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Moving to the UK : Your BREXIT Guide and Everything you Need to Know!

This is a massive post (over 2.5K words). Use the content table below to navigate to the section that interests you the most!

 

Brexit, Visas and other important bits of paper
Coffee, cabs, cocktails and other essential costs
Banking and Money: Get your dosh sorted
Accommodation: Sharing is caring
Finding a Job: Top tips for finding happy employment
Pros and Cons: Weighing it all up

 

First Things First: Brexit, Visas and other important bits of paper

 

If you’re an EU national - or if you’re from the EEA, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland - you won’t need to apply for a visa if you want to move to the UK, for whatever reason that may be. The same goes for members of the Overseas Countries and Territories. Immigration reform is likely to be a major factor in future political decisions stemming from the Brexit vote, but for the time being the status quo remains.

 

 

As Brexit concerns understandably mount for EU nationals already living and working in the UK, people should be assured that there are no immediate or even medium-term plans as yet to change immigration rules in the UK. The lengthy negotiation process is expected to take at least two years.

For non-EU, non-EEA nationals, there are 56 countries whose people will not need an entry visa for a stay of up to six months – they’ll arrive in the UK on a tourist visa which is granted on entry. You can check your specific visa and clearance requirements, based on your nationality and the length and purpose of stay, on the Foreign Office website.

If you’re from outside the EU and EEA and want to stay in the UK for longer than six months, you’ll probably need to apply for one of the following:

 

 

Coffee, cabs, cocktails and other essential costs

 

Ok, we’re going to give it to you straight: living in the UK could be more expensive than where you’re used to. But shopping Brits expect choice and love shopping around for deals, so for every luxury gym membership you’ll find a dozen decent budget options, and for every organic food store, there’s a cut-price supermarket just around the corner. Take a bow, Aldi.

Generally speaking, living in the south of the UK is more expensive than the northern regions, but the good news, if you're London-bound, is that wages follow suit. London is, unsurprisingly, the most expensive place to live in the UK – but you’ll also earn the best salary here.

 

 

And, obviously, living in London is an awesome experience.

Here’s what some of your weekly and monthly essentials costs:

  • Starbucks medium coffee: £3
  • Mojito cocktail: £8
  • Single tube fare (all zones): £6
  • Single tube fare (all zones) using Oyster pre-pay card, off-peak: £3.10
  • Pint of lager: £3.50 Gym membership monthly: £45
  • London taxi fare Westminster to Marble Arch: £10
  • London Uber fare Westminster to Marble Arch: £6
  • Cinema ticket £10
  • McDonalds Medium Extra Value Meal: £4.50
  • Pint of milk: 50p Gas and electricity bills for a small flat: £75 per month
  • Broadband monthly: £18

If you’re savvy and know how to shop around there are huge savings to be made when you move to the UK. London-dwellers, you’ll slash your weekly spend if you flat-share, get yourself an Oyster card for all your tube travel, and get the Uber app instead of hailing traditional black cabs.

We also highly recommend signing up to voucher sites like Groupon and Wowcher for massive discounts on local attractions and eating out, wherever you are in the UK: really worth it if you’re living in a big city and want to make the most of it all.

 

 

Banking and Money: Get your dosh sorted

 

Currency:British Pound Sterling (GBP)

Denominations in notes: £50, £20, £10 and £5 (the latter two known as ‘tenners’ and ‘fivers’)

Denominations in coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 pence, £1 and £2

You’re moving here for work so you’re going to want to get paid, right? So high on your to-do list should be opening a bank account in the UK. You’ll also need a fully functioning bank account for setting up rent payments to your landlord, paying local and governmental taxes, and setting up other regular payments such as a direct debit for utility bills or a mobile phone contract.

 

 

We recommend choosing a ‘High Street’ bank with a sophisticated online banking system (and ideally an app so you can bank 24/7) but it’s also worth choosing a bank with plenty of branches you can walk into if you need assistance.

HSBC, Co-Op, Lloyds, Natwest, Barclays, and Nationwide are the major players here. Many of these banks have an international presence, too, so if you bank with a worldwide bank like HSBC (for example) in your home country, you should be able to change the status of this account before you leave and open a secondary account you can run alongside your home account, so it’s already set up for you when you touch down in the UK. In any case, it’s worth keeping a bank account open in your home country so that you can access cash, get paid and make payments when you visit the motherland or return home for good.

So, to open a UK bank account you’ll need to book an appointment at your local High Street bank in advance, and we advise that you ask for clear advice on documents to bring along so you can avoid delays in processing. It’s likely, that all you’ll need to provide in order to open a UK bank account is your passport or ID card if you’re from the EU/EEA. If you’re from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa or the USA, your passport and visa will do for ID. Banks don’t demand proof of permanent address in order to open a bank account anymore because this can be impossible for those just arriving in the UK. You will, however, need to provide an address for all cards and correspondence to be sent to in the first instance – then you should be able to update your details online or in your local branch once you’ve got paperwork to prove it.

The choice of accounts available to you will be fairly straightforward: a ‘current account’ is a standard bank account for paying bills and being paid, and the most likely option for you. Joint accounts can be opened for couples moving to the UK together, and student accounts come with special offers and rates for borrowing.

You’ll get sent your debit card and a PIN number separately, within a few days of opening your account. These will enable you to make payments in shops and restaurants, as well as quick, contactless payments in bigger establishments for bills of under £30. This card also enables you to make free cash withdrawals from most ATMs. You may be sent a cheque book too, and although cheques are being used far less frequently in the UK these days and shouldn’t be relied on as a payment method, it’s a handy backup method.

 

 

Accommodation: Sharing is caring

 

Bottom line: flat-sharing or house-sharing wins, hands down. In the UK and especially in its major cities it’s the norm for students and single young professionals to house-share. Not only will you save hundreds of pounds a month in rent and bills by doing it this way, there’s a lot to be said for having a housemate or two when you move to a new city. Here’s roughly what you can expect to pay in rent if you’re London-bound.

 

 

UK landlords tend to ask for a deposit which will be held securely until you move out, and deducted from if you’ve caused any damage to the property that needs repairs or professional cleaning. You’ll also have to front at least your first month’s rent when you sign a rental agreement. Securing accommodation will almost definitely be your biggest expense when you move to the UK. Renting through a letting agent will involve extra fees which can add several hundred pounds to your accommodation outlay, so private rentals – as long as a legal rental agreement is in place - are often preferred. Check out the following sites for flat-share rentals:

One thing’s for sure: the further out of London – or any city – you decide to live, the cheaper your rent will be. But beware, travel costs can mount up quickly if your commute is long. Do your research. The British railway network is good but notoriously expensive, and you can easily spend £40 or even more a day on travel if you decide to commute into London from one of the nearby counties such as Kent. Stacked up this way, central London rent suddenly doesn’t look so bad…

When you start to look at accommodation options, bear in mind that being within a 10 minutes’ walk from a tube station is extremely valuable when in London, or a bus stop or railway station if you’re living outside the capital. But, unfortunately, this is a luxury you will pay for.

Be warned that although the rental market is generally plentiful in the UK, rental properties in London and other big cities get snapped up lightning-fast. Get used to the irritating fact that properties tend to be advertised with a rental sum ‘per week’ rather than per month, which may or may not be a crafty ploy to lure you in with the illusion of a total bargain… before revealing the disappointing truth.

Start your search before you get here if you can, but avoid signing anything without having seen the place and met your prospective housemates first. If time and funds allow, an exploration visit for securing accommodation is a great idea. If not, sort out a temporary living arrangement for arrival, which gives you time to arrange a longer term setup once you’re here and getting a feel for your new city.

For short term stays, check out AirBnb, and get networking (whilst exercising necessary caution) on expat sites and social media groups. Let your new employer know that you’re in the market for a roomie, too, as they might be able to hook you up.

 

 

Finding a Job: Top tips for finding happy employment

 

 

Despite the recent EU referendum result and the UK’s democratic decision to leave the European Union, current immigration rules won’t change until 2018 at least, so EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can still live and work in the UK without the need for permits and visas.

So, there’s no time like to present to get the lowdown on which sectors are hot and what jobs are on offer right now in the UK. Why not take a look at the UK-based jobs we’ve got for you today?

Great news for those of you looking for jobs in hospitality: the top four fastest growing employment sectors right now in the UK are listed below, according to recent research:

1. Hospitality

Growth is expected in pubs and restaurants across the UK this year,and it’s expected to peak in the North West of the British Isles. Hello, Manchester!

 

 

2. Construction & Engineering

Construction is booming! More than 50% of construction firms expected a rise in projects for 2016.

The engineering sector was responsible for almost a third of the UK’s GDP last year: over £455 billion.

 

 

3. Manufacturing

A tricky one to call at the moment as the UK begins negotiations to extricate itself from the EU and remain a player in the single market.

4. General Private Sector

A whopping 20% growth was forecast for the first quarter of 2016: potentially doubling the growth achieved in the same quarter last year.

The average salary in the UK is £27,600 a year. See below for a sample of average salaries in some popular UK job roles.

 
Job Title Annual Salary (£)
Personal Assistant 20,000
Estate Agent 25,000
Nurse 26,000
Teacher (Secondary School) 32,000
Legal Professional 30,000
Civil Engineer 42,000
Restaurant / bar manager 24,000
Hotel manager 31,000

Keep up with upcoming vacancies is to get networking on Linkedin and other social media sites. Join professional groups related to your industry and expat groups for the city you’re headed for. By making acquaintances here in advance, you may catch onto an opportunity before it’s made public as well as gathering all sorts of insider tips on settling in the UK.

 

 

Pros and Cons: Weighing it all up

 

Deciding whether to move to the UK for work is a life-changing decision, whether you do it for six months, six years, or emigrate permanently. We always like to deliver the bigger picture here, so here’s a handy overview of some of the pros and cons of moving to the UK.

 

 

PROS

 

Green and Pleasant

Britain. Is. BEAUTIFUL. Wherever in the world you’re coming from, there’s beauty to be found in her rolling hills, lush gardens, secluded forests and majestic rivers. Whether you spend your weekends lazing in Regent’s Park or hiking in the Welsh mountains, enjoying cream teas on Devonshire beaches or gazing over the Yorkshire Dales, living here is a feast for the senses. Drink it all in.

Tea and Tradition

Living in the UK is a cultural experience. You’ll soon become accustomed to the soothing properties of a good cup of tea and a chat, and the social quirks and customs that make its people unmistakably British: queuing, apologizing endlessly, and talking about the weather to name a few.

Diverse and Colourful

Despite the UK’s recent decision to leave the European Union, younger people in Britain generally voted to remain in the EU. The UK is an ethnically diverse, open-minded and tolerant nation: a place where hundreds of languages are spoken (one in five people in London speak another language before English), countless faiths are practised, and homosexuality is simply not a big deal.

 

CONS

 

Brexit Anxiety

The UK recently voted to leave the EU, which leaves some uncertainty regarding immigration and the economy, among other things. The value of the pound fell overnight when the result came in, and another recession is being forecast by economists before the year is out. The process of leaving the EU will take at least two years, however, and negotiations over free movement of people and of trade rules will be a high priority for the Prime Minister. A deal may be struck which enables the UK to continue to trade within the single market in exchange for a continued open-door policy on EU immigration, but for the time being, nothing will change.

Cost of Living

There’s no denying it: it ain’t cheap living in Britain. But salaries are higher than average in the UK as well, which helps a little.

Typical British Weather

We have dodgy summers here, with the torrential downpours of June 2016 proving the point quite comprehensively. But when the sun does come out – and trust us, it will – Brits can’t contain themselves and can be found soaking up the rays at every given opportunity, in various states of undress. Because we don’t know if it’ll ever come back.

So there you have it: your indispensable guide to moving to the UK. London calling? Take a look at our UK-based jobs now!