Being an expat in London is the objective of many people all over the world. This city attracts many foreigners that are looking for new opportunities and a change of life.
But it is a process that must be carefully anticipated. Otherway, it might end up being a source of disappointment.
To ensure you have a good experience, you can read these tips for expats in London.
Good Reasons for Being an Expat in London
Expat life in London can be very beneficial for many different profiles of people. Some of the reasons are:
- It allows you to progress in English very quickly
- London is a cosmopolitan city that gives you the opportunity of evolving in a very international environment
- Moving to London can open up new professional opportunities and boost your resume with international experience
- The city offers a pleasant lifestyle with its large parks, many museums, monuments, clubs, stores, and restaurants.
How to Become an Expat Living in London
With Brexit, expatriating to London has become more complicated than in the past. Now, all foreigners must obtain a visa to settle in the United Kingdom. It’s also mandatory to subscribe to the local Social Security, the NHS.
There are several types of visas according to each individual situation:
- Family reunion
The conditions to obtain them make expatriation to London much more selective, The United Kingdom wishes to give priority to expatriates likely to contribute to the country’s economy.
Each application is evaluated according to a scale of points taking into account:
- The level of English language proficiency.
The minimum score to obtain depends on the type of visa requested. Now it is much more complicated to leave for London in the hope of getting a small job.
Costs of Expat Life in London
Any expat living in London will have to face high expenses. Even if it is not one of the most costly cities in the world.
One of the biggest expenses is housing. Average rents have been rising in almost all areas of the city in recent years.
You should expect to pay around £1250 per month for a two-room apartment. But this is not representative of the prices in the central areas. A three-room apartment in South Kensington generally costs more than £5000 for expatriates who want to live there.
Of course, there are lower prices if you choose to share a flat or live in a suburb.
And you should take in mind the costs related to transportation and food. They are on the high side compared with the European average.
Fortunately, low taxes and good salaries generally offset the high costs that expats in London need to face.
Expat Living in London With Kids
Moving as a family is very common when work is the reason behind the expatriation. It is a unique opportunity for children to acquire a natural command of English very quickly. Especially when they are very young.
English lessons can be useful for older children before moving and during the first few weeks in the country. It will allow them to gain confidence and they will quickly become bilingual.
Living in London with kids adds more important things to take in mind. The English school system can be very different from other parts of the world:
- There is a diploma that is obtained at the age of 15
- Uniforms are the norm
- There is no nursery school
- Schooling begins at age 4
It is, therefore, necessary to plan for childcare if necessary. And, above all, you need to decide whether the children will be educated in a public or private British school. Another option is choosing an international school.
These choices require a certain amount of planning. Sometimes there are waiting lists and the costs are important. One year in an international school can be between 5,000 and 8,000 euros.
Expat Health Insurance in London
Health care should never be neglected. It is not only a question of well-being but also of budget, as medical care in London can be very expensive.
It is possible to benefit from the NHS (National Health Service) during your expatriation. But the English Social Security system presents problems that are often pointed out. Infrastructures are congested and there is a lack of medical personnel, in particular specialists.
Foreigners tend to seek treatment in private facilities. They offer excellent services, but at prices that tend to soar. This is why it is strongly advised to subscribe to an international expat health insurance in London to be properly taken care of and reimbursed.
Comparing the different insurance offers is interesting to make a good choice. The main options are Social Security supplementary policies and insurances at the 1st euro. To decide which one is better, you can use an online comparator.
If London does not appeal to you, read our more general guide to expatriation in the UK.