Moving to the United Kingdom


Union Jack Flag for United KingdomThroughout history, the United Kingdom has been an attractive destination for immigrants and expats. In the past, the country’s diverse economy, liberal immigration policies and links with the commonwealth played a significant role in creating the dynamic ethnic tapestry seen in the UK today. However, over time the UK’s immigration requirements have become tighter, and now it is generally expats with more specialist skills that are in demand.

Despite the impact of the global economic downturn, the UK has started to make some steady economic growth recently. Sectors of the UK economy which are growing in strength include IT, engineering, finance, healthcare, energy, oil and gas, as well as construction. Expats with experience and sought-after skills in these sectors will find that there is plenty of scope for career progression in Britain.

The majority of expats moving to the UK from Western European countries or North America experience very little culture shock. However, new arrivals do have to make some adjustments to accommodate the high cost of living, poor weather and urban congestion in cities such as London, where the vast majority of expats move.  

Healthcare in the United Kingdom is by and large free and the National Health Service (NHS) is often said to be one of the country’s greatest assets. The standard of hospitals and medical facilities in the UK is good and expats will find that doctors and medical staff are well-trained and knowledgeable. Expats eligible to take advantage of the NHS should note, however, that while the service is free, appointments can be difficult to make and waiting times are often quite lengthy.

Expats moving to the UK with children will find that there are plenty of different options available, but the standard of education and schooling facilities varies considerably. Foreigners legally living in the UK are eligible to send their children to state schools which are funded by the government, but standards at these schools are sometimes low. Those that opt to have their child educated at a private or international school should budget accordingly or have an allowance negotiated into their employment package as fees are often very high.

Public transport in the UK is generally of a very high standard and the quality of road infrastructure is excellent. Expats living in any of the major cities such as London, Manchester or Edinburgh will not find it essential to have a car as public transport is very comprehensive and makes getting around relatively stress-free.

Expats moving to the UK will also have access to a wealth of historical and cultural attractions available in a relatively compact space. City nightlife venues are excellent and expats in the UK will be treated to an abundance of good quality restaurants specialising in a variety of exotic cuisines. Furthermore, the country is host to a number of international sporting events and music festivals, which should not be missed. Finally, when expats feel they need a break from the fast-paced city life or the bad weather, the UK is well positioned for easy and affordable travel to Europe and beyond.

Become our local expat expert for your area!

Expat Arrivals is looking for contributors to make this the ultimate guide for international expats.

If you are an established expat who could make time to write useful information for expats in your city and answering forum questions from new and prospective expats, please contact us.

As our local expert you can have your profile showing on each page you publish, and will have an option to promote your website or blog.


Got a question about your new country?

Search Expat Arrivals

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
, after login or registration your account will be connected.