Moving to the UK

Moving to the UK

Moving to the UK

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The United Kingdom has always been a popular destination for South Africans looking to relocate. This preference stems from several appealing factors: there’s no language barrier, a thriving expat community, abundant career and higher education opportunities, first-rate schooling, low crime rates, and a high-quality life. Additionally, the UK opens doors to affordable travel opportunities to countries that are expensive to travel to when booked from South Africa.

The prospect of earning pounds as opposed to the South African rand is also a significant factor. It’s common for young South Africans to spend several years working in the UK. This financial cushion often enables them to kickstart a new phase of life upon returning home, which might have been significantly more challenging while earning rands. Many use their savings to buy a home outright, avoiding the need for a mortgage bond, while others invest in purchasing land for farming or launching new businesses.

UK visa information

If you are thinking about moving to the UK, there are a few options available depending on whether you want to stay temporarily or permanently. That is, you can either choose to study, work, join your family in the UK, or live permanently as a British citizen.

The best place to start is to visit the country’s official visas and immigration information page, which is available online. The webpage clearly describes the process for applying for visas, from preparing to getting a decision on your application. We suggest taking your time going through the options so that you make the right choice. Applying for the wrong visa type could delay your relocation plans by months. It is also advisable to connect with an immigration consultant, as the process can be complex and costly.

If you’re unsure about what type of visa you’ll need, the British Government’s website has a questionnaire that will help you to determine this, as well as other helpful resources. South African professionals in the healthcare, engineering, technology, education, and business sectors, and specific jobs on the UK Shortage Occupations list are in high demand.

When is the best time to move to the UK?

There is no perfect time to move to a new country unless your move aligns with a new job or the start of a university semester. The best time is the time when you are the most prepared.

Move with a reliable moving partner

Relocating is often described as ‘life changing’. You therefore need a reliable moving partner at your side, every step of the way.

Elliott’s expansive network of global partners ensures a seamless moving experience. We are members of FIDI, AIM, and the only fine art moving company in Africa that is a recognised member of ICEFAT.

Why choose Elliott’s international relocation services?

Elliott understands that every move is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. Our highly experienced team will ensure that you are well-prepared for every aspect of your move.

  • Elliott is a premier moving company. Your experience will simply be unmatched.
  • Our surveys and highly detailed inventory lists ensure complete quote accuracy with no surprises.
  • We schedule and prepare for every phase of your move, from wrapping, crating (if necessary), and packing to loading, transit, delivery, and unpacking.
  • We offer a variety of international moving and storage options, whether you choose to move your belongings via air or sea.
  • We will support you throughout your move.

Visit our international moving page for more information on our moving services.

Setting up a UK bank account

Setting up a bank account before you emigrate will help you avoid high transaction fees and currency exchange rates, and make it easier to pay bills, rent, and other expenses.

You can open a bank account before you arrive in the UK if your South African bank has a correspondent banking relationship with a British bank. You will need to present your proof of identity, proof of address, proof of income, and any other documents required by the specific bank. Alternatively, many UK banks have international accounts for non-residents that can be opened from abroad, so you could open an account in advance of your move.

Paying for healthcare

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee that most non-EEA migrants must pay as part of their UK immigration application. It allows them to access most of the National Health Services’ (NHS) services with no further costs, except for some services like eye tests, dentistry, and prescriptions.

You typically have to pay the healthcare surcharge when applying for a UK visa or immigration application if:

  • You’re applying from outside the UK for a visa lasting more than 6 months.
  • You’re applying from inside the UK, regardless of the visa’s length.

However, you’re exempt from this surcharge if you’re applying for a visitor visa or for permanent residency in the UK.

The healthcare surcharge for UK visas varies based on the visa duration:

  • Students or Youth Mobility Scheme visa holders pay £470 per year (e.g., £940 for a 2-year visa).
  • Applicants under 18 at the time of application also pay £470 per year.
  • For all other visa and immigration applications, the cost is £624 per year (e.g., £3,120 for a 5-year visa).

Note that a visa may extend beyond your course of study or employment period.

Visit “Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application” for more information.

Kindly note that the information contained in this article is for information purposes only. Please refer to the relevant official government websites for up-to-date information and advice.

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Thank you for your interest in our removal services. Unfortunately, we no longer offer local/middle-distance removal services in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal. With recent changes to our business, our focus is now solely on long-distance and international removals, and as a result, we cannot provide you with a quote for your move. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Please let us know if you have any further questions or require assistance.