‘white wedding’ will allow you to apply immediately for a settlement visa so that you won’t have to be apart for even one day come the honeymoon.



Along with application safeguards, Home Affairs (SA) and the UK Home Office will (immediately or down the road) require significant proof of a monogamous, long-term relationship.

Claire (32) met and married a British citizen in Cape Town, moving to Scotland with her husband a few years later. They were required to produce documentation proving they lived at the same address (e.g. utility bills or homeloan statements in both their names), date-stamped pictures of them together and even a paper trail of email correspondence and transcripts of WhatsApp messages to one another.

“On chatting to friends in the same position we discovered that, for some couples, even sworn affidavits from friends confirming the authenticity of the relationship are required,” says Claire. “The bottom line is that the sooner you start collecting this information, the better!”

Insider Tip:

What most couples don’t know is that as the foreign spouse you have to earn above a certain amount to qualify for the visa. Visit the UK government’s website for basic settlement visa information.



Further coverage of this article:

Love is… Bruidsgids & Wedding Guide Blog

W24 – Drum Magazine

5 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Christmas in London

While you may think it’s too early to start planning your Christmas break, if you’re hoping to pop over to London in December and you’re on a budget, now is the time to start. Even though we can’t guarantee you’ll get snow, we can help you squeeze every ounce of value out of your stay.



Even if you’re only going for a few weeks, the United Kingdom offers a standard 6-month tourist visa to holiday-makers. There is a significant amount of documentation you need to supply, so make sure you apply for your visa approximately 1 month before your departure to allow for enough time for the visa’s processing and any unforeseen ‘whoopsies’.

Insider Tip
For assistance with a smooth UK visa application process visit Move Up ( They can assist with all UK visa types and even promise a money-back guarantee.



You may have to fly economy class, but here’s how you can economise even further on your flights. December and January are considered ‘high season’, which means flights are in demand and can be sold for higher prices. The golden rule of savings on flight bookings: the earlier you buy your tickets, the cheaper they’ll be.

Insider Tip and are 2 of our favourite websites for finding low-cost international flights. (Pssst! Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are usually the cheapest high season days to fly).



Who says you have to pay through the nose for overseas accommodation? Remember watching the romantic Christmas movie, The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Dias? If you own your own home or your landlord doesn’t mind you subletting, you might consider doing a house swap this Christmas. Just sign up, pay a registration fee, create a profile, browse your options then get in touch with the owners. If you can’t find a perfect date match for a swap, you can always spend some credits on a one-sided arrangement. Check out for some exciting options!

Insider Tip
You can also sign up to be a house- or pet-sitter and stay overseas – for free! This option also requires registering with your preferred website, paying a registration fee and finding a suitable match.



Next to flights and accommodation, your daily transport costs can make a big dent in your budget. Hiring a car for all-day sightseeing outside of London will give you some independence, but the beloved oyster card will be your most useful asset within the city. An oyster card allows you to travel on the underground, overland trains or city busses without the hassle of carrying cash. Just purchase and top your oyster card up at your nearest train station, then tap it on the designated spot as you pass through the turnstiles or step onto a bus.

Insider Tip
We can’t decide which is more useful: the Citymapper app that compares London travel routes, methods and prices; or Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app for top-notch, guided walking tours of London.


The oldest centre of culture in the English-speaking world, from quirky restaurants and jaw-dropping art exhibitions to the world’s best theatrical productions, in London you’ll find a variety of entertainment, tours and museums to tickle your fancy. Make sure you watch at least one of these celebrated productions: Wicked, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Lion King or Mathilda. Entry-level tickets start at approximately £25 (R500). Book early to secure your spot.

Insider Tip
If you head to Trafalgar Square at 13:00 on week days you can take in a world-class classical music concert held at St Martin in the Fields. There’s no entrance fee, but they do accept donations towards maintaining their beautiful, old church. See their concert schedule.



More Coverage of Our Media Release for Move Up:

All 4 Women

IOL Travel




SA Set to Break Emigration Record in 2018


Experts predict that 2018 will be the year South Africans break their own emigration record. Ryan Rennison, managing director of UK visa solutions experts, Move Up, says that they’ve seen a 22% increase in South Africans interested in relocating to the United Kingdom (UK) over the past two years. That figure is expected to increase dramatically on the back of President Ramaphosa’s recent announcement on changes to the constitution, which will allow land expropriation without compensation. Rennison lists the strength of the pound sterling, access to cheaper travel opportunities, a high-functioning government and political stability as the main reasons South Africans cite for wanting to leave. Better job opportunities, increased earning potential and access to better education for children are other factors at play in most people’s decision to move.

The last record-breaking year for emigration in South Africa was 2015. According to the latest available statistics published in The Telegraph in 2016, the UK is ranked fifth in the world for its number of immigrant citizens. “With the UK now one of the most desirable places to live in the world, unless you have clear ancestral rights to live in the UK, it can be very difficult to move there permanently,” says Rennison who has worked with over 3,400 South Africans over the last 10 years to help them relocate to the United Kingdom. While changes to immigration legislation in the UK occur frequently, without the correct documentation and know-how, applying for the correct visa can be a cumbersome and frustrating process to undertake. According to Rennison, the total number of visa applications Move Up has processed over the last year has also increased by 42%. “The total number of cases Move Up represented during the 12-month period from October 2016 to September 2017 has already been met in the last 8 months (October 2017 to June 2018),” he says. Rennison adds that individuals who want to relocate to the UK, but who do not qualify for ancestral visas or British passports, have several other visa options they can explore. The UK government recently expressed interest in attracting people with special skills into the country including doctors, nurses, fashion designers and film and television professionals. Highly skilled individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, digital technology and the arts are already on their priority list.

American think tank, the PEW Institute, reports that over 900,000 people have left South Africa since 1990. At the same time over four million people have immigrated to South Africa, mostly from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya and the DRC. According to the StatsSA’s Community Survey 2016, while Australia was the number one destination for South African emigrants (26%), the UK came a close second with 25% of all South African emigrants heading to the British islands between 2006 and 2016.

For more information visit or call 021 761 4608



LISTEN:  Radio 702’s Charlotte Kilbane spoke to Jonty Leon, a legal and financial manager at Financial Emigration, to discuss Move Up’s latest statistics.

READ the Zululand Observer ‘s coverage of the media release here.

READ:  Business Tech cover the story.

READ:  The South African Reflects on the 702 Interview

READ:  South Coast Herald


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