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Relocation Guide To The UK For Work

Moving to a new country for work can seem daunting initially, but with careful planning, preparation, and research, this does not need to be the case. For those considering coming to the UK, the good news is that there is little in the way of red tape and administration once you are here. In recent years, the number of people migrating to the UK for skilled work has steadily increased from 42,000 in 2010 to over 63,000 in 2019 (the reporting statistics for 2020 have been affected by the pandemic). Add to this another 50,000 who arrive on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility or temporary worker visa each year, and it is easy to see how in-demand the UK is for migrant workers from around the world. In this article, we will provide a relocation guide for migrant workers planning to come to the UK.

Immigration Options For Work In The UK

Before making any arrangements to come to the UK, it is important to check whether you are eligible for a work visa. If you are not a British national, a settled person (i.e. you hold indefinite leave to remain or EU Settled Status), or from a nation in the common travel area (CTA), including Irish citizens, you will need a work visa. There are two broad types of work visa available in the UK, as follows:

The Skilled Worker visa

To be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have a job offer from a licensed UK sponsor/employer approved by the Home Office
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your UK employer
  • The job you have been offered must be on the list of eligible occupations – as of the end of 2020, the UK Home Office reduced the skill level requirement from RQF level 6 to RQF level 3, meaning that immigrants with a wider range of occupations can now apply for a work visa.
  • Be paid a salary of at least £25,600, the going rate for your occupation, or £10.10 per hour – whichever is the highest; this may be less if you have a PhD or a job which is on the shortage occupation list
  • Meet the English language requirements

You will be able to bring your dependant family members with you on a Skilled Worker visa; this includes your partner/spouse and any children who are financially dependant on you.

With a Skilled Worker visa, you will be able to work, study, take on additional work, and leave the UK and return (i.e. for holidays or to visit family members). Your visa will be valid for up to five years, after which you will be eligible to apply for permanent settlement in the UK.

The Tier 5 temporary workers.

There is a range of temporary visas, including for charity workers, creative and sporting individuals, those on a Government exchange programme, religious workers, and seasonal workers. In addition, the Youth Mobility Scheme is available to those between 18 and 30 from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino, and Taiwan; or those with British overseas citizen, British overseas territories citizen,

or British national (overseas) status.

The requirements for each Tier 5 temporary visa vary, hence it is advisable to review the Home Office website for the relevant type for your needs. For most Tier 5 visas, you will need to have a job offer from a licensed sponsor/employer in the UK before applying.

Register For A National Insurance Number

National insurance is the system that enables people, including migrant workers, to contribute to the social welfare system in the UK. For this reason, one of the first tasks you will need to complete once you have arrived in the UK is to apply for a National Insurance Number (NINO). The first thing to check is your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), as this may have your NINO printed on the back (it is typically displayed as two letters, six digits, and a letter). To register for a NINO, you will need to request an application form by calling the National Insurance number application line for England, Scotland, and Wales (0800 141 2075).

The current government advice on the application process states, “You’ll need to return the application form along with your proof of identity and your right to work in the UK. You’ll be told which documents you can use as proof when you get your application form.

After you apply, it can take up to 16 weeks to get your National Insurance number. You will not need to have a face-to-face interview at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19)”.

Register For UK Bank Account

Once in the UK, it is advisable to visit a high street bank to create a bank account. This will allow you to have your wages paid to you and to pay rent and any other bills. To register your bank account, your will need to take with you:

  • Your full and current passport with a valid UK Visa or a valid UK Biometric Residence Permit
  • Proof of address (e.g. rental agreement, utility bill)

Finding Accommodation / Property

If you plan to rent a property in the UK, you will be asked to complete the Right to Rent check process by your landlord or their agent. The Right to Rent check is to validate that you are legally permitted to rent in the UK (this process is completed by everyone, not just migrants). They will check that you intend to use the property as your main home and ask to see documents such as your BRP and visa to verify you have the right to remain in the UK. This is just a formality, but it is useful to make sure you are prepared for this check. For more on the Right to Rent checking process, see the Government website.

Accessing The National Health Service

As part of the visa application process, you will be required to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge, which will then allow you to access the UK’s National Health Service for any routine or emergency medical care you might need. As such, you will not need to apply for separate health insurance.

Wrapping Up

The process of relocating to the UK to work is relatively straightforward if you understand the steps you need to take. The main requirement is to have a valid job offer before applying for a visa. If you find you need help with the visa process, consider engaging a UK immigration Solicitor who can handle this for you while you focus on finding work, accommodation, and making plans for you and your family to come to the UK.

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