emigration and debt review

Does Emigration Affect Debt Review in South Africa?

At Sandton Debt Counselling we understand that life and circumstances are forever changing and that nothing is ever really set in stone.  One moment you’re financially fluid, the next, you’re finding yourself in need of debt counselling.  How does being under debt review affect you when you emigrate though?

You Might Be Leaving – But Your Debt Will Follow You

Emigrating to another country – be it for a work opportunity, to join family abroad, or for a different way of life – is something that hundreds of thousands of South Africans have done.  Although the current pandemic has hindered or delayed many people’s plans to emigrate, it hasn’t halted it altogether, and South Africans continue to relocate internationally all the time.

Since you’re most likely moving on to greener pastures, you might be forgiven for thinking that your debt review – or any debt in South Africa – will be excused.  Unfortunately, this is not the case as there is simply no excuse for non-payment if you’re emigrating.

Can You Apply for Debt Review if You’ve Immigrated?

Sandton Debt Counselling can assist with debt review for those who have immigrated to South Africa, although that is an entirely different scenario to emigrating.  For more information on how SDC can help with the debt review process if you’ve immigrated, read our informative article here.

Debt Review is Legally Binding – Whether You’re in South Africa or Elsewhere

The moment you begin the official NCR debt review process that debt review companies offer, you enter into a legally binding agreement.  In the same way that South African citizens are still held liable to pay their taxes in South Africa, your debt obligation will not cease to exist. 

The National Credit Regulator has provided a safe means to manage over-indebtedness by means of debt review.  It provides protection from creditors attempting to take legal action – this all under the safety net that the process grants.  In turn, it is your legal duty and responsibility to see the process through until the end, or until all your accounts are paid up.

Keep Up with Your Monthly Payments from Afar

Paying your monthly debt review instalment from abroad is imperative as non-payment will have dire consequences.  If you default on your payments, your debt counselling process will be cancelled and you will lose the protection that debt review offers.  This will open you up to legal action from your creditors, and there will be nothing your debt counsellor can do to assist. 

Most other countries have stronger currencies and therefore your earning potential will probably improve.  This should place you in a better position to pay your debt review instalment in South Africa.  First things first, it is essential that you contact Sandton Debt Counselling to discuss the way forward.

Inform Your Debt Counsellor that You’re Emigrating to Reassess Your Payment Plan

At Sandton Debt Counselling, we go out of our way to assist our clients – and that includes clients who are emigrating.  The first step is to inform us that you are emigrating.  We will restructure your monthly payments according to your new income and budget – and also find the most convenient payment method for you to continue with your monthly repayments.

What Will Happen if You Stop Paying Your Debt Review When You Emigrate?

In short, defaulting on your monthly debt review payments will lead to the following:

  • Your debt review will be cancelled
  • Sandton Debt Counselling will be unable to assist you any further
  • Your accounts will go into default
  • You will lose the legal protection that the National Credit Act offers
  • Creditors will be able to take legal action against you, even if you’re not in the country
  • Outstanding balances will revert to their original amounts and will increase with high interest
  • You will have negative listings at credit bureaus from creditors for non-payment
  • It will have an adverse effect on your credit score
  • Your assets could be attached
  • If you returned to South Africa, you’ll be unable to apply for any credit
  • You will also have to face the consequences of legal proceedings by creditors

What If You Become Over-Indebted Whilst Outside of South Africa?

If you’re living abroad and have local financial obligations that you can no longer meet, Sandton Debt Counselling can help you.  Provided that your debt is in South Africa and with South African creditors, we’ll assist by consolidating your debt and creating a unique debt review payment plan that suits your budget.

Emigrating? Do the Right Thing & Stay Protected Under the NCA

Being under debt review will not necessarily affect your emigration plans, but you have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to settle your unpaid debt in South Africa.  You’ll be doing yourself a monumental disservice if you abscond from your financial responsibilities.  Continue to benefit from the protection that debt review offers under the National Credit Act and keep paying your debt review.

If you have more questions about how emigration affects debt review, contact your debt counsellor at Sandton Debt Counselling for further guidance.

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