It has been said many times, we are a nation, no a world of travellers!
So it may go without saying that as we are travelling about the world, settling here and there, maybe buying a property, getting a credit card, taking out loans, and then moving on to another country, or back home here to the UK, we may leave some loose ends, or bills/accounts in other countries.
When we get back here to the UK, one of two(2) things can occur:
* We continue paying our obligations in other countries.
* We can NO longer afford to pay our obligations in other countries.
In some instances, our returning back to the UK is not our choice, and the best route to go.
If you are living and working in the UAE and lose your job, you lose your Visa to stay there. And if you have some accounts and bills there, the better option for now is to leave the country.
Banks and their collection practices are antiquated and also very legal based, which means not nice collection efforts.
It is getting better to some degree there, but for many ex-pats living there, if you lose your job, the better option is to come back to the UK.
This does not mean you no longer owe any debts you have left behind, it just means any banks or creditors there will need to chase you to the UK to collect them.
And chase you they might.
Collecting Non-UK Debts in The UK
There seems to be some confusion when someone returns to the UK having left unpaid accounts in some other country; out of sight, out of mind.
They feel they may not owe the debt any longer, that debt is in (insert country here).
The fact and truth is the debt does not go away just because you have left the country. You still owe the money, but the creditor trying to collect their money may face some restrictions and hurdles to cross.
It is the collecting of that debt that is the issue; can a creditor in another country collect a debt in the UK?
If the creditor is in the EU, for now yes, there are cross-country/boarder agreements to allow them to do this.
And we can even include EU debts in a UK bankruptcy, and this may not change, but our protection rights may once the Brexit is upon us.
But collecting a debt that originated outside the UK inside the UK can be tricky.
The original bank or lender has no real authority here in the UK, unless they apply for this, and many do not.
So they can huff and puff and threaten to blow your house down all they want, but they have no real authority.
Unless the original creditor sells the account or assigns the account to a collection agency here in the UK.
Then all bets are off.
A UK collection agency that has bought a non-UK debt, or is an assigned agent of a non-UK debt, if the account has a “non-jurisdiction” clause, can collect the account here in the UK, using the laws and rules we have here in the UK.
If that collection agency rings, emails, or sends you a text (doubtful they will text), and say they say they are collecting a debt for ABC Bank in Timbuktu, and they make threats of making you bankrupt, taking your property, and generally making life miserable, you need to take this seriously.
They very well may have that authority.
However, in your defence, you have all the debt management tools/options, and insolvency options at your disposal to deal with the debt(s).
The bottom line is that they can collect the debt, and if you wish to go bankrupt and include the account you can, or you can include it in an IVA or deb management plan.
But what about your credit, your dear and poor credit history???
Your UK Credit History and Debts Outside the UK
Debts originated outside the UK by creditors outside the UK, are not reported to UK credit bureaus.
Your credit score here in the UK does not follow you to other countries, nor does any credit scores or histories from other countries follow you to the UK.
The only way this would change is if once again the account was sold or transferred/assigned to a UK collection agency, who does report to the UK credit bureaus.
This means that if you have a high/good credit score in the UK and move to New Zealand, your credit score does not follow you. So you do not have a credit score there, you are an unknown entity credit wise.
This also means if you leave unpaid accounts/debts in other counties, they may be reported to the credit agencies in that country, but they do not follow you back to the UK, and affect your UK credit file.
Unless once again, they are sold or transferred to a UK collection agency.