Moving to the UK
Moving to the UK is a popular choice with many looking to start a new life in a new country. It is chosen for many reasons and has a lot to offer those who choose to make a life here.
Before you make the move though it is important to understand the requirements of moving there and what you can expect from living and working in the UK. From choosing where to live to understanding the administration required, we take a look at what life as a UK resident has to offer.
Why move to the UK?
Your reasons for moving to the UK could range from relocating for your job to looking for a better quality of life. You may be moving to be closer to loved ones or for your own personal reasons.
The UK has a lot to offer which is why it is such a popular choice with many. From the standard of the healthcare system; the National Health Service, to the work available to people from all walks of life, there is a lot to love about the UK.
From the Highlands of Scotland to the most southern coast of Cornwall, as an island (excluding Northern Ireland which is part of a separate island) you are never too far away from a beautiful coast. In fact, even in the most central part of the Midlands, a beach of some description is never more than a couple of hours drive away.
The country is steeped in history which includes beautiful buildings, monuments and museums not to mention its monarchy and the palaces and castles that they reside in.
Many people move to the UK because of the economy – it is the top world economies and their education system includes some of the best universities in the world.
Where to live in the UK
Whilst the UK as a destination might be an easy choice to make, where will you choose to live once there?
There are so many beautiful cities like London, Oxford and Bath (which also come with a high price tag when it comes to property) full of culture and plenty to see and do.
You may prefer seaside resorts such as Torquay or Brighton though. For those who prefer somewhere a little quieter, there are so many beautiful rural locations to choose from including the very popular Cotswolds or the valleys of Wales.
If you prefer to make your choice based on the weather then it is pretty safe to say that wherever you choose to live you will certainly see a lot of rainfall – the UK is very well known for its rain!
The climate is temperate with the UK enjoying warm summers and cold winters. The further north you travel the more snow you are likely to see in winter.
Scotland tends to be colder than the more southern areas and sees more snow. In terms of cost of living it very much depends on where you choose to live.
For such a small area the difference in the property prices, both to buy and to rent, can be extreme. Choosing to live in London will cost you a good deal more than many areas of Scotland for example, where there are some of the cheapest counties in the UK.
With renting being cheaper than buying in many cities, the rental demand is high.
When to move to the UK
As with any move, certain times of the year are better than others. Some people like to get Christmas out of the way and focus on moving in the New Year whilst others just want to get settled into their new home as soon as possible.
When moving to the UK it is important to make a note of the bank holidays. There are two public holidays at Easter, two in May, one in August and three over Christmas and New Year making eight in total.
Generally, most businesses are closed on these days so if you need to pick up keys from a real estate agent for example, or need to go somewhere official to collect documents you are wise to avoid these days.
If you are concerned about the weather and would like to arrive when it is a little more inviting you may want to stick with the Spring, Summer or Autumn months.
Once you get to October to March the days are shorter and the evenings are darker. If you are relocating with your job then you may not have a choice when to move as your company will have a starting date in mind although this often means that they are helping you with the move.
Carry out your research first
If you have visited the UK before then no doubt you will already be familiar with at least one area of it, however, if that area was London or another large city then you will not have experienced the beauty of the countryside and more rural areas.
The difference between the many towns and cities is vast and you really need to do some research to get a better idea of where to live and where to perhaps avoid.
If you are moving to find work you may want to consider some of the bigger cities, if not London then Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham or Bath. Each city in the UK has its own distinct identity and you really need to carry out some online research to establish the pros and cons of each.
When conducting your research be sure to look at schools, transport access, what facilities the local area has to offer and crime rates. Like any country, the crime rates vary from area to area.
The first thing you will need to check is the visa and work permit requirements for moving to the UK and working there. To check the visa requirements you will need to provide information about where you are moving from and the purpose of your visit.
If you are a citizen of the EU then you are free to work or study in the UK for an unlimited amount of time. For those outside of the EU, you will need to apply for a visa unless you are from a Commonwealth country.
Everyone that enters the UK must have a valid passport. If you are working in the UK you will need to register and pay taxes with HMRC.
Your employer should do this for you but it is important to check that you are registered to pay tax and National Insurance. National Insurance contributions entitle you to state benefits like the coveted NHS which is a health service unlike anything available in many other countries in the world.
Before you move you may also want to look at opening a British bank account to make it easier to make and receive payments in your new country. Don’t forget about utilities as well. These include water, gas, electricity, broadband, satellite or digital TV, phone and mobile communications.
The UK is a very diverse nation with many supermarkets, for example, catering for nationalities from around the world, however, English is the official language and the one you will encounter everywhere (unless you are in Wales where many still speak Welsh).
As you are more than likely able to read, understand and converse in English you will not have any problems when moving to the UK. The one thing that may confuse you is the extensive number of accents that you will encounter.
Even by driving a few miles you can arrive in an area where the accent is very different to the one that you last heard. Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Geordie (Newcastle), Liverpudlian, Mancunian and of course good old Cockney, are all very distinct accents that are very different from one another and it may take you some time to be able to clearly understand some of them.
A fast speaking Scottish person can be quite difficult to understand and if you have never heard a Geordie speak before then you are in for a real treat.
The transport network in the UK is very good with a comprehensive rail network, an excellent road infrastructure, buses, taxis and an underground system in London.
For commuters in London, the Tube (as the underground rail is known as) is very popular for those travelling to and from work Monday to Friday.
Another popular way to get around in the capital is on “Boris Bikes”, these are bikes which are available in many cities across Europe that you just collect from one destination and drop back to another.
For cities that don’t have an underground rail network or the popular Boris Bikes, there are regular buses and “Park and Rides” where you park your car and catch a bus into the centre.
Many city workers get by fine without the use of a car but if you are going to be living further out of the city then you may want to consider buying a car.
If you are seriously considering a move to the UK make sure you carry out your research or try to visit the areas you are interested in moving to before you actually decide to make the move.
Research the best areas to live, what is required of you and make sure you have all the necessary arrangements in place before you make your move to avoid any unnecessary problems.
Prior research and planning will allow you to settle into your new home much easier.