Some tips on moving to the UK

Moving to the UKIt is estimated that as many as 3,000 people a month are leaving Ireland. They have been moving to all corners of the globe, from Canada and the United States to Australia and New Zealand. In this blog, however, I am only going to write about immigrating to the United Kingdom, because that is specifically what I have done.

I was offered a job in the Oxford area in July, and was a little flustered at the idea of moving country. I needn’t have been really – it wasn’t that much more intimidating than moving to different parts of Ireland, which I had done many times before. Thankfully, I was also well supported by my employers. There are some things, however, that would be helpful for people to know beforehand.

Because the UK is also in the EU, which allows for free trade and free movement of people, I didn’t need a visa or a work permit. What I did need, however, was a National Insurance (NI) number. NI is the equivalent of PRSI in Ireland. I telephoned Jobcentre Plus (+44 (0)845 600 0643) and they gave me a specific time and date for the appointment. It was two weeks from my phone call – a little longer than I was expecting.

What I brought with me was proof of my address, my passport, my PPSN number and a copy of the contract with my employers. My National Insurance number was mailed to me within a week of that appointment. You must then give that number to your employer. Don’t worry if you haven’t received one by the time you are paid, as your employers can use a temporary number.

Setting up a bank account was relatively easy. All I needed to bring to the branch was my passport and my address (including postcode). An ATM card and a cheque book were sent to me in the post within a couple of weeks and my wages were paid into that bank account. Until you get a UK account, you can still use your Irish ATM card, although the charges can be quite high.

As far as finding somewhere to live, helpful sharing sites include Spareroom.co.uk and roombuddies.com. In other parts of the country, you will find some listings sites. In Oxford, for instance, there is dailyinfo.co.uk.

If you are applying for jobs in the UK or have one lined up, hopefully some of this information will be useful and relieve some of the stresses involved in emigrating. The most important bit of information I can give, however, is how much I’m enjoying it and how nice and friendly everyone has been since I moved.

For more information on international opportunities see gradireland.com.

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