How to Move to London (the UK) with no Job
I was born in the UK, and lived there 18 years before deciding that travel was the answer to all my problems. That all panned out…sort of… but eventually it was time to take the plunge and move back home to England. Wow. I never realised how confusing moving to England could be. So, from the perspective of both an expat and a native, here’s everything you need to know: how to move to London with no job.
Where to live?
Repeat after me: ‘I probably can’t afford to live in central London, unless I want to live in a shed’.
But it’s OK, there are so many other options. I do hate this step because I’m a planner, and most rentals are only advertised around 4 weeks before they need to be filled. So start about 6 weeks before your arrival date and look on Rightmove, SpareRoom and Zoopla. You probably want to look at places in person before you move in, so you can stay with Airbnb while you look- a site with reviews and guarantees to make sure you won’t get any problems. Perhaps the easiest place to find accommodation is Gumtree, but for this one you do want to visit the properties in person and have a good look before you hand over any money.
Rent is likely to be between 700 and 1200 pounds per month in London, depending on where you live and how many people are sharing with you. Bills may or may not be included.
Tips and tricks for saving money when renting
- In the UK we pay council tax– it’s a tax paid for each house or flat to support the local community. Students do not have to pay this- so if you are a student it’s best to live with other students, then no one in the house has to pay. Frustratingly, if even 1 person in the house is not a student, they will have to pay the council tax for the entire house.
- Joint and several tenancy- this is a fancy term you may not understand on your rent contract. Basically, it means that if a group are renting, and 1 person stops living in the house, the group have to pay the extra rent for that person until someone new moves in. This is very common for student houses, so be careful!
- Renting from a person not an estate agency is cheaper, but not so secure.
- There’s no need to buy big, low value items such as tables, bedframes and wardrobes- these are all given away for free on Freegle London. Just come and collect! Many friends of mine have furnished their entire flat or house thanks to this site- admittedly the results are not always Instagram-worthy.
- There’s a free app that let’s you share and track houshold bills, and it’s called Splittable.
Opening a bank account
I couldn’t talk about how to move to London without touching on your job hunt. You can make this painless by opening an international bank account before you even leave home. The main big banks that offer this are HSBC and Lloyds. I think it’s the best option. They didn’t pay me to say that, I really think it’s a good move when planning how to move to London.
Inside London you can use Transport For London to plan every journey. You will definitely need an Oyster card, then you load this with money and spend it each time you travel. You can buy one at the tube station for a small deposit. It costs much more to travel during ‘peak times’ on trains which means before 9am and after 5pm on weekdays, so try to avoid this. If you don’t travel during peak times, you can travel every day for a week on 25 pounds- in the centre of London. It’s all part of learning how to live in London- and remember you’ve been brave enough to migrate to the UK with no job.
If you want to travel outside of London, you can buy a ticket instead of using your Oyster. You can use Traveline to plan these journeys. But, let’s not forget that this guide’s called ‘How to Move to London with no job’.
In the UK, your resume is called a CV, and there’s a particular way to write it. Have your CV looked over by a friend from the UK who has a professional career, to make sure you’re doing it right. The next important step is to get yourself ready to work with a National Insurance Number, bank account (see above) and proof of your right to work in the UK. Jobs in London for foreigners are plentiful, but if I were you I would start with temping agencies (agencies that offer short term work) as the easiest route. One of my favourites is Office Angels.
So now that you know how to move to London even if you don’t have work, let me know your date of arrival and any questions you have in the comments below! I hope you enjoy living and working in the UK!
Wondering how the Brexit will affect your plans? Here’s my best guess!
Queen Elizabeth and London image copyright @Gunter Hentschel via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0
Feature image copyright @Camilo Rueda Perez via Flickr CC BY-ND