Working in the UK
On 31 December 2020, the freedom of movement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) came to an end. From 1st January 2021, the UK operates a new points-based system for Skilled Workers to gain permission to work in the UK.
All EU and non-EU citizens wishing to come to the UK to work will need to have a job offer from an approved licensed sponsor (employer) and demonstrate that they meet a specific set of mandatory requirements, which includes a job offered at the required skill level, are able to meet the English Language requirements and are paid the relevant salary threshold.
Meeting the mandatory criteria above will provide 50 “non-tradeable” points and a further 20 “tradeable” points must be obtained through a combination of points for salary, a job in a shortage occupation or a relevant PhD.
The UK Visa and Immigration process is a complex area, dependent on individual circumstances. The rules governing who has the right to work in the UK may be subject to change. For the latest information, please visit New immigration system: what you need to know and to access an interactive questionnaire to help you make sense of your visa requirements.
Living and Working in the UK
This section provides some useful information to help you plan your time before you travel to the UK and identifies the main things you need to consider once you arrive.
You may wish to book short-term accommodation in a local hotel or guest house before travelling to the UK. There are several advantages to pre-booking accommodation in this way. You know exactly where you’ll be staying and can plan your journey from the airport or train station before you leave your home country. You may also wish to get to know the area around our University better to enable you to make a more informed choice when choosing permanent accommodation. Well-known websites for short-term accommodation include AirBnB, Booking.com and Trip Advisor
Alternatively, you may wish to take a short-term let (a rented property) once you arrive in the UK to allow you to familiarise yourself with the area before entering into a long-term agreement. You may wish to employ the services of a property search specialist to assist you with your move, although this can be very expensive. Popular national websites for finding accommodation include: Rightmove, Gumtree, Zoopla and Spareroom.
Monthly rental costs will vary depending on the size, condition and location of the property. The rent will be higher for properties that include all bills and are furnished.
Buying a property
Buying a house can be a complex procedure in the UK and you’ll require the services of a Conveyancing solicitor. There are many online sites available to search for a suitable property in your area including Rightmove, Zoopla, and Your Move.
UK house prices can be high compared to other countries. It is advisable to reside in and research the area you’ll be living in for at least six months before you buy. Visit local estate agents and ask for prices of recent residential property sales in your area.
Open a bank account with a UK bank
The rules and regulations for opening a UK bank account both in-branch and online are strictly governed. Please prepare yourself by gathering as much documentation as you can and note that banks require original documents and not copies. You’ll need to have secured accommodation at a UK address before you can open a bank account, and you need a UK bank account in order to be enrolled onto our payroll in your first month of employment. The documents you’ll need to take to the bank will depend on which bank you choose and what type of account you open. These identification documents include:
- National identity card
- Right to work permit issued by the Home Office
- National driving licence
- Tenancy agreement.
- A letter from your employer in the UK confirming your address
- The bank may also want to see proof of your previous or permanent address in the country that you come from
All workers in the UK must pay income tax. The amount you pay depends on how much you earn. If you’re employed your tax will be taken via PAYE (pay as you earn) and will be deducted each month from your gross salary. The government’s website has detailed information on a beginner's guide to tax and working and paying tax.
The UK has double taxation treaties, that is, an individual may receive income from one source but be resident in another and may be liable to pay tax in both countries under their tax laws. The UK has negotiated with more than 100 countries, so tax doesn’t have to be paid twice. Individuals must apply for the right to do this (it is not automatic).
National Insurance Number
All workers in the UK must pay National Insurance contributions if their earnings are more than a certain level and they are under State Pension age. Your contributions are deducted from your salary before it’s paid to you. Your entitlement to certain state benefits and the amount you can claim under these benefits depends on how much National Insurance you’ve paid. These benefits include the State Pension.
To pay National Insurance, you need a National Insurance number. This is your own personal account number and it never changes even if you go abroad, marry, register as a civil partner, change your name etc. Please visit the Gov.uk website for further information.
If you don’t have a National Insurance number, you’ll need to obtain one. Please visit Apply for NI number for details on how to make an application. After you apply, it can take up to 8 weeks to get your National Insurance number.
You may find the Salary Calculator helpful, an online tool to calculate your estimated monthly take-home (net) pay after UK Income tax and National Insurance deductions.
Register with a doctor
As soon as you arrive in the UK and find temporary accommodation it’s very important to register with a doctor in the area where you live. Don’t wait until you are ill. The NHS (National Health Service) covers England.
In the UK Doctors are often referred to as ‘GPs’ which stands for ‘General Practitioner’ so expect to hear both terms used.
Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive a personal NHS number on a card. This isn’t the same as a National Insurance number. You need to keep this number safe. You’ll need it when you visit the doctor, dentist or hospital.