What to do before arriving to the UK
The following 11 points are going to familiarise you with information and steps that you should fulfil before going to the UK. I would recommend you to start several weeks or even a month before your departure. Of course, you can also come without anything, but then you spend valuable time doing things that you could have done before.
1. Travelling to the United Kingdom (UK)
You can find detailed information in the section moving to the UK. There are several options how to travel to the UK, where to buy the tickets for good prices or many other tips. Personally, I would recommend you to buy the ticket as soon as possible. Most people come to the UK by plane and the general rule there is that the sooner you buy the ticket, the cheaper it gets. The so-called „last minute ticket“ practically does not exist, so not rely on that.
Second and also very popular option, is to travel by bus. Of course, majority of the companies offer both first and last minute tickets. Usually, these tickets are 50 % cheaper, than regular ones. Nevertheless, you cannot cancel the ticket and the fact that you don’t go means that you automatically loose your money.
If you are still a student and you travel to the UK only for short-term work (e.g. summer job, several months during your studies,etc.), the university still covers the insurance for you and you don’t have to care about that. There is no need to register at the Labour Office, you don’t have to deal with your insurance company, just simply go, work or travel. You might get a travel insurance for the first two weeks before you find a job in the UK. Then, it is the employer who covers the social and medical insurance, respectively a part of your income is charged from your salary to cover that.
If you are planning to go to the UK for longer period, it is necessary to unregister from your home insurance system. Here is the example of how it works in the Czech Republic and how my clients save as much money as possible:
Example Nr. 1:
- Unregister from the insurance system immediately (see example Nr. 2)
- You get the travel insurance for the beginning of your stay in the UK and simply go to the UK.
Yes, you can do it just like that via email and you don’t have to go the insurance company in person. Sometimes, the insurance companies ask you for the new contract you have abroad. However, this is not a general rule and it is not necessary to deregister from the system. As soon as you get back to the Czech Republic, you will have to prove that you worked in the UK (see leaving the UK). If you don’t have any kind of proof, you just mention that saying that you are going to send them a scanned copy of the contract as soon as possible. Another option is to send a scanned payroll. Nevertheless, this is not necessary to do and you can always prove these documents after you come back. Those, who only come to the UK to travel, cannot prove anything.
The insurance company is going to ask you for the insurance card. You have to send it via mail. If you want to save time, just say that you have lost it (you save money dealing with the post office and also your own time). This way, it is only a sentence in the email and nobody is going to punish you for that. After coming back to the Czech Republic (resp. your home country), they give you another one (or you just say that you found the old one somehow).
Example Nr. 2:
At the Labour Office, you say that you are planning to go abroad (you are still hesitating), but you are still not quite sure about when and if. This way, they are still going to pay the health insurance for some more time.
For example, you end your previous contract on April 30th and your employer stops paying for the health care and social benefits. You are planning to go to the UK, only in mid-May. Go to the Labour Office and register. As soon as they have you in evidence, you can go to your insurance company. There, they note that the health insurance is going to be covered by the Labour Office.
Go to all the meetings with the Labour Office as agreed. Nevertheless, if you are planning to leave for example on May 15th, you set the date of your next meeting after your departure. In meanwhile, you find the job and use the same instructions as in the example Nr. 1:
- Contact the Labour Office (or the officer, who is in charge of your case – you have his / her email on the business card you are given at the registration) that you left for the UK and you are looking for a job there. Due to this reasion, you ask for deregistering from the evidence.
If they asked for any evidence (e.g. signed application), just send it to them scanned from the UK. Obviously, you can also send the contract or a payroll, in case you have it. If not, just tell the truth saying that you are going to contact them as soon as possible.
You can also give the Labour Office contact of your employer and they can make sure about your new job, so they can verify it.
However, this is rather unusual as it is enough to send an email asking for cancelling your evidence. This way the contact with the Labour Office ends.
- Yes, you can do it just like that via email, you don’t have to go there in person. In most of the cases, you are told the opposite, but this is only because during the personal meeting everything is solved immediately and and they stop paying the health insurance, which you must pay yourself. Sorting everything via email takes more time and also work for the Labour Office, that is why they prefer the personal meeting.
- You are going to be covered for all the time. Just take into consideration that you would deregister from the insurance system two days before your departure and (the Labour Office and also the insurance) something would happen to you on the way to the airport / bus. First, you will not be able to travel anywhere and second, you will have to pay for all the medical costs yourself.
- The insurance usually covers whole of the month, but you never know when you get into troubles.
- Another situation, when you deregister from the insurance system at the end of the month, but you would go to the UK only at the beginning of the following month and anything happened to you. Again, you would get into troubles. Therefore, I recommend the following.
- You send an email (available on their website) to the insurance company that you have travelled abroad and the Czech Labour Office stopped paying for the health insurance. Therefore, you would like to cancel your registration in the insurance system from the date, when the Labour Office put you out of the evidence, meaning stopped paying for the health insurance. See example Nr. 1, subcategory B.
3. Travel insurance to the UK
You might or might not get it. Nevertheless, the path to find a job in the UK is very similar to holidays in Croatia in this respect. Usually, you also get some kind of insurance there.
Citizens of the Czech Republic (the same as other EU member states) have the right for basic health care all around the EU countries for free. The travel insurance goes above the standard and you can only benefit from the services you paid for, in case anything happened to you.
I definitely recommend having at least basic travel insurance that some of the insurance companies offer for free as a bonus for their clients. Moreover, the blood-donors have the travel insurance almost for free. Alternatively, students might get the yearly travel insurance for around 500 CZK.
To put it simply, you need to do research in this area and find out what options are the best for you. Health is the last thing that you should save money on.
4. Opening a bank account in the UK
It is of absolute necessity to have a British bank account. Some employers even require it to give you the job. Nowadays, it is not easy to open the bank account at all. Here, you can find detailed instructions how to open the UK bank account.
If you want to send the moneyto the Czech bank account, the salary would be calculated according to the bank’s exchange rate and you would earn much less than you are supposed to. What it more, I have never come across this kind of situation that the British employer would accept sending money to the Czech bank account.
5. Accommodation in the UK
If you are planning to go to the UK during the season, you must be very careful starting to solve the accommodation in advance. Otherwise, you would be only left with the properties, which nobody else wants. You can read more on the subject in the section dedicated to accommodation in the UK.
6. Curriculum Vitae (CV) and cover letter (CL)
High quality of both documents is absolutely necessary to find a good job in the UK. This way, the employer gets the first contact with you and decides, if you are invited for the interview and accepted for the job afterwards. If you are not sure about the form of both documents, do not hesitate to contact me.
7. Looking for job and sending your CV and CL
Before you start working, you choose a potential employer on the Internet, contact him sending the CV and a cover letter. Then, you just wait for the invitation to an interview. Or, you can also visit the workplaces in the town personally.
Alternatively, you can make use of my services for getting the job in London and save time visiting the ponteial employers. You simply start sending the CVs and cover letters already from back home and agree on interviews before coming to London.
8. Application for the National Insurance Number (NIN)
Respectively, for a term of the meeting to get it. If you don’t have the NIN, in most cases you are not given a job opportunity. In theory, you have three months when you can work without the NIN, but in practice the Number is strictly required from the very beginning.
The NIN serves as a registration number in the social system in the UK and it stays with you until the end of your life.
Thanks to the NIN, the contributions to the national insurance fund are going to be registered properly. Moreover, you are registered under the NIN in the Department of Work and Pensions. Based on this registration, your employer can pay all the taxes, e.g. contribution to the pension system.
If you have the NIN, you may ask for the social benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit, living benefits, child support, establish a business, apply for the health care card , or use the NIN to open the bank account in the UK among others.
9. Public transport in London
You can find further information in the section public transport in London.
The London Underground is expensive on its own, that is why it is worth exploring the discounts you can get. You can find most of them on the Internet or in person visiting one of the desks. To get more information about the discounts, do not hesitate to contact me.
10. Travelling around the UK
In case, you are planning to travel to work somewhere behind London or simply for a trip, I would recommend you reading tips for trips around the UK.
11. Health care
To conclude, I would like to draw your attention to the basic information about the health care in the UK.