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  • Danieka Strathdee

Moving to London from Australia

Moving to London/UK can be daunting, there's so much to organise and on top of that you are uprooting your life and connections. Here's what I have learned going through the process, including applying for your Visa, healthcare, super, ATO, student loans, banking, and much more.

How to move to London! Everything you need to prepare (the set-up)

I am writing this having spent the greater part of 2022 researching moving tips and watching videos from people that have gone through the process. It's a lot to take in let's be real, I struggled to find a simple guide in one place that more or less captured the key information on moving to London from Australia.


I made the decision to move to the UK in 2022 and handed in my notice to finish work in mid-December, before moving overseas in January 2023. Here is what I have learnt so far, including week one arrival tips!






Moving from Australia to London

Let's break this down. Essentially we are talking about roughly six different categories to work through as part of your move. This blog will go through the below in more detail:

  1. Admin (visa options, booking airline tickets, and banking/planning your finances and budget)

  2. Familiarising yourself with different areas and neighbourhoods of London – shortlisting and/or booking in housing options

  3. Securing a job, or finding some recruiters (if that's what you want!)

  4. Pack and move

  5. Registering with local authorities upon arrival

  6. I've arrived! What's first?


1. Admin (visa options, booking airline tickets, and banking/planning your finances and budget)

VISA OPTIONS

There are several visa options, including a visitor visa or an Australia visa that allows you to live and work in the UK, including the Tier 2 General visa for skilled workers and the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (this is what I'm on). Make sure to research the entry requirements and eligibility criteria for each visa, and complete your visa application well in advance of your intended move date.


Helpful links:

UK visa website (entry requirements FAQs and more)

Check if you need a visa

Visa fees


AIRLINE TICKET

You're going, let's lock it in! Airline tickets have the nasty habit of increasing in cost the closer you get to your departure date, so once you are confirmed book it in! Search on sites like Skyscanner and filter by month to find the optimal time for the cheapest ticket. Avoid school holiday months that are more expensive.


BANKING

Yes, you can set up a UK bank account before arriving in the country as an Australian. Some UK banks offer the option of opening a bank account remotely, allowing you to start the process online and complete it once you arrive in the country. However, the requirements and process for opening a bank account from abroad may vary between banks and you may be required to provide proof of identification, residency, and other documents to complete the process. It's best to check with the specific bank you are interested in to confirm their process and requirements.


Using an international banking card as an option

If you don't want to set-up a UK bank account right away, there are other options for you such as Wise, which I use to make payments and transfer money into different currencies. It acts like a bank account, and you can send and receive in 49 currencies.


Use this link for a fee-free transfer of up to A$1,000.


A note to notify your Aussie bank about your move as well. Some banks like Bankwest also allow you to use their card in the UK without any foreign transaction fees so check with your bank first.


BUDGET

Lastly, living in London can be expensive, so it's important to plan your finances and budget accordingly – aim for about A$10,000 in savings before you come. Take into account the cost of living, housing, transportation, food, insurance, and other expenses. I would recommend you open a UK bank account or use a site like Wise to convert some money before you move to have some aside, keep an eye on when the currency is good to optimise your money transfer into pounds!


NOTIFYING THE AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE (ATO) OF YOUR INTENDED MOVE (STUDENT LOANS)

Make sure you notify the ATO by completing an 'Overseas Travel Notification' – especially if you have student loans. For any loans, make compulsory repayments or pay an overseas levy towards your debt if you earn over the minimum repayment threshold.


Helpful links:

YOUR AUSSIE PHONE – DISCONNECTING AND TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

My best tip to pass on to you here is to write a list of every service that is linked to your Aussie number and change it over to a family member's/or friend's number before your Aussie number is disconnected. This will avoid huge problems if you are trying to log in to your accounts later and it's linked to a disconnected mobile for two-factor authentication. Alternatively, go through the process of connecting key services to apps like 'Authenticator' so you can get the two-factor authentication code from an app instead of via text.


2. Familiarising yourself with different areas and neighbourhoods of London – shortlisting and/or booking in housing options

3. Securing a job, or finding some recruiters (if that's what you want!)

4. Pack and move

5. Registering with local authorities upon arrival

6. I've arrived in the UK! What's first?





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