The United Kingdom offers many professional opportunities and advantageous living conditions. Plus it’s close and well connected with the main European cities. This makes it a popular destination for expats.
But sometimes, the steps to take in order to move there can sound confusing. Especially now, after the country left the EU. You can find out here what to know before moving to the UK.
What to Know Before Moving to the UK
Going on expatriation to the United Kingdom is now more complicated from the administrative point of view. And the conditions for settling in the country are much more restrictive than in the past.
A passport is now required to cross the border. And European nationals moving to the UK are treated in the same way as all other foreigners wishing to immigrate to the UK. The country wants to attract qualified expatriates who can integrate quickly and contribute to the national economy.
This is why obtaining a residence permit is now conditional upon:
- Mastery of a certain level of English
- A certain level of income
- Specific qualifications.
Each of these elements earns the expatriate a certain number of points that are taken into account when obtaining a visa. The score depends on the type of residence permit requested.
Guide to Moving to the UK
Foreigners who have already moved to the UK before 2020 must apply for “settled” or “pre-settled” status to continue living and working there. The first one applies to those who have been in the United Kingdom for more than 5 years. And the second, for all the rest.
Anybody else planning to expatriate to the UK must apply for a visa. There are many types, depending on each one’s situation. Those who are likely to work in the public health system can benefit from easier administrative procedures.
In this guide to moving to the UK, you can read about the most common residence permits:
The “Student Visa” is for people going to the UK to study. To obtain it, it’s mandatory:
- Sufficient financial means
- Good command of English
- Enrolment in a British institution.
The “Skilled Worker Visa” is for workers. They must:
- Have a good command of English
- Present a promise of employment by an approved employer showing the salary
- Have sufficient qualifications.
Highly qualified research, scientific and technical profiles are eligible for a “Global Talent Visa”. Even without a promise of employment.
Finally, people wishing to immigrate to the United Kingdom to join a relative already living there must apply for a “Family Visa”.
Expatriate Healthcare in the UK
The Brexit has introduced a new obligation for moving to the UK: joining the NHS (National Health Service, the British Social Security). People who immigrate to work for the NHS are exempt.
Others must add this tax to the cost of their visa. And the amount varies depending on the type of residence permit applied for.
Each nation in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) has its own health policy.
While the Scottish NHS often has a better reputation than the others, the British public health insurance service still has recurring problems. Its main issues are related to operations and understaffing (especially of specialists).
Foreigners who have chosen to move to the UK are therefore used to seeking private health care to benefit from a satisfactory service. But this has a high cost.
So, if you want to enjoy good expatriate healthcare in the UK, you should get private insurance. The best choice is subscribing to an international policy in your home country. Either supplementary insurance to reinforce the Social Security coverage or a “1st euro/pound” policy.
This type of coverage offers good value for money. And it provides coverage for the insured and his/her family worldwide. It covers health care, hospitalization, and assistance. Plus all the procedures will be done in your language.
The easiest way to find the most suitable contract for your expatriate situation is to compare different insurance policies. But beware: having private health insurance before immigrating to the UK does not exempt you from the NHS surcharge.
To find out more, read our advice on expatriating to London.