The UK is home to some of the best universities, museums, and restaurants in the world. Because of this, it is no wonder that so many people want to experience it firsthand. But whether you are moving to the UK to work, study, or just have an adventure-filled holiday, there are certain things you must in order to ensure that you take care of yourself properly.
Living in the UK isn’t just about discovering stunning scenery, famous urban destinations, and a more cultured lifestyle. It is also an involved process, including many details that are easy to overlook. However, arming yourself with the right information can make moving and living in the UK relatively pain-free. Are you ready to make the big move? Here are the top 5 things you need to know about taking care of yourself here:
- Take Care of the Legalities
Regardless of where you are from, you will need to have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom. However, there are many more legal requirements that you will have to meet before you can move here. These will vary depending on your nationality, as well as your reason for travel. For instance, the requirements for a student visa will be different from those who want to come to the UK for work or leisure.
Whatever the case, you can easily check online to see whether you will need a visa or permit before the move. Keep in mind that the requirements for citizens from other EU member states are different, but this is likely to change in the near future. Also, simply having a visa does not mean that you can automatically work in the UK. In that case, you will need to secure a UK work permit prior to travel.
- Can You Afford It?
If there is one thing to remember about life in the UK, is that it can be ridiculously expensive. The most common cause of complaint is rent, property prices, education, and transport costs – especially in London and other major cities. Taxes are also pretty high here, especially VAT and income tax. Expect that most of your money will go towards your rent and other bills. However, the good news is that other things like food, clothing, household items, and cleaning products are more reasonably priced.
In order to afford living here, proper planning is critical. A good rule of thumb to follow is that, before your move, ensure that you have enough funds to cover the cost of your food, accommodation, and transport for the first month. This amount will vary depending on the location and your lifestyle.
- Find the Right Accommodation
Whether you are planning on living in or out of London, finding a place to live in the UK can be quite the challenge. This is especially because there is a huge demand for quality, affordable space here. You can begin your search by checking through newspaper adverts or online websites and forums. While risky, it can help you cut costs since contacting the landlord directly ensures that you avoid any agency fees. This is a great option if you are looking specifically for short-term rentals. However, it is also important to be cautious and evaluate each offer carefully to avoid losing time and money.
The other option is to use a real estate agency, which is certainly your safest bet. In this case, you will need to provide a lot of documentation such as proof of employment in the UK. The upshot of this approach is that you end up with a guaranteed legal contract that could be vital in case of any disputes. The agency will also assist if you have any problems with the house itself.
Either way, keep in mind that there are many other expenses that go along with owning or renting property in the UK. These include the all-important council tax, utilities, internet bill, and the TV license.
- Find a Job
Most people move to the UK in order to start over or find more lucrative opportunities. However, finding a job here is not as easy as it was in the past. Economic decline and the recent recession means that it might take you some time before finding the perfect job. So, the first thing to remember is that you will have to be patient throughout the job-search process.
That said, there are certain occupations that are always in short supply here. You can find a complete list of this on the official government website. However, the UK is always on the lookout for medical practitioners, scientists, engineers, teachers, and chefs. Also, it is generally easy to find vacancies in the retail and hospitality sectors.
- Finding Adequate Healthcare
The healthcare system in the UK is slightly different than in other EU member countries. Here, the state funds the National Health Service (NHS) through taxation as opposed to insurance. This means that most healthcare services are freely available to foreign residents, barring certain exceptions like dental care. And, if you require eye care, you can easily contact Online Opticians UK for all your optical needs.
This isn’t the case for short-term visitors. Non-EU residents will have to take out private health insurance in order to access healthcare here, while EU/EFTA residents can access it through their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).