Briefing papers

We’ve realised over the years that many overseas mission workers lack current information about key practical issues that affect them, their finances, or their UK property and investments.  Many of us are somewhat unworldly and have not paid much attention to these issues even before going to serve God abroad, and while we are abroad it is hard to keep up with developments.  Our sending agencies can be reluctant to keep us up to date as they don’t want to run the risk of giving bad advice, or acquiring a legal liability for the actions of their members.

Since it’s unlikely that many of us will have access to our own professional advisors, Syzygy is in the ongoing process of producing and maintaining some briefing notes to help with this situation.  We’d like to acknowledge the help of our various professional advisers in putting these together, and we would like to warn readers that these notes are designed to make you aware of the general situations, and are not our advice for specific situations.

Our briefing papers currently cover the following issues, just click on the orange link below:

  • Accessing NHS services.   Much confusion lies around the right of British overseas mission workers to access NHS services when they are back in the UK for a short visit.  Here’s the truth!
  • Immigration for non-UK partners of British citizens.  Mission workers frequently marry people of a different nationality whom they have met overseas.  However, current legislation means they may not be able to return permanently to live in the UK with their partner.
  • Letting out property.  When planning to serve God abroad, one of the decisions we have to make is what to do with our houses.   We consider the pros and cons.
  • National Insurance Contributions.  Failure to pay NICs can compromise or limit a citizen’s right to receive state benefits, though few mission workers know exactly what they should do to maintain their entitlement.
  • Personal pension planning.  The basic state pension is not very much, so to be able to have a reasonable income on retirement, we need to explore ways of boosting it.  
  • UK state pensions.  Protecting your entitlement to the state pension is important, and people don’t always realise that their lifestyle choices may affect the amount of money they get once they retire.  
  • UK taxation and the Statutory Residence Test.  For British people working abroad, tax is actually quite a big issue.  There’s a lot of confusion about what rights and obligations we have, and how we go about making sure we don’t pay tax we don’t need to.  It’s a complex subject, and each situation is different, based on your own personal circumstances.
  • UK university admissions. The standard understanding around the world is that you have to return to live in the UK for three years in order to establish the right to get your kids into university, but this is not strictly true.

  More papers will be released as and when the need arises.