Image: View of London
Description: A person looking at London
If you are bored of your town and want to move to a much bigger place full of opportunities, dreams and success, then consider moving to London. The burgeoning metropolis is full of great opportunities to find work, start a business and study or find entertainment and socialize.
Millions of people travel in and out of the city every year for tourism, conferences and study. In this blog, we share some tips on how to move to the city and what you can do to make it here.
Prior to the Move
Immigration solicitors advise that before you move to the city, make sure you are prepared. London is the most expensive city in Europe and only a few cities in the US can top it in terms of living costs.
Make sure you have a place reserved for your stay before you arrive. If you start searching for a place after you arrive, it will cost you more.
Be aware that London is full of people. If you are coming from a quiet place, the number of people you will see and meet can be overbearing.
The population of London is very diverse. You will find White, Black, Latin, Asian, South Asian, French, German, Italians, Polish and pretty much all kinds of people from all over the world.
Lastly, if you are staying for over a month, it is highly advised to have an account in a bank that has local branches in London. While most transactions have now been digitized, having an account in a London-based bank can save you unnecessary costs.
Moving to London
London is the gateway to Europe for people coming in from outside the continent. To Europeans, the city has been the financial capital for centuries. It is a great place to start a business, work, study, visit, or retire.
Here are some of the steps for moving to London.
- If you are coming to London from outside the UK as a foreigner, the first thing you will need is a visa. A UK visa allows you to stay anywhere within the UK, London included. The visas can be acquired under four categories.
- Investment or business startup visa – Tier 1
- Skilled worker visa – Tier 2
- Study visa – Tier 4
- Temporary Workers – Tier 5
- If you are already living in the UK as an EU member-state citizen, you can apply for a UK settlement scheme to get permanent residency in the UK. Once approved, you can move to live in London.
- If you are a non-EU citizen, you can also come to London as a dependent family member or spouse of a UK resident with Indefinite Leave to Remain.
- You will need a good source of income and quickly too. If you are coming to London on a work visa or as an entrepreneur you are good. Temporary workers can also find good work opportunities. If you lose your job, you should find work quickly or you will run out of money soon. Thankfully, there are always new opportunities to make money in the city.
- If you are coming to London as a student with hopes of doing part time work, forget it. The UK laws have become quite strict regarding international students that want to work. Most study visas do not allow work and those that do limit work to 10 hours per week.
Be Mindful of Living Costs
If you are coming to London for tourism, you will need at least £800 – £2,000 for a 2-week vacation. You may need more depending on how many places you want to visit. These costs are in addition to your costs of accommodation and travel.
The average costs of rent for a single room in London are £500 to £1,000 per month. You may be able to find accommodations cheaper, but you will be scraping the bottom of the barrel and may have to move to the city outskirts.
Travelling costs are similarly high. Taxi and Uber rides can cost between £20 and £70 per trip, based on how far you are going.
Thankfully, the city has a pretty good mass transit system called Transport for London (TFL). You can make a daily, weekly or monthly pass and it costs around £12, £40 and £140 for each.
London is divided into two major areas that are further classified into six zones. All these zones surround each other in layers, kind of like an onion’s layers.
The centre is where the original city lies. This is the old London that has all the monumental buildings like the Big Ben, houses of parliament, Green Park, Queens Park, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly and Oxford Circus etc.
These areas have now mostly become commercial due to the high costs of living. Most of them are in zones 1 and 2.
Zones 3 to 6 surround the centre in successive layers and make part of what is called the Greater London Area.
As you begin to move towards the outskirts, the cost of living begins to go down. When moving to the city, keep your work/study location and cost of living in mind.
This was our short guide on living in London. Keep in mind that if you want to move to the UK you do not necessarily have to live in London. There are far cheaper places you can live and work, across the UK.
If you are looking to move to London or generally to the UK and you have more questions about this, it is best to speak with a law firm first so that they can discuss your options with you. Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors in London are a great team and would be able to answer any questions or queries you may have about UK immigration in general including the requirements of how to live and work in the UK.