To travel and work in the UK is an attractive prospect for many people, especially for skilled workers. Everyone, from digital nomads to finance executives, sees the many appeals of the UK.
With beautiful scenery, vibrant culture, and a wealth of economic opportunities, it’s easy to see why. So we break down the five simple steps to follow to get you started.
Start The Visa Process
If you want to visit or move to the UK, there is a wide range of visa options for you to look at, including ancestral visas, student visas, and work visas. You can look at the UK government’s comprehensive list of visa options to see what requirements you meet.
One of the best and most popular ways to move to the UK is via a skilled worker visa, but understanding the requirements can be challenging. The experts at Kadmos Immigration Solicitors provide an excellent guide that includes everything you need to know about the skilled worker visa.
To apply for a visa is an expensive process, and you can get a cost estimate from the UK government. It varies depending on your visa and the country you are applying from.
Planning Your Move
The biggest key to success in moving overseas is planning well in advance. Getting your visa approved can take between three weeks and two months, depending on the type and where you currently live. Consider important steps like selling your belongings or handling international moving logistics. You need to consider things like getting your pets microchipped and vaccinated and working out how they will travel.
If you have children or other dependents, you need to consider how the move will impact them, especially with finding the right school for your kids. With a skilled worker visa, your children will qualify as dependents if you move overseas while they are under 18, and they can keep that dependent status even after they turn 18.
Because of the complexity of moving to the UK, we recommend working with specialized UK visa lawyers like Kadmos Immigration Solicitors.
It’s overwhelming to settle down while juggling the challenges of a move. Some key things to get right are your housing, finances, national insurance number, and health insurance.
Housing prices vary across the UK, with areas like London being very expensive. So when choosing your home, factor in your expenses and cost of living to find the right home for you.
Opening up a bank account is a crucial part of moving to a new country, especially if you are working for a UK employer. Once that has been set up, understanding tax regulations and requirements is essential to settling into the UK.
For example, the UK has a pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax where employers withhold income tax contributions, which differs from the American tax system.
Besides income taxes, you must pay National Insurance, which is compulsory for everybody working in the UK earning over a certain amount.
It is the UK’s social security system, and it is required to access a state pension and certain benefits such as maternity allowance and bereavement support.
The attraction of living and working in the UK, particularly for Americans, is the free healthcare provided by the National Health Service (NHS). However, people in the UK on a visa will have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge to access the NHS.
Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to travel and enjoy some non-work benefits of the UK. You haven’t truly experienced the UK until you’ve taken a classic London Bus and seen Big Ben.
The UK’s big cities are filled to the brim with culture, offering diverse cuisines, theaters, live music, and world-class museums. Head to London’s West End for a show, or Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to dive headfirst into Scotland’s history.
Take in historical relics such as exquisite cathedrals and the ancient and mysterious Stonehenge. There is also a wealth of natural beauty, with a vast coastline and the enchanting Lake District.
And don’t just travel around England. Take the chance to experience Scotland’s stunning lochs and rugged landscapes, Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, and the Welsh peaks of Snowdonia.
Indefinite Leave To Remain And Citizenship
Once you have lived and worked in the UK for five years, you may be eligible for an indefinite leave to remain (ILR). This entitles you to live, work, and even study in the UK for any amount of time.
The ILR is also known as “settlement” and is a necessary step towards applying for UK citizenship. Certain visas have shorter periods before you can apply for ILR, so you’ll need to research your specific visa.
Once you have held your ILR for 12 months, you can start applying for UK citizenship.