So, you’re thinking about moving to the UK. You’ve already renewed your passport – and after following our advice you look amazing in the photo 😉.. Maybe you have some savings in the bank and even a good idea of where in the UK you’d like to live. I can tell you right now what an amazing place the UK is to explore. But, how do you know whether it’s the right place for YOU to live? Expensive mistakes do happen. On the other hand, is that low-key anxiety you’re feeling just a case of cold feet that you should laugh off? Or, is it a sign you should take as a warning to cancel your UK move?
Adaobi Reads… has put together a FREE tool to help you make a more objective choice that’s personalised to your needs. You can access the decision matrix by signing up using the form at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, let’s take a look at just some of the factors used in the decision matrix. There are a lot of factors to consider. But, chances are that you value some of those factors more highly than others – depending on things like your background and personality, for example.
Cost of Living
This is a big consideration for many people when deciding whether moving to the UK is right for them. It’s important to note that the cost of living here is significantly higher in London than anywhere else. In fact, most salaried jobs will actually add a ‘London weighting’ component to the base salary to compensate for the added financial cost of going about life in the capital. At time of writing, the average London weighting payment is almost £4,000. So, keep that in mind when comparing pay inside and outside London. It could be a false economy to go for a London job paying, say, £3,500 more than a similar job in Liverpool. Try using a cost of living calculator to get a good idea of how much you’ll need for things like rent, food, entertainment and utilities. The Expatistan calculator will even let you drill down to look at data for individual British cities.
There so many amazing places to visit when exploring your new home: white sandy beaches in Cornwall, the English Riviera of Torbay, gorgeous views from the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales, or how about the Lake District in the North West of England? But, equally exciting are the great travel opportunities available because of the UK’s proximity to mainland Europe.
My current team at my day job are a wonderfully intense group. 24-hour holidays to the continent are planned each year in lieu of a Christmas party. Book far enough in advance and you could spend the day in Paris, for the same price that you might spend on a good night out. So far, my team’s gone to Berlin and Barcelona, with a third trip in the works to Amsterdam. If travel opportunities are important to you, then the UK might indeed be right for you.
Homesickness is a real probability if you choose to move to the UK. Are you someone who can cope with it pretty easily? Or, are you more of a home-bird? And, homesickness can be compounded by culture shock. You can do all the research possible beforehand, but are you ready to live in an environment where almost everything is different from what you’ve always known? Some expats really struggle to enjoy their new life when the food, the language and even interactions with people require a learning curve. You can deal with culture shock by attempting to fit in with your new society as quickly as possible: eat local foods, make friends with local people, live as authentically as you can within your new culture.
Of course, another way to mitigate culture shock is to make sure that you move to a country that has cultural similarities to your home country. Canadians should find it easier to move to the UK, than to China, for example. Ask yourself whether you are willing to put in the work required to quickly integrate with the local culture, or whether UK is culturally familiar enough to your current country.
Statutory Employment Rights
Employment rights are another thing to consider when contemplating moving to the UK. For example, did you know that pregnant UK employees are entitled to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave? You can visit the .gov UK website for information on how much of that leave will be paid. You can also get information on how to split your parental leave with your partner. How do rights like this compare to your home country? If you’re not looking to grow your family, consider what other employment rights are deal breakers for you.
Whilst the UK is a relatively new entity (1706), Kingdoms have existed in England for well over a thousand years. Æthelstan, for example, was ruling as King of the English back in 927 AD. If you’re someone who loves history and architecture, if you need museums and art galleries in your life that are full of historical treasures, then the UK could be a good choice for you. And, this factor should be weighted heavily when you complete the decision matrix.
Whilst we Brits have all grumbled about the length of time it takes to get a doctor’s appointment, the NHS is actually a beloved institution here. I mean, did you see the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics? There was a whole segment dedicated just to our healthcare system! And, still today, healthcare is free for UK residents at the point of treatment – including for BRP holders who’ve paid the immigration surcharge.
If you’ve always lived in a country with universal healthcare, you might consider it a non-negotiable in your decision-making process.
This list of ‘moving factors’ is just the tip of the iceburg, of course. If you’re ready to take a more objective look at whether you should move to the UK, download your FREE decision matrix now.