UK Immigration: How much does it cost to relocate to England?

[Pentru a citi acest articol in Limba Romana dati click AICI]

So you are thinking of coming to England and UK Immigration? Well if Brexit didn’t scare you off, here is a guide and a detailed list of expenses of my experience coming here. By the way, from the looks of it, as far as EU citizens are concerned there is nothing to worry about after Brexit as things will pretty much carry on as usual.

It’s now my second time moving to another country. My first experience was relocating to Marseille France. That time I had a lot of support from my employer with aspects and costs of relocation. In comparison now in England, I basically made it all on my own. Here is a chronological list of the expenses needed for immigration to England, UK. All costs are calculated for two persons as I emigrated with my girlfriend:

Airplane Tickets: in my case: Bucharest – Manchester 286 EUR / 255 GBP (Great Britain Pounds) through Brussels Airlines, the price included 2 large hold luggage and one connection in Brussels. Although we had the intention to take WizzAir’s low-cost company, we were surprised to find that the fares were more expensive on their website. It seems that all the Romanians are turning to this company lately and considering the fact that the fare price is calculated according to demand, you may find lower fares at the big airlines companies.

Attention: If using a Low-cost company, the price does not include hold luggage and must be payed separately. Be also very considerate of your final destination! The train in UK is very expensive if you buy the tickets on short notice, and the train ride from one of the airports near London to the city where you need to go, could turn out to be more expensive than the plane tickets;

Train tickets: from Manchester Airport to Hull 44 GBP, bought in advance, at the same time with the airplane tickets on the Transpennine Express website;

The first accommodation: As we did not have any place to stay on arrival, we needed an initial accommodation to buy us some time in order to look for something else. We found on booking.com a very nice apartment close to the city center at 38 pounds per night x 9 nights = 342 GBP. Better prices can also be obtained if the accommodation booking is made in advance or on other web sites like Airbnb;

Mobile phone SIM card, I chose the free SIM from GiffGaff, and I charged it with a deal that provides unlimited national calls and 3 GB mobile internet data for 10 GBP per month (there are also deals available for 5 or 7.5 GBP per month);

A car. My job (still not secured at that time) was in the port and required a car to get there. I had to look and buy something fast, something that I could rely on and not  have to worry about leaving me stranded on the side of the road. I found on the Autotrader website (and app) at a local car dealer, a 2004 Vauxhall Astra, with 78,000 miles on the meter, in good condition at 1395 GBP. You can find here cars very cheap , starting from 500 GBP in private adds if you have the time to search, but you never know what you’re getting and how long is gonna last you. Keeping in mind that they usually have hundreds of thousand of miles aboard, I’m guessing not very long. I chose to buy from an authorized dealer because a dealer does for you the annual technical inspection check of the car (“MOT” here) before they sell it to you. Mine also came with a 4 month warranty and RAC free towing service for one year. An authorized car dealer also assures you that a thorough check of the car will be done to make sure it’s not stolen, under bank seizure or any other legal issues like that. For newcomers I recommend this option. The car proved indispensable to move between homes, going to interviews, getting the essentials for the house, etc;

– Auto Insurance: Any car comes with a package of expenses, and this is the most costly one. Unlike in my country Romania, here insurance is not done for the car, bur rather for each driver of the insured car. The insurance price is influenced by many factors, including age, antecedents, driver history (nonexistent for newcomers in the country), car specifications and factors such as where you live and where is the car stored. Generally If you live in a somewhat dubious or high crime area, you will pay more. If you park the car on the street and you do not have a off road driveway or garage you will also pay more. On the website www.comparethemarket.com you will find all available offers for your car and you can choose the offer that suits you the most. I paid at Admiral 751 GBP per year (zero history in UK, driving for 13 years, no criminal record or accidents, and car stored in private off road driveway). Pay attention: do not lie when you fill up the online insurance form, even if you come from another country, it can easily be checked if there were criminal records or car accidents on the driver’s name. My price included a 100 GBP discount for accepting the installation of a black box on the car, which records the driver’s behavior and the number of miles covered by GPS. The insurance policy decreases for disciplined drivers and increases for those aggressive. This black box is also very good and in case of car theft;

BE CAREFUL! If someone else drives the car, a new insurance must be done on that driver. The insurance is not done on the car!

-Vignette or Road tax: mandatory for any car whether you are driving in the city or outside the city. It is calculated according to CO2 emissions levels g / km of the car, for me it was 200 GBP per year or GBP 107 for 6 months in my case. The emission level is automatically transmitted by the MOT verification service station and can not be tampered with. The fee is paid online here. The full table of fees can be seen here. Also on this site you can check any car if it is got paid insurance and road tax;

– The second accommodation: the checkout date from the hotel is approaching very fast, so we started early to look for another temporary accommodation. As we had no chance of taking our own house due to the requirements (references from work, credit score, references from the former owners where you were stayed before, etc), we had to accept to rent a room in a share house with other people. In the share house system, requirements are much lower, and so are the rent prices. On sites like spareroom.co.uk, gumtree.co.uk or rightmove.co.uk you can find rooms for rent with prices between 50 and 150 GBP per week, both from real estate agents and directly from private landlords. The houses are varied and can contain anywhere between 2-3 rooms up to 6-8 rooms. After visiting 2 houses filled with Romanians that had on average 6 rooms, 2 bathrooms and a common living & kitchen area (in the refrigerator there was no more room to put anything and the hallway was full of wet sheets and towels), we were quite lucky and came across a very nice lady landlord who had a large room for rent in a small cozy house with only 3 rooms that shared a bathroom and a kitchen. The house was basically in the city park and had a private driveway, all at the price of 90 GBP per week. To be sure she chooses us and also being pressed by time to vacate the hotel room, I told her we would pay in advance for 4 weeks and she accepted. Total 360 GBP. (the price for a couple with all the utilities and taxes included, if you are renting alone it costs less);

BE CAREFUL! The share house system usually does not give you a tenancy agreement (unless you go through an agency, which also requires to pay the agent’s commission). That means you will not have proof of residency or any utilities bills on your name. The good part is that the address can still be used for the car, bank and NINO (* as long as the owner is willing to give you a reference).

The third accommodation (the permanent and last one I hope): Once the job was secured, and by this time I already secured a bank account (using the address from the second accommodation), we could start looking to rent a proper accommodation. I spent a month in a share house with other strangers and I can not say I want to repeat the experience any time soon. Although I know that we were somewhat lucky and had to share the bathroom and the kitchen with just two more people, the habits and cleaning habits (or lack off) of each individual will always cause conflicts. I don’t even want to think about how it would have been if we had to share the house with five or more people. I found a beautiful semi furnished 2-bedroom, semi detached house, with big back yard, private off road driveway, in a very high demand neighborhood by the river at 575 GBP per month, listed by an agency. The competition between tenants is very fierce, so I told the agent from the very beginning that we wanted it and that we were willing to pay several months of rent in advance to be sure we were the chosen ones. After checking my references to the bank, the workplace and the current landlord where we were staying, and after some heavy long convincing talks with the landlord (because we do not have a credit score in the country), it was agreed that we will pay 2 months in advance (2 x 575 GBP) plus the deposit (GBP 575) + agency commission (GBP 200). Total 1925 GBP;

– Furnishing the new house: as I was saying, the house is unfurnished so we need some furniture and some electric appliances:

  • On the wayfair.co.uk website (similar to IKEA) we found some good deals and we ordered the minimum necessary to make the house livable, namely: a king size bed + coil & foam mattress, 2 bedside tables, corner sofa, kitchen table, coffee table and TV stand: 970 GBP. Which is not that bad considering that everything is brand new and of decent quality;
  • At the Morrisons supermarket, the microwave oven was at GBP 39, plus cutlery, glasses, plates, coffee maker, vacuum cleaner, mop, etc. – about 100 GBP;
  • Washing machine: Found new at 125 GBP (negotiated from 135) from special stores selling home appliances directly from the manufacturers’ warehouses. These products could not reach the shelves of the big chains stores due to small production defects, which of course were rectified by the manufacturer. Fortunately, this was the only big electrical appliance I needed, the rest (oven, fridge, hood, dishwasher) came with the house. TOTAL 1234 GBP;

– City Council tax: Unlike other countries, here both the tenant and the landlord pay taxes to the local authorities. This tax covers local services such as Trash collection, Education, Police, Firefighters, Road Maintenance, Public Lighting, Urban Development Projects, etc. Here most of these services are decentralized and managed locally, with the National Health System being  the only exception. The City Council fee depends on the city, neighborhood, type of dwelling and how many people live in the house. Each city sets its own taxes. In general you pay less if you live in a flat versus house, you pay less if you stay in a not so nice area and you pay less if you live alone. For our current home, the City Council fee is 1254 GBP per year (104.5 GBP per month), payable in up to 12 instalments.

– Connecting the utilities to the new house: Fortunately the house was already connected to British Gas. Because the former tenants did not pay the bills, the supplier installed prepaid counters that work with cards. How this works: instead of using gas and electricity and receiving a bill based on your consumption, you top up your special cards with how much money you want, put the card in the meter and than you will have gas and electricity for as much money as you charged it. Once the credit on the meter is gone, you will have a small emergency credit and than your electricity or gas will be automatically shut off. To activate the new cards on my new contract, we had to top up the electricity card with 15 GBP and the gas card with 20 GBP. Total 35 GBP.

TV license: just like the national television in my country is payed by everybody, here we also have to pay for BBC Radio & TV network. Any home that has at least one device capable of receiving a BBC signal is required to pay for this license (the device may be a TV, laptop, tablet). It’s very hard to prove and believe that you do not have such a device in the house, so inspectors are very careful when checking homes that have not payed their TV license. Lack of the license can attract a fine of 1000 GPB! The license may also be paid in installments, I have chosen the payment in four installments of GBP 38.87.

– Daily expenses: to all of these you have to add your daily expenses. As per our calculations, considering that we also cook at home, go out out to pubs for a couple of beers at least once a week and also eat out at least once a week, public transport and gas for the car, for two people, I got an average of 20 GBP per day. (600 GBP per month)

In conclusion, for a relocation to England (UK Immigration) we have:

  •   Airplane Tickets                                255 GBP
  • + Train tickets                                   45 GBP
  • + First hotel accommodation                      342 GBP (9 nights)
  • + Phone SIM card                                  10 GBP
  • + Car Purchase                                  1395 GBP
  • + Auto Insurance                                 751 GBP
  • + Road Tax (Viniette)                             107 GBP (6 months)
  • + Accommodation in Share House                   360 GBP (4 weeks)
  • + House accommodation – tenancy agreement sign  1925 GBP
  • + Furnishing and equipping the house            1234 GBP
  • + Tax City Council Tax                           105 GBP (first month only)
  • + Connected electricity and gas utilities         35 GBP
  • + TV license                                      39 GBP (first installment)
  • + Daily expenses first month                      600 GBP
    TOTAL                                            7203 GBP

The figure is very high, but please consider we are talking about a permanent relocation to England (UK Immigration). I admit that it includes quite a lot of personal whims (car, new furniture, renting a semi-detached house in a very nice neighborhood). Many people here are still in living in share houses where you have all the utilities and taxes included, or are renting terraced houses, in less desirable areas at lower prices. I’ve also noticed a lot of people here buy second-hand furniture on the internet. Eating out is also an absent habit for some from the looks of it. If you have somebody to help you out with a temporary accommodation when you get here, the figure can easily fall to one third of my figure. Taking into account the wages here and the fact that after you have passed over these first expenses, you won’t have much to pay from your monthly budget , I say it is worth it.

If you liked the article, I also recommend one of my other articles about living abroad or traveling from the list below. See also the GarciaCalavera.ro Fb page, where you can give a Like and Subscribe.

Check out other expat lifestyle articles: First 30 days in Hull – England – UK as Expat , France one year Impressions , How to get PACS in France ,  Expat beginner’s guide to moving to France , First 48 days as expat in France ,  After six years at sea

Check out other trips: , Circuit Romania – 7 days roadtripBudapest roadtrip  , Praga – dream vacation , Excursie Dobrogea: Enisala, Ibida, HistriaVacation Madrid , Two days in Jacksonville USA,  Paralia – Greece roadtrip,  Brasov 12.2014 ,  Buzau quick stop ,  Lepsa & Vrancea county ,  Chisinau ,  Nesebar ,  Bucharest weekends 2014 , Busan ,  40 de zile in Cluj Napoca ,  Hunedoara Castle ;  Singapore 2013 ,  Brasov 02.2014 Istanbul 01.2014 , Cluj Napoca 08.2013 , Sibiu 07.2013 ,  San Pedro-Africa Bucharest 2013 , Varna 2012 , Los Angeles 2012 , Budapest & Viena , Salerno , Cluj Napoca 2012 Florenta , Brasov 02.2012 , Amsterdam , Antofagasta-ChileValencia , Lima-Peru , Bremen , Istanbul 2009 , Valletta , San Juan-Puerto Rico , Barcelona , Singapore 2010 , Los Angeles 2010 , Transilvania road trip , La Spezia , Bosphor by ship , Sydney , Melbourne , Auckland ,  San Francisco ,  Tauranga

Alternative tourism: Detroit , Georgia , Burning gate of Turkmenistan , North Korea , Pripyat & the alienation zone   , Nouadhibou graveyard

How the other half lives :  Karachi ,  Guayaquil  , Lagos


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