I didn't move country but rather moved to a different UK city in May 2011 as I received a job offer there and the commute would have been too long from my property in London. I was not required to live on site and nor did my employer require me to move to that location. I was a student (and carer for my mother) for 1.5 years prior to the job offer.
(To give a bit more background, the property was an inheritance from my mother who passed away in 2010. The property was transferred into my sole name that year - I think March/April. I decided that if I had to move away for work reasons, I would rent the property out for extra income.)
So in May 2011 I moved to a different city and rented a flat there until end of March 2013. I then moved jobs and returned to London but chose to move into rented accommodation close to work to be close to my partner. Essentially, I could have lived in my property but I decided not to due to the long commute (my property is 1.5 hours+ one way from my current job), opting instead to continue to rent it out.
I am considering buying a property jointly with my partner in the next year or two. In order to do so, I am considering selling my existing property to free up capital. Therefore, if I can reduce my CGT liability by moving back into the property (and ceasing to rent it out), then I will do. If the CGT liability does not differ that much should I decide to continue to rent my property, then I would be inclined not to move back.
I have also heard of Lettings Relief but I'm not too sure if that applies to my situation.
I hope this makes sense.
Many thanks. Tasha