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Living in the UK

Going to live and work in a new country is a thrilling experience - but along with all the excitement, there are some practical details to consider.
 
Click the links below for information about working and living in the UK which you might find helpful.

 

Accommodation

We will often be able to help you find accommodation, at least initially. If you stay in the UK, there is a wide variety of rented accommodation available. Most of this is privately owned, and you will deal directly with the landlord or a letting agency. Use the links below to access local information.

 

Gumtree

Yellow Pages

Foxtons Corporate Services

 

Alternatively when you arrive here, you can purchase the local newspaper, which usually has a section for rentals and flat shares. Typically you can find accommodation at rents between £55 - £120 per week dependent on whether it is a shared or single room.  You will usually have to pay a month's rent in advance, plus a deposit of one month's rent. You will usually also have to pay the utility bills and the local council tax, which pays for local services.

 

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Banks and Money

We can help you open a bank account with one of the UK's major banks. Once you have registered with us, we will provide you with a letter to take to the branch. It normally only takes a short time to arrange.

 

Your salary will be paid weekly direct into your bank account and in the unlikely event there is a delay in setting you bank account up, we can pay you by cheque which can be cleared through your bank account in due course, or give you a cash cheque and arrange for it to be cashed through a bank.


There are plenty of ATMs or 'cashpoints' around, and you can also get cash at many supermarkets and some other retailers if you have a debit card e.g. Switch.


Cash and debit cards, which deduct the money straight from your bank account, are the most common forms of payment in the UK. Cheques are also used, but most shops will require you to have a cheque guarantee card, issued by the banks - it is worth also remembering that most supermarkets no longer accept cheques as payment. All major credit cards are widely accepted, but there is sometimes a minimum purchase amount of £5.

 

You can cash travellers cheques at banks and bureau de change, but not many shops will accept them as payment.

 

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Health

Australia and the UK have a reciprocal arrangement for the provision of free healthcare in each country.


Doctors

In the UK, you will need to register with a GP (general practitioner) once you have decided where you will be living. You will only be able to register with GP's who are within your catchment area. To find out who they are, you can contact the local council for a list of names then phone the doctor's surgery and explain you would like to register. They will check you live within their catchment area. When you go for your appointment take along some proof of your address (an electricity bill or bank statement). You will be treated free of charge, but prescriptions cost £7.20 each as at April 2010.


If you need to see a doctor and are unable to see your local GP, you can try a local walk-in clinic. These clinics are open 7 days a week and usually stay open quite late. You won't need to be registered with a GP to visit these clinics, however please note that private clinics do pay for their services. Find your closest NHS walk-in clinic.

Hospital emergency treatment is also free on the National Health Service. In case of emergency, go to Casualty or Accident and Emergency (A & E) department. Alternatively, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice, they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Dentists

Dentists do not provide free treatment, so you will have to pay for dental treatment. You can simply call in to most dentists to register and make an appointment. Ask if they are taking NHS patients, as some don't. You are better off being accepted as an NHS patient as treatment will be cheaper.

 

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National Insurance

Once in the UK, you will need a National Insurance number.
 
National Insurance (NI) is also a tax on your income of about 10% (depending on your income level) and this contribution will be deducted directly from your salary. NI ensures your health care through the National Health Service and also contributes towards a pension if you stay in the UK for ten years. This will also entitle you to benefits, if you are eligible, after you have worked in the country for two years. For further information visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/ni


To get your NI number, contact the Department for Work and Pensions (www.dwp.gov.uk) in the area in which you live. You will need a valid work permit and your passport, and may have to attend an interview. Your NI number will be sent to you on a plastic card the size of a credit card, which you should keep safe.

For more information about tax and National Insurance, visit www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk.

 

TAX

Everyone earning in the UK will pay tax. Tax levels for 2010-11 are shown below:


NB:  a tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April each year.

 
Until you receive your National Insurance number, you may be taxed at a higher 'emergency' rate, but any additional tax you pay will be refunded.

 

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Alternatively, download the guide to living and working in the UK to the right of the page, or contact our team on 020 7836 6396.

 

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