Moving to a new place is always an adventure, but it can be difficult to imagine the ups and downs of everyday life before the big move. To help prospective expats prepare, here are some of the pros and cons of moving to the Channel Islands.
Lifestyle in Channel Islands
+ PRO: Easy travel to France and the UK
The Channel Islands are situated in the English Channel between Britain and France. A ferry can take expats to the seaside city of St Malo, France in less than 90 minutes, and to the UK in about three hours.
+ PRO: Relaxed island living
Both Guernsey and Jersey are small islands, so a beach is never far away. Jersey has an area of 45 square miles (120km²), while Guernsey has an area of just 30 square miles (78km²).
+ PRO: Good weather
Most of the year, expats can expect a decent amount of sunshine in the Channel Islands. The weather here is generally much more pleasant than the cold, overcast conditions that mainland UK is known for.
Accommodation in Channel Islands
- CON: Complicated and limiting housing regulations
Due to limited space, housing in the Channel Islands is strictly regulated. Whether planning to rent or buy, expats often find that the various requirements and allowances can be difficult to untangle. After all the restrictions have been applied, the resulting accommodation options tend to be some of the most expensive housing on the island.
Working in Channel Islands
- CON: Difficult to find a job
Though the islands have a number of strong industries, including finance and tourism, job opportunities are limited. To obtain employment, expats will need to be able to fill a skills gap in the local workforce.
+ PRO: Favourable tax regulations
Both Jersey and Guernsey have a flat income tax rate of 20 percent, and there's no capital gains tax, inheritance tax or VAT.
Education in Channel Islands
+ PRO: Good quality education at a good price
Both Jersey and Guernsey are home to some excellent public and private schools. While private schools are of course more expensive than public schools, Channel Island private schools typically offer a quality of education equivalent to UK-mainland private schools at a much lower fee point.
- CON: Limited options
There aren't any foreign-curriculum schools on the islands. This means that expats who wish for their children to continue with their home country's curriculum will need to consider other options, such as boarding school abroad or homeschooling.