A Guide to Living and Working in the UK

Moving to a new country for work can be a challenging, life changing experience for many. If you have decided to move to the UK for work, then there are things that you must do before you can even enter the country.

As you may know, Brexit has left immigration policy up in the air, making it much harder for people to live and work in the UK if they are non-UK residents. A recent policy change has revealed that the cap for skilled workers such as doctors, nurses, engineers and IT professionals. This means that more people skilled workers will be able to gain entry to live and work in the UK with the Tier-2 Visa if they fall within this remit.

Starting a job in the UK, however, isn’t as easy as you may thing. The government website makes the process seem much simpler than anything that the reality of it all. Here is a helpful guide to make the process much simpler.

How much tax do I pay?

Everybody who lives and works in the UK has to pay tax to the HM Revenue and Customs. This is something that your employer is responsible for handling and every month when you receive your payslip, you will find that Tax and National Insurance is deducted from your salary.

This is a system that is often referred to as PAYE, pay as you earn. The amount of tax that you will be deducted is based on how much money you earn. You can earn up to £11,000 without having to pay any tax, which is also known as your personal allowance. Anything that you earn between £11,000 and £43,000 is taxable by 20{7692ab2b4e430044b6519ae1d347a6a58554a75b02dabbf1ff442be7ba1c11ed} and anything over £43,000 – £150,000 is taxed at 40{7692ab2b4e430044b6519ae1d347a6a58554a75b02dabbf1ff442be7ba1c11ed}.


If you’re from a country that is outside the EEA or Switzerland, you will need to apply for a visa before you enter the country. Current immigration law states that after 5 years living and working in the UK on a work visa, you can then apply for british citizenship.

The sector that you work within will determine the tier of visa you can apply for and remain in the UK with. It’s important to make sure that you have checked the tier before you apply for a visa. Think about whether you have been offered a skilled job, temporary work or anything in between. The different tiers of Visa and ILR visa all have different policies to it’s important to check them all out before hand.

As soon as you arrive in the UK, it’s crucial that you apply for a National Insurance Number – this can be done at your local jobcentre. This is the case for both EU and non-EU citizens. This number is used by the tax office to determine how much tax and NI you have been paying throughout the year. Without one, it’s almost impossible to claim benefits.

What are my employee rights?

In the UK, there are contractual agreements that must be met between the employer and employee. There are also trade unions that you can become a part of to ensure that you are being looked after and treated well by your employer. However, these aren’t legally binding so it’s important to evaluate your contract before you agree to anything.

There are also some statutory rights that are based on laws passed by Parliament that must be met. These apply to almost every worker and include such rights as, paid maternity leave, paid holidays and not to be discriminated against.