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Moving a Business Abroad: Why do companies move overseas?


Simon Colwill - March 23, 2021 - 0 comments

With Brexit on the horizon, business relocation is a tempting option for some UK companies. Here are the pros and cons of moving or starting a business abroad, alongside how a notary can help legalise your documents.

COVID-19: We also offer an online notary service for certifying documents remotely.

Want to talk over your plans? Give us a call on 0208 907 2699, email us, or complete our enquiry form.

Why do companies move overseas?

Moving a company or business abroad requires a lot of time and effort, but it can benefit some businesses.

Taxes for businesses are often lower than they are in the UK, making business relocation or offshore company incorporation attractive. The cost of labour may also be lower, which means they can pay workers less. Thirdly, other countries may be more lenient about regulations, which can work for companies wanting to innovate quickly.

Another reason why companies move overseas is market saturation; there’s less competition for their product.

Company relocation is a gamble, but can be a game-changer for businesses desperate for change. Consider whether moving your company to another country will save money in the long run, and whether it’s right for your brand.

Naturally, Brexit makes business relocation more attractive for some companies, and we can help with this.

Is company or business relocation abroad right for me?

This depends on a wide range of factors, from the demand for your product overseas, to whether you can afford the initial costs of business relocation. You also need to consider how doing business is different from in the UK.

Moving a business abroad might save you some taxes, but it’s no guarantee that your business will flourish.

Before you decide to move your company to another country, ensure that you’ve researched carefully beforehand. Although you’ll escape problems unique to the UK, moving overseas can bring a whole new set of challenges.

This could be anything from higher corruption and bribery, to a shaky political situation for foreign businesses.

What about just moving my company HQ offshore?

If you’re still doing most of your business in the UK (for example your customers, services and shops are here), but want to move your HQ overseas for tax reasons, read our upcoming blog about offshore company formation.

Moving a company to another country

To move your entire business overseas, you have a lot of things to consider and plan ahead for:

Are you legally eligible to move your company to that country?

Depending on yourself and your businesses’ circumstances, it may not be possible to move your business to certain countries. It’s wise to get legal advice before setting your heart on a location or doing anything like buying property.

Brexit has made business location and immigration more complex, so you may benefit from legal advice.

Will you and your family be moving there too?

Every country has its own immigration laws, so you’ll need to ensure you’ve gone through the right process to live and work in the country. Consider whether you want to become a long-term resident, and what that means for the future.

Read our guides to Applying for Spanish Citizenship, Portuguese Citizenship, and Moving to Russia from the UK.

Will employees be moving, or are you looking for a new workforce?

If employees are moving too, they will also need passports, Visas and paperwork so it’s legal for them to work abroad. If you’re hoping to employ new people to your location abroad, familiarise yourself with employment regulations overseas.

What business paperwork will you need, and is it notarised for abroad?

Business documentation, such as contracts, declarations and registers of members, may need to be notarised or legalised in order to be used abroad. Different countries will need different levels of notarisation for documents.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of the business documents we can notarise for businesses moving abroad.

Where will you operate from, and do you need to purchase property?

If you’re still doing your physical work in the UK, but you’re moving your HQ, read our upcoming post about offshore businesses. If you’re moving abroad, you will need to arrange spaces such as warehouses, shops or offices.

What location – a capital city, a port, or an affluent residential area?

Plan what area is best for your business relocation, depending on your service or product. Do you need somewhere close to transport links, somewhere in the middle of an industrial hotspot, or an affluent holiday destination?

Starting a business or startup abroad

Moving an existing business to another country is challenging, but it can be even harder to start a new business abroad.

You need to have a watertight business plan, taking into account costs and legal considerations, and a solid Plan B. In short, the better researched and prepared you are, the more likely starting a business overseas will be a success.

Government advice on setting up companies abroad

If you’re setting up a new business abroad or overseas, you will also have a slightly different set of considerations:

Identify a business opportunity and plan ahead

Ensure you have concrete reasons for setting up your business abroad, and why the location is perfect. Is there a big demand for your service or product? Have you considered your staffing, projected costs and any market regulations?

As Brexit has made business relocation an attractive option for some companies, consider your competition.

Lay practical groundwork for establishing your business

Don’t keep your plans secret – get all the advice you can from lawyers, financial advisors and other UK businesses who made it work abroad. You should also consider who will be moving to run the business, and workspace you will need.

Managing the business and making changes

Once your business is set up, you need to regularly review it, especially in the first year. Ensure that any communication and translation considerations are up to scratch, and that you understand any cultural differences that may arise.

To start a new business abroad, you will need a wide range of personal and business documents notarising.

Can a notary help with moving a business?

When moving your company to another country, it’s important to understand that some of your personal and business documents may not be usable there. Some documents will need to be translated, notarised or legalised first.

Your documents might be legal in the UK, but they may need extra authentication in order to be used overseas.

That’s how a notary can help with Brexit business relocation. A signature from a notary shows foreign organisations and other businesses that your document is genuine, and that the person who signed it is who they say they are.

We can tell you which of your documents will need to be notarised, and add our seal so you can use them abroad.

Contact us for more information or find out how much a notary costs.

Will my business relocation documents need legalising too?

Depending on the country you’re moving your business to, some documents will need to be legalised as well as notarised. Legalisation is done at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, by adding an apostille stamp.

Depending on the country, you may need consular legalisation after notarisation and apostille. 

Legalisation can be confusing and stressful. We offer a streamlined process of getting your documents through all the steps of legalisation they need – depending on the type of document and the country they are going to be used in. 

Find out more about the difference between notarisation and legalisation

Can you translate my business documents into another language?

Some countries and organisations may need your business documentation translating into their language.

If this is needed, let us know and we can translate your documents, before they’re notarised or legalised. We have in-house translators for Gujurati, Spanish and Portuguese, and links to a network of other language translators.

Need help with moving your business abroad post-Brexit? Get in touch with our friendly team today.

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