What happens if I need a doctor?
Once you start working in the UK, you will need to apply for an NI card (National Insurance). Your NI number will be used to pay for Tax purposes and will entitle you to free health services. When you have found a place to live you can register to a local GP (Doctor).
Unlike other countries you do not have limits on tax that you must pay towards your National Insurance contributions. You are simply taxed based on your earnings and issued an NI number. The time it takes to apply for the NI card varies depending on where you live and are often issues a temporary NI number until your card is ready.
NI Helpdesk: +44 (0) 0845 6000 643
What’s the UK cost of living?
London is an expensive place to stay, but earnings are usually a lot higher. Especially when first arriving the strength of the pound can make London seem more expensive. You should try to have enough money for your first month in the UK. Even after you find a job you are likely to have to wait at least a month before getting paid.
There is a good mixture of affordable places to stay, shop and eat – even in central London you can find cheap places to eat, £5 for lunch and £10 for dinner is usually more then enough. At the other end of the scale London has some of finest restaurants, bars and clubs in the world – with prices to match. Luxury shopping and lavish apartments are here too, for those that can!
Travelling in the UK on public transport is more expensive then in other cities. For example a daily London Underground ticket can be around £10 – weekly or monthly passes are cheaper, and just a bus pass cheaper still. Driving in London in particular can be pretty expensive. In central London you have to pay £8 for each day you drive in the “Congestion Zone”. Where you choose to live will greatly affect your costs. Living further from the centre is cheaper – but you will need more money for travel.
The northern parts of the UK are generally cheaper then the southern cities, with earnings being higher in the South and different lifestyles the cost of living in the UK will vary vastly for every individuals.
What’s the UK quality of life?
You will find a high number of people around, especially in London and other major cities. This may be in direct contrast to your home. It is especially noticeable on trains, buses and in the main shopping areas. It is quite a cultural shock. London is a busy, fast paced city. Commuting around 2 hours a day is also very normal (one hour to work and one hour back), which many people find difficult at first.
The UK has good health, social and public services, all of which are free for UK residents. London is always changing and growing with culture at the heart. Diversity and economic growth make London a great place to live and work. Accommodation varies, for those who prefer a quieter life the suburbs are probably better with more open spaces and larger properties. Other’s might opt for central London apartments, whatever your preference the UK is sure to suit almost everyone.
Being a 24 hour city, London allows you to be very flexible, many supermarkets are open 24 hours as are some clubs and bars. City life in the UK is an enjoyable experience, for those that particularly like to travel Europe is just a few hours away and you’ll be surprised how easy and affordably you can get there.
Many people would rather spend time outside of cities. The UK as many smaller towns and Business Parks surrounded by greenery and usually the pace of life is more relaxed and slower. The UK has many contrasting, modern and historical cities and town to suit almost everybody.