The United Kingdom might be the motherland and the home of some of the very best Indian food you’ll ever eat, but it’s still on the other side of the world and unfortunately, moving there as a fully fledged adult just isn’t as easy as it was during your backpacker days when all you needed was a warm coat, one pair of jeans that you never washed and enough change for a week’s worth of instant noodles to get you by. If you’re relocating for work or due to a relationship, there’s a lot more you’ll need to take care of, such as visas, housing, a bank account and even relocating your belongings – especially if it’s going to be a long term move. So what should you know before moving to the UK?
Do you know how far your new home is from an airport or shipping dock?
While most Australians relocate to central London, there are definitely lots of us dotted across the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland – predominately the bigger hubs like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin are hot spots for expats. Only half of these towns are near the ocean, so when moving your items you’ll need to take into account shipping and road transportation as a combo.
Have you found a new home?
Finding a home in any big city is a struggle, so be clear about your budget up front. Contact local real estate agencies and hit up flat share websites to see what the average price is to help you set your individual budget. Bring proof of your job, your Visa and any letters of reference alongside your UK bank account details to speed up the process.
Does your new home come with any bonus extras?
If your job has organised this for you, lucky you! Some apartments and houses, no matter where you live in the world, come pre-furnished. You’ll want to take this into account when packing – what items are worth the shipping costs and the reshuffling of items already in the home and what is best sold on Gumtree or donated in advance. It’s only worth paying for what you’re truly attached to, as shipping doesn’t come cheap.
Do you need to see a doctor regularly?
If you’re relocating for work, your new job may provide you with health insurance to tide you over until you can organise local health insurance. The other thing about moving to the UK is that doctors aren’t like the doctors in Australia. You’re probably used to calling the GP to make an appointment and if they’re unavailable, just calling the next closest one. In the UK, you need to register with a doctor in order to visit them. This means finding your closest doctor, visiting the practice to register with them and then wait for a form in the mail, which you must keep in order to visit your doctor.
Do you need to organise a National Insurance Number?
Undeclared work in England is rare, so you’ll need to obtain a NIN to work legally in England. You can visit a local Justcentre Plus or call them to organise this. They will issue you a small plastic card which we recommend carrying with you everywhere, as you never know who might ask for it. Treat it like your Tax File Number back in Australia.