We are a relocation agency that combines innovative technology and unsurpassed local knowledge, so wherever you may be moving to we can help you! Established for over 10 years now, and being a UK company, you really are in safe hands when considering moving to the UK. Welcome to our backyard, how can we help you?
With the UK now no-longer being part of the European Union, relocating here is not as straight forward as it once was for EU citizens, and the process is now the same as it is for those outside of the EU wishing to move here. Relocating is no small task either, so whether it be home rental search, schooling finding, buying a property, shipping, Visas & Immigration processes or perhaps just lifestyle management once you land… we are here to navigate the logistics and make your relocation to the UK happen.
We strongly believe the advantages gained by living in the UK will make it all worthwhile, and perhaps one of the best decisions you’ll ever make! Whether you are moving alone, or with a partner or family it is a fantastic country to start a new life and for career progression; even if the weather is famously terrible! There is just so much opportunity to try different things, be part of an incredible social scene, and have access to some of the best education – schools and Universities – and healthcare worldwide.
We’ve taken the time to compile the guide below, that begins to break down the relocation process; what you need to consider; and give you snapshots into the culture and logistics of life in the UK. We hope you find this useful, and should you wish to learn anymore, or about how we can help you, please do get in touch!
Eating & drinking
From cafes and tearooms to fine restaurants, pubs and more, there are plenty of delicious culinary delights to discover when you are in the United Kingdom. Although “fish and chips” is a beloved dish by British people, you most certainly won’t have to live on it. Across the country there are countless restaurants serving well known types of food from many different countries. You can find almost any cuisine including those common household favourites such as Vegetarian/Vegan, French, Mexican, Thai, Greek, Chinese etc. etc. Although British food might be considered as comfort food by expats, rather than world-class cuisine, there are Micheline star restaurants that do serve British classics as well as obviously international dishes too, that can be found all around the country!
Some of the most popular English dishes include: The cold meal called Ploughman’s Lunch – Bread, cheese, pickled onions and gherkins; the traditional British Sunday Roast which is roasted meat, roast potatoes and accompaniments such as various vegetables and Yorkshire pudding; and the dish called Toad-in-the-hole consisting of sausage that has been cooked in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with onion gravy and vegetables. It is also worth mentioning the famous English Breakfast which is prepared with bacon, eggs, sausages and tomato, served with toast and jam or marmalade. Nowadays though, due to the busy schedule the Brits usually have, there is not enough time to prepare and have a meal as rich as an English Breakfast on a normal day, and so you tend to have cereals with milk, toast and a cup of tea or coffee – a breakfast you’d call continental.
When it comes to quenching your thirst, nothing is more common than being offered a hot English Breakfast tea! The Brits like their tea strong, black or with milk. Another national drink, perhaps better saved for later in the day is beer, despite being served for most hours of the day in the ‘pub’ – a sort of ‘cosy’ old world bar that also serves food – with ‘bitters’ and ‘lagers’ being the most popular beers. You will find nearly everywhere an alcoholic drink called Pimm’s, which consists of gin, lemonade, fruits, cucumber and mint, particularly when the Wimbledon Tennis Championships is on! It is a summer favourite, and on the few occasions when the sun does decide to make an appearance, it is quite a refreshing option!
Social Scene & Culture
The United Kingdom when it comes to cultural offerings has something to tempt anyone to visit or even relocate! Host of many brilliant museums and art galleries, the United Kingdom has many eye-catching cultural institutions that are worth a visit!
The National Railway Museum in York, attracts over five million visitors each year. In 2002 the Imperial War Museum North opened in Manchester, the actual building was designed to reflect upon the ‘shards’ of the globe, shattered by war! Travelling to the top of the building, you can enjoy an impressive view of the area. Nottingham Contemporary Gallery in Nottingham is highly recommended, and is one of the UK’s largest centres for contemporary art, alongside being a venue for live dance and music! The beautiful seaside town of St Ives, in Cornwall, is home of the Tate St Ives, which overlooks Porthmeor Beach. In Glasgow you can find the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum too.
These are just a few suggestions for those who enjoy and appreciate the more creative pursuits, but every single city, especially the major ones, has unique cultural institutions to learn from and be amazed by!
If you live in London, or are visiting the country’s capital, there are many world-class museums and art galleries to explore. Most of them have exhibitions that are completely free to visit and some of them also offer late evening openings. To name just a few: The Victoria & Albert museum – the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the British Museum, the Museum of London, and for modern and classical art, the National Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, are highly recommended. Additionally, the British Library, located in London King’s Cross, is the most extensive library in the whole world, estimated to contain in its catalogue, more than 170 million items from many countries.
Career/ Business Opportunities & Finding a job
Having already over 66 million residents, the UK, despite its worldwide bad-reputation for extremely miserable weather, is a highly popular destination for expats. This country has countless job sectors, many employment opportunities and good working conditions. The country is the perfect place to start and build a career, while ranking the fifth largest economy in the world.
Over 300 languages are being spoken in the UK, and the country’s capital, London, is now the most diverse city that has ever existed! All things considered, UK attracts migrants from across the globe, more than any other country, as it is self-evident that expats feel they have and do have equal employment opportunities with native residents. Employers tend to create diverse working teams for greater creativity.
In order to work in the UK, you will need a National Insurance Number (NINO) which is like a personal ID or account number. In Ireland, the equivalent number is called your Personal Public Service Number (PPS). You have a NINO to make sure your National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name only. Once you are employed, your employer will need this unique number so that they can advise the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue Commissioners) in order to calculate your tax deductions. You might also be asked your NINO when renting a home or setting up a bank account. To apply for a NINO, you should telephone the Jobcentre Plus NINO service. You will need a visa to have the right to work, unless you already have UK settlement status.
Leading tech-based, pharmaceutical, aerospace and automotive industries are located in the United Kingdom (many can be found in the Midlands) which is also one of the major financial hubs in the world. A few of the industries with the most job openings are: Financial/Investment Analysts and Advisers, Programmers and Software Developers, Nurses, Sales Account Managers and Business & Financial Project Managers. To explore job opportunities that might be suitable for you, you can visit some of the biggest employment websites, such as Reed, CV Library, as well as LinkedIn.
Research has named London as the third best-rated city in Europe, for its robust public transport system. It is believed that London has one of the safest and most efficient public transport networks in the world. London’s public transport network is also the United Kingdom’s central hub in air, rail, and road transport. Travel for London [TFL](https://tfl.gov.uk/) is a non-profit local government body that controls most of the public transport, including Underground, Buses, Docklands Light Railway, London River Services, Tram link and the London overground. It is worth mentioning that the English capital powers its metro system and buses with 100% renewable energy to reduce the impact their public transportation system has on the environment.
The UK has a decent public transport system, especially in the major cities. Great Britain’s passenger railway system opened on September 15, 1830, making it the oldest in the world!
Navigating the country is relatively easy in larger cities such as London, Bath, Liverpool, York, and Edinburgh, and the best way is by train. You’ll find traveling by train in the UK efficient, fast, and enjoyable. It is essential though to book your tickets ahead of time, as the cost might be much higher the closer you get to the time you are due to travel. The most significant advantage of living in the UK is that you can enjoy a short or long break, traveling for just a few hours to mainland Europe, by taking a train from St Pancras International. Coaches to Europe, however, are the cheapest transportation option, but they are also the slowest! You can find many coaches stations with appropriate services running close to train stations. There are coaches from and to all major airports, towns, and cities, run by National Express (one of the main operators in England). The main operators in Scotland are Citylink and Megabus.
Although London has a remarkable Public Transport system, so too does Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Newcastle with reasonably developed rail networks in relation to their size. Edinburgh and Brighton have extensive bus networks. Even though Brighton is a relatively small size city, it has a high rate of public transport use, as many people get on a train to work in London, every day. In addition, the city of Leicester, located in the East Midlands, owns excellent transport links, having direct links to London and the North, and three motorways. Manchester has the second biggest travel-to-work urban area, after London, and is renowned for having exceptional transport connections, with all its rail, motorway infrastructure and tram network, providing great services. Finally, the south-coast city of Portsmouth enjoys one of the most accessible public transports in the country, which has direct road links to the rest of Hampshire.
The UK’s education system is considered to be of the highest quality boasting many prestigious world-leading institutions. Public schooling (for those, from the US, this refers to the state-run educational system) is well known for its comprehensive national curriculum and large variety of academic institutions to choose from. Alongside the numerous state schools there are also many private schools available for your child’s compulsory education – ages 5-18 years old. The general feeling, although we cannot state this as fact, is that state education is more than adequate and at times better than some of the more exclusive and prestigious private school. Obviously, however this will also depend on the child’s needs and sometimes private schools are able to offer assisted support that perhaps the state system cannot always offer. It is worth mentioning that private schools are not run by the government and you must pay, often, high fees to attend, public schools are funded by taxpayers and are free to attend. The most famous private schools include Eton College, Harrow School and Wellington College.
There are five stages of education across the UK, and these are early years, primary, secondary, Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE). All children aged between five and eighteen are required to be in education of some form, where primary starts at the age of five and secondary school starts at the age of eleven. The education system has the following Key Stages: Key Stage One – 5 to 7 years old, Key Stage Two – 7 to 11 years old, Key Stage Three – 11 to 14 years old, and Key Stage Four – 14 to 16 years old. In the last two years of the secondary education, pupils are normally entered for a range of external examinations which most frequently are GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Standard Grades in Scotland, although a range of other qualifications are available.
After having taken at least 5 GCSEs, a student can start a two-year programme which leads to A (Advanced) level examinations. A-levels are subject specific, usually relevant to the field they wish to study at university. The United Kingdom is the home of some of the world’s highest-ranking universities, such as the University of the Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and University College London.
Besides its world-renowned universities, there are plenty other reasons why many international students (556,625 students in 2021!) choose to study in the UK. International students can enjoy some financial benefits when choosing the UK, a unique culture including its multicultural side, and brilliant work opportunities!
The popular game, rugby, is a football game played with an oval ball by two teams of 15 players. In the 19th century, the Rugby Football Union was formed by 21 rugby clubs. Today, the English national team is competing annually in the Six Nations Championship and have won the 2003 Rugby World Cup. England has more or less 1,900 rugby union clubs, and it is indicated that over 170,000 people play rugby at least once a week.
Wimbledon is home of the world’s oldest, premier and most prestigious tennis tournament, which is called The Championships or just Wimbledon. Tournaments in Wimbledon are still being played on grass, which is the traditional playing surface. The Championships is one of four Grand Slam tennis tournaments on the circuit, with all professional tennis players one day aspiring to win all four major championships in the same calendar year. Steffi Graf is one of the only players to achieve this and win the gold medal in tennis at the summer Olympics!
The most popular team sports in the United Kingdom include football, cricket, rugby union, field hockey, rugby league, and netball. Some great individual sports one can easily enjoy are cycling, tennis, boxing, badminton, athletics, golf, motorsport, and horseracing.
Football is the most popular participation teams sport in England. The United Kingdom is recognised as the birthplace of modern football (soccer) with some of the first rules formed in 1863. The sport originated in Britain in the 19th century, and the oldest competition in world football was founded – the English Football League – by William McGregor in 1888. The most famous football clubs are Manchester United, Aston Villa, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, and the list goes on! Premier League, also called The Premiership, established in 1992, stages arguably the most competitive and compelling league in the world. It allows Europe’s top clubs to compete against one another bringing together world class players competing in different leagues, whom otherwise wouldn’t play against each other onto the same pitch!
Cricket, which is deemed the English national summer sport and is now played throughout the world, and is believed to have begun as early as the 13th century. The story goes that it was a game in which country boys bowled at a tree stump or at the hurdle gate into a sheep pen. There are seventeen county clubs in England and one in Wales, in men’s cricket. These county clubs compete in the first-class County Championship every Summer, play One Day Cricket in the London One-Day Cup, and Twenty20 cricket in the Vitality T20 Blast. There are also 36 teams in women’s cricket, mainly representing counties, which currently compete in Women’s Twenty20 Cup. They were also competing in the Women’s County Championship, but it ended in 2019.
Rowing is also very popular in the UK and there are many ways for people to take part in rowing, including indoor rowing, personal challenges, ocean crossings, regattas and international competitions. The national governing body ‘British Rowing’ is responsible for the selection and training of individual rowers and crews representing England and Great Britain – teams that have won many a medal at the Olympic Games and World Championships!
Statistics have shown that more than 2 million of the UK residents cycle at least once a week. They may cycle to work, to exercise or as a hobby. There is an abundance of cycling infrastructure in many city and numerous parks and open road where you can cycle. If you are looking to cycle across amazing scenery, the following locations will no doubt amaze anybody who comes across them: The Camel Trail – Cornwall, Box Hill Olympic Circuit – Surrey, The Lakeland Loop – Lake District, Applecross via ‘Bealach na Ba’ – Scotland, Elan Valley – Wales, and Richmond Park – London.
Visas & Work Permits
Before considering moving to the United Kingdom, you will need to check if you require a visa to either work in, or travel to the country. Since Brexit came into fruition unless you have some form of residency, or British nationality everyone simply needs a visa just to enter the country, so it is important you check, and follow all the corresponding steps, as a top priority.
You have the right to visit or work in the UK without a visa if you belong in one of the following categories. You are either:
• A British Citizen (this does not include British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) or British Protected Person).
• An EU/EEA/Swiss national resident in the UK by or before 31 December 2020.
• Or a Non-EEA national with Indefinite Leave to Remain/Settlement in the UK.
There are different types of visas, depending on your nationality, occupation, the length and the purpose of your visit. Consulting the Government’s Website you will find long-term and short-term work visas, ‘Investor, business development and talent’ visas, and other visas and exemptions.
UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration), part of the Home Office, is responsible for making the decision about who is eligible for a visa to visit or stay in the country, taking into consideration national security and customer care for people who have a legal right to come.
If you are planning to stay in the UK for less than 6 months, there are different types of short-term work visas to explore [these are generally only for certain professions, to find out which take a look at the government’s website. The cost of a Temporary Visa application is £244, and in some cases, you ‘ll be given a visa to live and work in the UK, for up to 2 years.
If you are a ‘skilled worker’ (you will find a list referring to the eligible professions on the government website) you may qualify for a Skilled Worker visa. You will need to already have a job offer before you make an application. Your potential employer must have been approved by the Home Office prior offering you a job. You will also need to prove that you:
• have detailed information and certification of being offered the role;
• are offered a role which is included in the list of eligible occupations;
• will be paid at least the minimum salary, which differs from each type of work;
• are able to communicate across all forms of communications in English (written, verbal etc.).
After receiving your certification of sponsorship, you must apply for this visa within 3 months. With approval of this type of visa you will be able to live and work in the UK for 5 years. You may be eligible to extend or update it, if it expires, you change jobs or employer. After residing in the UK continually for a period of 5-years, you may be able to apply for permanent settlement in the UK, which will give you the right to live, work, study and apply for benefits (if you’re eligible), for as long as you would like.
If you don’t meet the essential criteria for this type of visa, you may be eligible for another type of visa to work in the UK. For more information and to research further all the different types of work visas available, you can follow this link.
Non-EEA family members moving to the UK to work
If you have a family member who already lives in the UK, and you are planning to come and join them, it might be easier for you to apply for a visa as a family member. Your eligibility and the criteria you will need to prove, depend on the relationship you have with the aforementioned relative. Generally speaking, however, an individual is usually able to join a spouse or partner, fiancé, fiancée, child, parent or a relative able to provide long-term care for them.
If your family member is from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you are likely to be able to get an EU Settlement Scheme family permit. The family members of some British citizens, or of an eligible person of Northern Ireland can also get a permit; and obviously you must be outside the UK to apply for such a visa. The family permit lasts for 6 months during which time, you can work, study and enter and leave the UK an unlimited number of times. To extend your permit you need to check if you are eligible to apply for EU Settlement Scheme.
Finding a Home in the city or the suburbs
When you’re planning to move to the UK, after finding your city and a job, the next important thing you will have to consider, is what type of accommodation is best suits your needs. Cornerstone would be delighted to assist with finding your new home in the UK, whether you’re moving to the capital city, other major cities, or even a small town.
In many cities in the UK, the rental market is very competitive, and you may find it challenging to settle in a ‘suitable for you’ home. It is perhaps, the most difficult aspect of relocating, because although there is a large number of properties, there’s an even larger number of people looking to buy or rent.
If you’re planning to live in the UK temporarily, you are likely to choose a long-term or short-term rental home. You’ll also make a choice between a furnished or unfurnished apartment or house. There are different types of houses in the UK, such as cottages, detached, end of terrace, semi-detached, terraced, studio flats, and converted flats. The national average price for long-term rentals in the UK is £1000, rising to £1700 for the same size of house, when choosing to rent in London. Additionally, a furnished home might cost you up to 20% more than an unfurnished one.
Our housing experts are here to assist you find a home that fulfils all your requirements!
Once you’ve found the best rental option for you, and your ideal home afterwards, you will need a few documents to seal the deal. Those documents are proof of ID, proof of legal work permit/visa, proof of earnings, a copy of your employment contract, a letter of confirmation of employment from your employer, and references from previous landlords.
Either way, please do get in touch with us as we can guide you through the best areas to live and give you first-hand honest advice on finding a home in the city or suburbs of your choice.
Calculate your cost to Move to the United Kingdom
A few points you will need, most probably, to consider, are:
• Work visas, depending on the length of your stay, and your employment situation range from £152 rising to £1623. These are the prices for your application when made outside of the UK. If you’re applying for a work visa while being in the UK, the prices are a little different, and it will cost you between £232 – £1623, again depending on your situation.
• The travel expenses, again, is very hard to estimate as this really does depend on where you are coming from, time of year and availability. However, we suggest you shop around and if your timing is not restricted to a particular time, to then research when airlines fly and perhaps will have sales.
• Temporary accommodation. You might find it challenging to find a home when you first arrive, so you may need to book a temporary accommodation for quite a while. Generally speaking, this does give you some breathing room, and perhaps allows you to find the right home under less pressure. For an expensive city, like London is, the cost would start from £60 per night, however, naturally you may find cheaper deals in less expensive cities.
• Shipping costs of your furnishings and personal belongings from your home country to your new home are generally calculated by quantity. Having your own belongings really does make somewhere feel like home, so please do get in touch as we can source a quote for you!
• Two month’s rent. You will need an initial budget of double the price of your potential rent, as securing a home in the UK, requires you to pay the first month’s rent upfront and a security deposit, which is usually 5 weeks rent. For example, if the monthly rent of your new home is £2,000, the security deposit will be £2,308, so you will need a total of £4,308 just to start living in your new home.
• The cost of any new furniture. There are properties in the UK being offered furnished, but if you choose to have an unfurnished home, you’ll need an additional budget for this (especially if you decide not to ship all of your own furniture). Note that most properties rented unfurnished in the UK, are provided with all white goods, such as washing machine, dishwasher, fridge and cooker. You can have them removed if you wish.
Before moving to the UK, it is worth considering the budget you will initially need to settle in the country. Obviously, each one of us is different, with various needs, so this guide is just to give you a starting indication of cost. The actual cost of any support you may use to relocate should not necessarily be affected by where you choose to move, and we would be happy to discuss with you which areas of your move you may need support with, for example, Household goods, or finding a home. However, where the cost will differentiate based on location will be the first month’s rent and security deposit you will need to pay upfront. (Rent in general is something you should factor in when deciding where to live in the UK).
These are just a few factors to consider for your initial budget, but most probably, there will be more, determined by you and your preferences. We are always here to consult you on everything you need regarding your relocation, so please don’t hesitate to ask for our help!