This post will be published in English and in Spanish. Spanish version.

As I did some time ago, you might be facing the situation of moving to the UK in order to find a job. Or just moving to the UK and having a job would be a nice extra.

I will try to explain my experience here and the steps that are necessary to start to work in the UK.

The first thing you may need to start working in the UK is to be in the UK. You might be lucky if you can find a job from abroad and come here without the uncertainty! However it is more common to find a job “on the spot”. All regions vary widely, and I would not like to generalize but my impression is that it’s easier to find a job here than to find one in Spain. (I spent a good while playing with that link. You might find it interesting as well, specially if you haven’t decided where do you want to move!)

There are several useful websites to find jobs. I used indeed and the old school method, walk around with your CV’s. The old school method proved to be faster and more efficient. In my first week I had 4 interviews and I after attending all I had to reject some work. Reject work! That for sure does not happen in Spain!

Other websites that might be helpful are: monster and reed. Most business have their own website where they publish the job opportunities. Just check the option Careers.

You will need to start working a bank account and a proof of eligibility to work in the country. Also you will need the NIN, National Insurance Number. If you are reading this in English you should not have any issue following the instructions on the link. You must be in the country at the time of request and you must have a valid UK address. Without this number they will charge “Emergency tax”, aprox. 20-25% of your salary. If I can be of any help you can always contact me to ask

The proof of eligibility is your passport or visa that you should have before entering the country. Even if you are from the European union I have noticed that there is some reticence in accepting the National ID card so preferably carry your passport as it is recognized as an international proof of ID.

If you are not sure if you are eligible to work in the uk you can check it here.

The bank account is a bit more tricky. In order to get a bank account you will need to present proof of address, so you need a house to live in. You will need something like:

– An utility bill/council bill, it can take some time to arrive.

– A valid tenancy agreement, stamped by the council. This usually means that you will need to contact an agency to rent the house. Agencies may charge you a percentage of your rent monthly plus many fees. By a lot of fees I mean varying from £100-500, depending of the number of tenants. Agencies also request a valid employment contract in many cases, so we are back in the loop.

The option I went for:

–  HM Revenue & Customs tax notification, dated within the last four months. (P45s and P60s are not acceptable).

I just trusted that my boyfriend who already had a bank account would not run away with my money ( he wouldn’t have made it too far) and used his account to get paid until I received the NIN and had proof of address.

My advise is to take it with a spoon of sugar as it is going to be a really stressful procedure. If you know any way to speed it up, let me know!

Students have it easier because they have a sponsor. The university will write them a letter and they will be able to open an account right away. Lucky them!

I suggest also to review the bank options, as some of them will give you an account but not a debit card. I know it’s totally ridiculous (I’m looking at you Santander!) Also you will need to schedule an appointment, usually for the next week, to open an account. It is not a process that will take 5 minutes as they will ask you even how much money do you have in your pockets at the moment. I think they forget that YOU are going to pay to THEM!

You can check the best and worst rated banks before making your decision.

But returning to the job search. Most likely you will not find a 40 hour job. There are a lot of “mini” jobs here and the contracts can be as short as minimum 4 hours a week. When they give you the contract they add the “minimum” part so they are obliged to give you minimum 4 hours per week but one week you may work 37 and the next one 16. They can be flexible, for what I have experienced, in the case that you have two jobs (sometimes necessary to live here),they coordinate schedules and try to give you as many hours as they can. Nice people here!

It i hard to get a 40 hour contract if you work in an office because your employer will not count your half hour lunch as paid, therefore you will be contracted for 37.5 h/wk.

I will try to make a series of post about moving to the UK.

Would you like to know anything else, that I might help you with, about working in the UK?

Do you know anybody that had to move countries due to job opportunities/conflict or just adventure? I’m pretty sure you do!