Since January 1st, 2021, Brexit entered into force and the country’s immigration policy changed. Now, any expat living in England or coming to the country will be treated equally. No matter if they are from an EU country or not.
Besides this, the new immigration system seeks to attract mainly those expatriates in the UK who can contribute significantly to the country’s economy.
Let’s analyze how to become an expat in England.
How to Become an Expat in England in 2021
More Selective Immigration Conditions for the Expatriates in the UK
Before 2021, European citizens only needed an identity card to settle in England. But things have changed.
While it is still possible to stay in the country as a tourist for less than six months, a passport will become mandatory as of October 2021, and visas are now a must for any expat living in England.
To continue to live and work in the country after June 30, 2021, European nationals who were already living there in 2020 must apply for:
- The “settled” status for those who have been living in the country for more than 5 years
- “Pre-settled” status for those who have been in the country for less than 5 years before that date.
A new points-based immigration system applies to all those who wish to move to England in 2021. The number of points required and the conditions of attribution vary according to the type of visa requested.
Expatriating to England: Types of Visas
Among the main types of visas that allow you to settle in England, there are:
“Skilled Worker Visa”
This visa requires certain conditions:
- A promise of employment by an employer approved by the Government
- A job included on the official list of eligible occupations
- Good command of the English language
- A minimum level of remuneration, which varies according to the job held.
“Global Talent Visa”
It is intended for expatriates in the UK with highly qualified profiles. Even without a promise of employment, in:
- New technologies.
To get a student visa is needed:
- Fluency in English
- A validated registration in a British educational institution
- Financial means to pay for your education and daily expenses.
Expatriating to England with a “Graduate Visa”
The graduate visa will be valid from July 2021. It will allow students who have graduated from a British institution to stay and work for a maximum of two years after the end of their studies.
Note that not all courses are eligible for this type of visa.
It allows you to join a spouse or a parent who is already an expat living in England.
There are other specific visas for cases like:
- Sportsmen and women
- Start-ups creators
The Special Case of Health Care Workers
Due to a shortage of positions, people recruited to work in the British public health system benefit from an accelerated procedure to settle in the United Kingdom.
The NHS Surcharge, another Obligation for the Expat Living in England
Expatriates in the UK Benefit from the NHS
In addition to the price of the visa, you must also pay a tax on the health system to be able to settle in the United Kingdom.
The amount of this tax varies according to the type of visa requested. If you are expatriating to England to work in the NHS (National Health System) you will be exempt.
Once the visa is obtained and the tax is paid, you will get health coverage from the NHS. But not all expenses are covered, for example:
- Dental care.
The English public health system suffers from recurrent weaknesses, such as:
- A lack of specialists
- Overcrowding of health facilities
- Long waiting times for appointments.
These issues push most expatriates to seek treatment in the private sector to benefit from faster and more efficient care.
The care is then very expensive, and these costs are never covered by the NHS. For example, it costs around £150 to see a general practitioner and £250 for a specialist consultation.
This is why it is essential to take out private expatriate health insurance for the UK before moving. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying a lot of money or having to avoid certain treatments.
International Insurance, the Best Coverage for an Expatriation in England
Expatriates in the UK should turn to international health insurance policies. This type of coverage has several important advantages, such as:
- Management of the file and procedures in your language
- Coverage and reimbursements are independent of any other health system, also in the private sector
- Coverage specifically designed to meet the needs of expatriates
- Simplified access to assistance in your language
- Coverage in the UK and around the world, including during stays in your country.
Although international insurance offers coverage independent of the NHS, it does not relieve expatriates of their legal obligation to join.
Expatriates who take out these policies are therefore still obliged to pay the NHS surcharge.
Expatriate Health Insurance for the UK: Which One is Better?
There are many insurance offers for expatriates in England. It is important to compare the different offers to make a choice.
In any case, good insurance should cover you in England as well as in your country, for:
- Routine care
- Possible repatriation.
Social Security for Expatriates
Depending on your country, you might be covered by your national Social Security system.
Its character of public service means that in most cases it can’t refuse any membership request. It’s usually inexpensive, and it doesn’t require you to fill out any health questionnaire.
Its rates are very attractive, and it can’t apply limitations of coverage or extra charges in the fees. This makes it a very interesting option for young people and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Its main problems are its lack of flexibility in its offer and its low reimbursements. For example, consultations will be reimbursed on the same basis as in your home country. And it might not be enough to cover all the expenses in England.
It is therefore highly recommended to also subscribe to supplementary expatriate health insurance for the UK. It allows you to benefit from extended guarantees and improved reimbursements. But it increases the overall price of the insurance.
1st Euro Insurance: A Flexible Offer
Another very common health insurance for expatriates in the UK is the 1st euro (or 1st pound) policy. It is very popular among foreigners for its good value for money and its great flexibility.
They are marketed by specialized companies. And they offer numerous formulas that are more or less expensive and more or less protective. This makes them suitable for all profiles and all budgets.
Depending on your needs, it is possible to add specific optional services. Even beyond the strict field of health, such as the protection of personal effects against loss or theft.
Reimbursements are made from the first pound spent, according to interesting rates known in advance. This avoids any unpleasant surprises.
Some companies also allow their expatriate policyholders in England to take advantage of partnerships with certain health care networks. This provides optimal coverage and other advantages such as third-party payment for hospitalization.
Although they are very advantageous, these insurance solutions have one drawback. There is a medical questionnaire required upon subscription. Depending on your state of health, certain guarantees may be excluded, or generate an increase in the fee.
This may not always be the best insurance solution for people with a medical history of chronic illness who are looking to move to the UK.
For more details, read our tips for a successful expatriation to London.
Frequently Asked Questions About Expatriating to England
By 2021, it is now necessary to obtain a visa to expatriate to England. Even if you are national or resident in an EU country.
Among the main types of visas available, we can mention:
– The skilled-worker visa to work in one of the eligible jobs
– The global talent visa for highly qualified profiles in certain fields
– The student visa to study in a British institution
– The graduate visa to stay and work after graduating from a British institution
– The family visa to join a spouse or a parent already living in England.