Troubled times often call for a change of tack, scenery and perspective. If the Global Pandemic has got you considering pastures new, firstly, you’re not alone; a recent report from London City Hall found that half of Londoners want to move home out of the capital because of coronavirus.

On the flip side, there are some looking to move to the UK post-COVID, perhaps in search of a career change, promotion or newfound opportunities for socialising, language learning and even love. 

The UK looks set to be a very different place next year, but some things will, of course, remain the same. They always do, right? For now, these are the need-to-know basics; our 6 essentials to consider for a smooth relocation to the UK.

TEMPER EXPECTATIONS

Many people considering a move to the UK will believe they have a good knowledge of what life is like in the nation before they visit, thanks to its depiction in popular culture. However, everyday life in the United Kingdom is quite different from what you see or read on the Internet; it’s certainly not all donning tweed and inviting the Queen round for afternoon tea.

It’s wise to temper expectations considerably regarding what life is like in the UK or you’re only going to set yourself up for disappointment. With further seismic change afoot in 2021, it might be worthwhile having a shortlist of other countries to consider.

VISA

Should you still be keen to move to the UK, it’s essential you get to grips with your potential visa status at the earliest given opportunity. It’s vital to get the right working visa to work lawfully in the UK; otherwise, you may face punishment or deportation. Usually, this is the Tier 5 2-year mobility visa. However, other options are available as well, such as an Ancestry visa or Tier 2 sponsorship. Each comes with a separate set of conditions and fees. Check out the Government’s breakdown of the different visas and entry requirements available to you here.

NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER (NI)

Everyone who works (or intends to work) in the UK is required to have a National Insurance (NI) number. This unique number is an identifier to the government to track the taxes and earnings of the country’s residents. Sometimes this number is enclosed with your biometric visa (found on the back). If not, you have to apply for it. As long as you are qualified to work in the UK, there will be no difficulties getting your NI. Moreover, you can even begin working whilst expecting your NI card to arrive.

A UK BANK ACCOUNT

You will require a UK bank account to be paid a wage and to pay your bills. To get one, you’ll need a valid passport and proof of a UK address authorised by an official source, such as a utility bill or driving licence. The common ‘high street’ banks are quite approachable when it comes to opening a new bank account; of course, they would be. Some provide basic accounts without much investigation into your finances, which is usually all you need, while others offer accounts with additional perks with a fairly modest monthly fee.

HEALTHCARE AND INSURANCE

The UK boasts a National Health Service which is available at the point of use. However, to gain access to the NHS, those on a visa will be required to pay an NHS surcharge as part of their visa charges. This fee varies according to the duration of your visa. 

After that fee settled, you will enjoy the same healthcare access as UK citizens. Just take proof of residence to a nearby registration office. 

PET MANAGEMENT (SHOULD YOU HAVE ONE)

Do you have a furry friend who you simply couldn’t bear to leave behind? Before you relocate to the UK, it is imperative you know the requirements for importing pets. The United Kingdom has certain limitations on importing pets and animals, and you may find these rules eccentric and obstructive, particularly when discussing quarantine laws. 

Your pet (if it’s a dog, cat or ferret – other animals have different, generally less strict requirements) needs to have been microchipped, have a pet passport and have been vaccinated against rabies. A blood test is also likely. Should you and your pet not meet these criteria, expect a four-month quarantine for your animal companion, with the owner (you) footing the bill.

Therefore, you must plan for this well ahead of time. Research the laws associated with pet relocation in the UK thoroughly or consult an agent to get a clearer idea. This will make sure you do not encounter any last-minute issues with your pets during relocation. 

THE BOTTOM LINE

If not planned properly, relocating to the UK can become overwhelming, with pitfalls common and an often hostile government lurking, ready to catch you out. Thorough research is required if you’re to make the move a success.

If you are planning to relocate within the UK, make sure you hire an experienced moving company, such as South Park Removal Service Ltd, to ensure a hassle-free move.