Living and Working in the UK

Despite its size, the UK is a major power with huge political, economical and cultural influence around the world. London is Europe’s largest financial centre and attracts many overseas professionals who choose to live and work abroad. It is a vital centre for international business and has the largest concentration of foreign bank branches in the world.

Travelling from abroad to work in the UK can be an exciting prospect, however, there are tax obligations that you, and your employer, must consider. If you are considering moving to the UK, Morgan McKinley can advise you on many aspects of your transition, including employment opportunities, visas and tax.

Living in the UK - Fast Facts

  • London is the most 2nd visited city in the world according to Forbes.
  • The currency in the UK is the pound sterling, the country having decided not to adopt the euro.
  • The UK was the world’s first industrialised country.
  • As a legacy of its former empire abroad, the UK is an increasingly multicultural society.
  • The UK is one of the most densely populated nations in the world.

Tax Requirements in the UK

Whether this is your first time working in the UK or you have been employed there before, there are tax obligations that must be adhered to by both you and your employer, whether you are undertaking a temporary, contract or permanent position. The tax system in the UK operates on a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) model, with income tax and National Insurance contributions withheld monthly by your employer and paid to the government for you.

To pay tax in the UK as well as make National Insurance contributions, you need a National Insurance (NI) Number. Until you receive your NI number, you will be taxed on a higher, emergency tax code, but any overpayment can be recovered through PAYE. You can apply for a NI number at a Job Centre Plus, or can find out more from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), http://www.dwp.gov.uk

If you leave a job in the UK, your employer will issue you with a P45 form. This details your gross earnings and tax paid during that year and advises any future employer of your correct UK tax code. If you have lost your P45, you will not be able to get another, so an interim P46 form allows HMRC to allocate you a tax code for your next employer.

A P60 form gives a summary of your gross earnings and taxes that have been paid for the financial year. Keep this, as you will need it should you need to claim a refund. If you are still employed in the UK, you must wait until the end of the tax year (April 5) to claim. If you have departed the UK, you can make a claim for a tax rebate at any time in the tax year.

If you would like advice about paying tax and working in the UK, contact Morgan McKinley. We can tell you whom to contact should you need help with your tax obligations as you prepare for your new job in the UK.

Banking in the UK

Opening a bank account in the UK can be tricky if you are not a UK national. Banks ask for proof of a UK residence to which you are registered, and utility bills in your name, both of which can be hard to come by if you have just arrived in the UK.

The best move is to open a UK bank account from home before you depart. Ask your own bank if it has branches in the UK or an affiliated lender that you could open an account with from home.

Alternatively, you could wait until you have arrived and have an address and take all of the necessary documentation to a local bank. This will include your passport, proof of the address and a utility bill in your name.

Morgan McKinley aims to make your move to work in the UK as easy and stress-free as possible. Contact us today for the best job opportunities in the UK as well as for help with any of your banking queries.

Visas

If you intend to travel from abroad to work in the UK, there may be rules and regulations to follow in order to work legitimately and in compliance with Home Office UK Border Agency. There are a range of visa options available depending on where you are travelling from, your nationality, skills and intentions for your stay.

European Economic Area and Swiss nationals

Individuals from countries in the EU, as well as Swiss nationals, are not required to obtain permission to work in the UK. However, the Home Office states that, “If you are a national of Bulgaria or Romania, you must obtain our permission in order to work here. You should read the pages for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals for details.

If you are a national of any other EEA country or Switzerland, you will not need to apply for our permission in order to work here.”

Ancestry Visa

This visa is granted to Commonwealth nationals who have a grandparent born in the UK, and allows five years of residency and employment in the UK. There has been speculation that the Home Office may abolish this soon so do check your eligibility with the UK Border Agency first.

Temporary Workers

This visa requires that you have sponsorship from an employer and demands that you obtain employment and pass a Points-Based Assessment before you arrive in the UK.

Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Visa

This visa also operates on a points-based system, under which points are awarded to the applicant depending on their education, current salary and work history. You do not need to have secured a prior job offer or sponsorship to be eligible.

Details on all visas can be found online at the Home Office’s UK Border Agency website,www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.

For any other queries, Morgan McKinley’s specialist international recruitment consultants will be able to assist you in finding the answer.

Accommodation in the UK

If you are coming from abroad to work in the UK, you will need to consider accommodation in advance to ensure that you do not arrive to find yourself homeless.

There are a number of short-term solutions, such as hostels, bed and breakfasts, hotels or staying with friends or family. Here, you might meet other people in a similar situation, make friends more quickly, or find someone to share the cost of permanent accommodation. More permanent accommodation options include renting a room in a flat, sharing a flat with others, or renting a flat on your own.

You should take into account utilities and residential taxes, such as council tax, when looking for somewhere to live. Some options, such as renting a room in a flat, quote rental rates inclusive of taxes and utilities.

Community websites, such as www.gumtree.com, are useful when searching for local accommodation in the UK. Alternatively, contact Morgan McKinley who can advise you on how to arrange accommodation before or when you arrive for your job in the UK.

Thinking About Moving to the UK?

Morgan McKinley aims to make your transition into the UK as easy as and stress-free as possible. Contact Morgan McKinley today and we can offer advice and guidance on how to go about getting set up in the UK to begin working.

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