Moving to the UK
Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwlllllandysiliogogogoch. Wait, what? This seemingly randomly typed set of letters is none other than the second-longest city name in the world located in the United Kingdom. The land of castles, royal family, black cabs, Shakespear, fish & chips, rainy weather and the list goes on and on, and on…
Moving to the UK is a difficult path that will be accomplished only if you truly strive for it. For whatever reason you are moving to the United Kingdom, Hercules Moving Company will provide a moving guide with the most important details and facts to consider before the immigration process starts.
Icebreaker: The place where the time begins
The United Kingdom consists of 4 co-equal sovereign nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main spoken language is English with about 40 different dialects around the county. The population of the United Kingdom is 67.22 million, about 87% are white Europeans, 6.8% are Asians (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, others), 3.4% are Black groups and 2.8% are other minority groups.
Almost 60% of the population identifies as Christians, the next largest religious group is Islam - 4.8 %. More than 25% of the population is irreligious.
The form of government is a parliamentary monarchy. The county is run by the Prime Minister and supported by the Cabinet of ministers. Pound sterling (£) is the official currency in the United Kingdom.
How to Immigrate to the UK
If you are planning to reside in the UK, you will need to apply for a visa. Only EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can cross the borders without one for a limited period of time. You can check if you need a visa on the official website GOV.UK
Before committing fully, it is advised to visit the UK for a short trip, to see if it is what you expected it to be. Life in the UK could be the complete opposite of what you are used to. If you have such an opportunity, investigate first.
To immigrate to the UK as a student, you must get an acceptance letter from the university. After that, you can start the process of the Tire 4 Study Visa application. You must prove you have enough sources to sponsor your tuition, accommodation and daily expenses.
You will be eligible to work 10h per week during the semester and full-time on holidays. Upon completing your program you will have 4-5 months to find employment to stay within the country.
First Steps upon arrival in the UK
- Register with the Authorities.
If you are older than 16 and you are staying in the UK for longer than 6 months, you must register at the nearest police office within 7 days of your arrival. For a list of the nationalities that must register and other information visit GOV.UK.
- Open a Bank Account.
The next step - opening a bank account. In recent years, the UK's banking system has become more foreign-friendly due to changes in regulations. You can open a bank account outside the United Kingdom, provided that bank in your country has relations with the one in the UK..
To open a bank account you must have proof of identity and address registration. You could also apply for prior relocation without proof of address.
- Buy a Sim Card.
Another no less important step - purchasing the UK sim card. You can buy a UK sim card anywhere: airports, convenience stores, malls or order it online( if you have an address to ship to). No documents or ID is required. There are different companies (O2, EE, Three, and Vodafone) and plans to choose from. All the plans are somewhat similar, despite your choice, you will end up spending a similar amount.
- National Insurance Number.
This is your personal account number, a unique set of numbers and letters (QQ 12 34 56 A) that does not change. Anyone over 16 years old working and living in the UK must obtain the NI. The United Kingdom has a progressive tax system which includes NI contributions. Those who earn £149 - £797 per week contribute 12%, for income above £797, an additional 2% is paid.
- Driving License and Car Insurance
To drive in the UK you must fulfill 3 requirements: over 17 years old, a valid driving license ( officially translated if not in English) and you must get car insurance (it is obligatory).
If you are from Northern Ireland, you can use your license until it is expired. The citizens of EEA can use their license until reaching the age of 70, after that they can exchange it for a British driving license. Moving from “designated countries” to the UK, you can use your license for 12 months from the day you become a resident, after that, you have 5 years to exchange your license. Citizens of other countries can drive for 12 months from the day they become residents, after that, they must pass a British driving test.
Healthcare in the UK
Public healthcare in the UK is resident-based. Everyone in the UK is eligible for many NHS (National Health System) primary health services for free. For free secondary care, you must be a resident. Although health care is accessible in the UK, the waiting lists are long with fewer treatment alternatives.
As a non-resident living in the UK, in order to access non-urgent free hospital care, you need health care insurance. The only other cost would be prescriptions ( they have a firm cost of £9), dental care, eye care and wigs/fabric support.
Private health insurance in the UK option that some own due to 3 factors: provided by the employer, to avoid a waiting list and to gain control over the treatments. The cost of the insurance, as always, depends on many aspects: level of coverage, number of people covered, age, lifestyle, and medical history.
The average premium for private health insurance is £1,500 per year. Globally recognized insurance providers in Britain are Bupa, AXA, Allianz and Cigna.
Earning and Spending in the UK
Your salary in the UK will heavily depend on your age, experience and the field you are in. At the beginning of your career expect to be paid an average of £19,000 per year for a full-time position. People with no qualifications earn about £300 per week, with a degree - £700. The average salary in Britain in 2020 was £38,000 per year. Of course, those living in London can expect a higher salary range, due to higher living costs.
Renting vs. Housing in the UK
The most important part of relocation is having somewhere to go. Renting and housing in the UK can be somewhat difficult due to the market availability and prices.
Minimum rent in the UK can be anywhere from £250 - £800 (£1000 in London) from private renters. You can choose to rent directly from the landlord or a property agency. You might need to put in a refundable rent deposit of 5 weeks for rent that is less than £50,000 per year or 6 week deposit for rent beyond £50,000.
Prior to signing the contract, ensure that the person who rents you the place, does so legally. Whether he is the owner, leaseholder or freeholder, request corresponding documents. Ensure that it is stated in the contract whether the utilities are included or not.
If you are planning to stay in the UK permanently, you might want to purchase a property to live in. There are 2 main homeownership legal forms: freehold and leasehold. Freehold ownership indicates that you are the owner of the property and the land it stands on.
The leaseholder is the one who leases the property from the freeholder, it can be as long as ten to hundreds of years. House prices on average cost about £250,000 and £500,000 in London. There are no restrictions on purchasing a house in the UK as a non-resident. But you might face challenges with deposits and requirements if you live for less than 2 years in the UK.