UK Immigration – Moving to the UK Guide 2022

Moving to the UK

The first step to take if you are thinking about immigrating to the UK is to find out if you are eligible to apply. The UK has several work visas most of which can lead to permanent residency after 5 years, although some visas allow after 3 years of work. Depending on your circumstances you may have several pathways to work in the UK or none, but we can help build you a strategy towards making yourself eligible. Many people choose to live and work in the UK because of career opportunities, family or the lifestyle.

UK Visas for WOrk

If you possess the skills and experience to enhance the British economy you may be eligible for some of the below visas. These visas are designed to help UK employers hire skilled international workers to improve their workforce. Alternatively, you may be eligible through your ancestry from selected countries.

man and woman celebrating being granted a skilled worker visa uk
For UK employers to sponsor skilled workers to live in the UK full time. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.
nhs nurses posing for a photo in a hospital
For the NHS or private employers to sponsor medical professionals to work in the UK. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.
union jack flags being waved to people arriving in the uk
For commonwealth citizens who want to work or study in the UK without sponsorship. You must have at least one grandparent born in the UK.
people walking in Chinatown UK
For Hong Kong citizens who want to work or study in the UK without sponsorship. You must have a registered as a British national before July 1997 and own a permanent home in Hong Kong when applying.
empty meeting room in a UK office
For UK employers to sponsor international employees to live in the UK full time. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.
4 woman having a beer in the sunshine
For citizens of selected countries to work in the UK full time for two years. You must be aged 18-30 and be a first time applicant. Enjoy a long holiday with the option of employment to fund your travels.

Becoming a UK Citizen

The next step after your visa is applying to become a permanent resident of the UK, although you can apply for the same visa again in most cases if you prefer to. If you have lived in the UK for 5 years you can apply for permanent residence as long as you have not left the country for more than 6 months, you can leave the UK for more than 6 months over 5 years, but not at any one time. To apply for permanent residence you will also have to pass another English language test as these are only valid for two years. You will need to pass another test called Life in the UK, these are questions about British culture and history and will be done at a UK test centre. The UK permanent residence process is not any more difficult than other G20 nations, but it is important to know how it works from the beginning or you could delay the process by several years.

What to organise before you move

The most important tasks to sort out before you arrive is employment and accommodation, especially if your visa requires you to have a job before arrival. Even if your visa does not require employment we would recommend applying for jobs before you arrive anyway, as this will help give you a better idea of which city you might choose. We recommend booking short term accommodation such as a hotel or hostel for at least 2 weeks after arrival, this gives you time to rent an apartment or find a spare room.

In the months leading up to your arrival it is vital you gather the documentation required for your visa, this can take several months to sort out so we recommend to begin 6 months before your flight.

Depending on your circumstances you may need to sort out any of the below

  • Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Proof of your knowledge of English
  • A valid passport
  • Bank statement for proof of funds
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Biometric identify checks
  • Education certificates
  • References from previous landlords and employers

WHat to organise once you arrive

You made it! The hard work and stress of arranging all your documentation and finances are behind you and now your faced with your first week in the UK. There are still essential tasks to sort out depending on your circumstances. Applying for a National Insurance number is vital as you need this for employment, this is a unique reference that never changes and is used to identify you for paying tax, applying for a bank account and accommodation credit checks. Applying for a bank account in the UK is free and easy and is another vital task to sort out as quickly as possible, you need a bank account in the UK to be paid your salary, take out a mobile contract and to pay rent. Check out our Bank Account page for more advice and if you need any help setting one up. Modern life requires everyone to have a mobile phone and even more so if you are new to a country and are applying for jobs and accommodation. Once you have a bank account you can apply for a mobile contract in the UK, we can organise this along with your bank account for when you arrive as part of our free service.

Settling in

You have been in the UK for a couple weeks and have started work, setup a bank account and a mobile phone contract, but now you need to sort out long term accommodation. Depending on your budget and the city you have chosen will decide which type of accommodation you will apply for. For apartments we recommend Zoopla, this is a free easy to use website for all of the UK. For most people arriving in the UK for the first time, they tend to rent a spare room in a house or apartment, especially in the bigger cities such as London. We advise to use SpareRoom as this is a free list of rooms for rent with good reviews, but if you prefer there is always Facebook or Gumtree.

How much money should i save

The total cost of moving to the UK in 2022 varies depending on your circumstances, but we will give you a better idea of what you will pay before you arrive and what you will need to save before arriving. Application fees differ depending on the visa and some visas require you to pay a Health Surcharge before arrival which is £624 per year, so a 5 year visa would require you to pay £3120 upfront. But you can apply for a 2 year visa and then extend it once you are settled in the UK if you don’t want to pay it all at once.

Before you arrive based on a two year visa and not including the £1250 for proof of savings

  • Skilled Worker Visa – £1800
  • Health and Care Worker Visa – £250
  • UK Ancestry Visa – £1700
  • British National Overseas Visa (Hong Kong) – £1500
  • Youth Mobility Visa (Working Holiday) – £1500

We think £3000, but it depends! It is hard to predict how much you will pay in your first month in the UK as it varies greatly depending on which city and commuting time from work

Once you arrive you will need to make sure you have enough money to pay for around two weeks accommodation with either a hotel or hostel and also a deposit for permanent accommodation, this is usually the equivalent to one month rent, so you will need to pay two months rent upfront. One month rent for a room in an apartment outside London is around £550. You will have to save for commuting to work but this will depend on whether you purchase a bike, monthly train ticket or a car. Mobile contracts, work clothing, shipping boxes from your home country will all cost money. We recommend to have at least £3000 savings after you have arrived and paid for flights, health surcharge and visa fees. This is based on you having a job on arrival such as the Skilled Worker Visa or Health and Care worker Visa. You will have to save more if you land in the UK without a job such as the UK Ancestry Visa or Youth Mobility, £3000 should last you two or three months outside London without a salary.

How We Can Help

This can be a stressful time as there is a lot to plan for, especially if it is your first time living away from home. Use our Plan section and read our articles to learn more or get in contact with us if you have any questions. We are a free service and soon to be online community who want to make moving to the UK as easy as possible for skilled workers. We offer online support from the planning stage to when you are living in the UK full time, we will support you in your job hunt and setup a bank account and mobile contract for your arrival.

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