London has long since been a dream destination for a lot of people.
This is because it offers opportunities that can’t be found elsewhere in the country, especially in careers that are perhaps a little less traditional or a little more exclusive.
Moving to London is one thing for British citizens and another for ex-pats. Navigating the housing and job market in the capital can be tricky, which is why we have put together the following information to help you out. Read on for the details.
First things first, it is incredibly unlikely that anyone moving to London for work will be able to afford to purchase a property. It is also inadvisable to do so even if you can afford to until you are more settled in your job and the city itself. This is precisely why renting is the best option initially. That being said, renting in London can be a nightmare and truthfully, it will be expensive.
The quality of the housing on offer does differ depending on the area of the city that you are looking at. A lot of new arrivals to the city simply can’t afford to live alone, so shared housing is quite common, and you can find roommates online before you move via sites like SpareRoom or MyRoom. Depending on the rental type, you may or may not have access to a communal area.
As a general rule, the more central the location, the more expensive the rent. These lettings also tend to go pretty quickly because the location is highly desirable. If you are moving alone, then you will need to think about your safety; some areas of London experience more crime than others and be sure to vet any potential housemate properly.
Organising the listings is vital because they do tend to get snapped up quickly. It might be worth keeping track of the listings and enquiries that you have made; this will mostly be done over the internet, so keeping the files digitally makes the most sense. Using Adobe tools, you can organise and store the necessary documentation without taking up too much space on your computer.
As mentioned above, buying in London is not a feasible option for most people upon their arrival to the big smoke. However, if buying is a possibility for you, then property in London can be an excellent investment. If you do want to buy, then you will need to do your research on what area you want to buy property in. Obviously, your budget will be a big contributing factor here.
It might also be worth thinking about buying property a little outside of London and commuting every day if this is something that you would be able to afford. If you are willing to be a bit more flexible, you might find cheaper housing, although if the cost of commuting is high, then this might offset the savings and make the sacrifice not worth it.
Once you have moved to London, you will need to know how to get around. It simply isn’t worth owning and driving yourself around London if you can avoid it. Using the public transport system makes far more sense. Luckily, the city has a great public transport system as all major cities tend to. The system is incredibly well connected, with all thirty-two boroughs benefitting from some form of public transport service.
Most Londoners tend to opt for a bus or the tube, although some do use river taxis. There are nine zones, with the number increasing the further away from the centre you are. The first thing you should do is get yourself an Oyster card. You do need to be warned; however, the buses and trains can get really busy during rush hour, which isn’t ideal for any of the claustrophobes out there. Finally, renting a bike or a scooter is also an option, although these are probably better for shorter journeys.
Working in London
When it comes to working in London, there are a few things to consider. If you are an ex-pat hoping to move and find work, then the first thing that you should do is check online to see whether or not you need to secure a visa or a work permit. Depending on your country of origin, you might also be eligible to apply for a work programme or scheme, so it is definitely worth doing your research beforehand.
Working in Britain as an ex-pat will mean that you are required to pay taxes on your earnings. Most jobs will work out your tax obligations, and they will be automatically deducted from your pay every month or week, as the case may be. Now, if you plan to be self-employed, then it might be worth hiring an accountant to take care of your taxes for you. Every worker has to pay their national insurance, but the amount varies depending on your earnings. As an ex-pat, you need to register for an NI number asap.
Finally, working in Britain entitles you to the national minimum wage. The exact figure depends on your age, workers over twenty-one are entitled to the full amount, and the entitlement stands for most workers, although there are a few exceptions, so be sure to check that out when applying for jobs.
Finding a Job
The process for job seeking in London remains the same whether you are an ex-pat or a British national. The most popular method tends to be online ads; you can apply and interview for those jobs remotely for the most part, too, which can help you to secure employment before you move. You can also sign up to an employment agency or check out job ads in the newspapers too, which might help if you want to find a job in a niche industry.
London is a huge city; a lot of industries operate there, and it has connections around the world. This, in theory, means that there should be an abundance of job opportunities, and if you know where to look, there can be. Unfortunately, London is a popular destination which also means that there is a lot of competition between residents for the best jobs.
It is vital that you do everything you can to stand out. Make sure that your CV is tip-top when applying for jobs, and always try to go the extra mile by writing a custom cover letter for each vacancy that you apply to. There is a lot of work to be found in the hospitality and retail industry, and because London tends to be the most expensive place to live in London the wages are higher too, which means that you should be able to find something to tide you over while you search for your dream job.
London is a booming metropolis that can give you the opportunity to thrive. A lot of people decide to move there simply because it offers them the chance to do something that they couldn’t do in their hometown or country. However, moving to London is a big decision, and it is important that you prepare properly by learning all you can before you commit your time and money to the move.