Planning Tips for International Jobs in the UK

Planning for an international job in the UK can be both exciting and intimidating. Preparing as much as possible ahead of time will help ensure a successful and smooth transition. The following are a few tips to help with your preparation.

Getting Your Visa

Obtaining a visa to work in the United Kingdom is probably the most daunting, but essential part of your planning. Immigration policies are always being revised, so be sure to check the UK Immigration website for recent changes. Currently there is a points-based five tiered system for visa applicants ranging from those for highly skilled migrants to student workers. Depending on your length of stay, country of origin and type of employment, there will be specific requirements you must meet in order to obtain a visa. It is very important to review this information thoroughly so you can gather the proper documentation. If you are unsure about your work status, check with the UK Border Agency for further clarification.

Housing and Commuting

In the perfect world, you could arrive in London, rent a flat and walk a block to work. Of course this is never the case, so you should be prepared to scout out rooms or apartments for rent in the local newspapers and on coffee shop bulletin boards. Depending on your finances, you can stay in a hotel or a hostel when you first arrive. Bring sturdy walking shoes! You'll be hitting the pavement hard looking for both a job and a home. As soon as you arrive, get your hands on the local bus or metro schedule. If you're living in a remote area and are interested in driving to work, you'll have to consider the cost of car insurance and to check with the local police to see if your foreign drivers license is valid in the UK.

Health care

An outstanding aspect of the United Kingdom is their National Health Service (NHS), which provides free health care to all its citizens and even provides free services to foreigners for certain emergencies and illnesses. You may not be able to receive every medical treatment free of charge, but they will at least be available to you at an affordable rate. It might still be a good idea to ensure you have health insurance that will cover you during travel. A medical catastrophe can become very complicated in any foreign country, so if you have a condition such as diabetes or asthma, it's important to bring the relevant medical records with you.

Money and Banking

Despite being a member of the European Union, the UK uses the Pound rather than the Euro, so you'll want to organize your finances based on the UK exchange rate. Before going abroad, it's a good idea to set up a system of automatic payment for any loan or credit card debt you may have. Forward your mail to a friend until you have an address within the UK and try to tie up other loose ends before leaving. Bring a reference letter from your home bank or a past statement to help open a new account with a UK bank. Because most employers pay by direct deposit, having a local bank account will be incredibly helpful.